Dropped by the Food Lion (1300-store regional grocery chain here from Pennsylvania to Kentucky and the states in between, for those who don't know) down the block on the way in last night for a couple things to get me to that ends without having to leave a smoking grill at my house unattended.
Once I had my things and arrived safely to checkout, a woman and her son approached the line behind me. Now judging by my nieces and nephews, as well as other kids I have been around, I would place this boy at somewhere between a big 7 year old and a smallish 10... By all estimations, he APPEARED on the outside to be a normal child, as in not involved in any special ed programs -- not to be confused with Special Ed, of I'm The Magnificent fame. Or even the one of Crank Yankers fame.
[Phlip note - YAAAAAAAAY!!!!!]
One problem, though...
The boy talked loud as FUCK!!!
It wasn't so bad that he was talking loud, but the fact that he talked loud and spoke as if he was trying to get what he had to say out with a throat full of hot nacho cheese.
"Ma'a!!! I wa' ajfh,kjgfshldfhasldh"
Gauging by his mother's response, and her response, he was saying "Mama, I want [item]," which I could hear and half understand, the second part, though, was ONLY figured by her response. He was asking why she was buying supplies with which to pack his lunches for school, to which she replied "because it is expensive to buy your lunch every day," as I replay this in my head, I STILL can't imagine what the fuck he ACTUALLY said, though.
My question of why the boy was employing a volume of speech normally reserved for drunk people in the middle of a grocery store while seemingly otherwise calmed birthed a facebook status, "Why in the HELL is this little boy talking so loud in the grocery store?". Responses to such led to another one. Responses to THAT one brings us here to this post.
"People, cut the baby talk with their kids, it helps them to not looking like damned retards later in life"
I tagged my sister in the post as well, as I had gone on to thank her for spoiling me when it comes to such things as it relates, what with the fact that my niece and nephew have both been very well spoken since they started talking. I recalled a time where I was talking to a young lady to remain unnamed on the phone when Brea was 5 or 6 and came into the living room to ask me for something, to which my friend says "wow, she sounds like she's about 9 or 10 at least," and I explained how it came to be... "We don't believe in baby talk in my family, when a child comes into or around our family, we speak to them in a manner one would an adult. Never being exposed to baby talk or the such helps in not ever having to unlearn bad speech habits..."
[Phlip note - or something to that effect, I have had a lot of alcohol in the 6-7 years since this conversation took place]
I notice to be the case quite often when watching how people talk to their kids, if at all. The latter part of that sentence is more aimed at people who sit their kids in front of a television or video game, with the most frequently spoken words to them being "shut up," or "sit down" or "sit down and shut up." The former, though, is the one that concerns me most.
Speaking to children as if they're people and not aliens or animals should give them the positive influence they need to PERHAPS speak as if they have some damned sense when it comes time to actually matter. Oftentimes when I out and about with The Buddy in tow, as it was with his sister before him, I am told that he speaks better than his age would indicate. Added to the fact that he is a small amount smaller than most 6 year-olds and it seems that a miracle has occurred. No, no miracles, just effective parenting/grandparenting.
Grandparenting? Before going to pre and regular schools, all of us spent a couple of years of our lives with my granny while our parents worked, including my siblings and I. Granny, having retired early due to her back and knees, and having worked 3rd shift before that, while my granddad worked second up until he retired, then was home until he passed in 2004. That being said, she watched us until it was time for pre-school -- about age 2-3ish -- and delivered us there fully capable of completing full sentences, and well on the way, if not already, to spelling, reading writing and damn sure potty trained.
[Phlip note - commissioned with dropping Brea off to Harmony House on my way to class back in those days made me realize what an anomaly this combination was... She was like the only one there at the time, at 2, who arrived already able to do all of that]
[Phlip note note - did y'all see the alliteration in that last note?]
Same applies to every child who comes through her house even now.
The consistency is patient attention and nourishment to the development of the kids' intelligence level, while avoiding situations that may come damning to them. Not often can one go by and not find her NOT singing to -- and eventually with -- the kids, never employed is baby talk and if anything is spoken as a mumble, then it is to be repeated ("excuse me?") until spoken properly. Granny's house is a genius factory.
That is not simply to -- even though I fully have -- talk up my granny, though I live in hopes that she is still with us when there is at least one and no more than 2 miniature Phlips about the world.
[Phlip note - you should fear that day as much as I do if you have an ounce of fucking sense]
What I am stepping towards is that it seems, as GRANDparents of children become younger and younger, that the very tenets of making toddlers who are responsible enough to think they will make responsible members of society and not inmates or behaviorally challenged students seems to be escaping. At my age, our parents had it, as did the next couple of years after us. Beyond that, I will not say it has been completely missing, but is becoming more and more of an exception instead of the norm.
I would like to think that I was talking out of my ass, but if my cousins and good friend who both teach middle schoolers and another cousin teaching highschool -- and the stories they tell -- are to believed, then 11-15 year old kids with parents younger than me coming through their respective schools with sordid tales of the fuckin that I was not even CONCERNED with doing until later serve as proof that this might not be a problem that is going away any time soon...
But that is another blog...
I can speak specifically to those who I know are doing right by the actual talking to their kids that I have discussed. I could go in and specifically drop names, but I don't have the blog space to commit to such a thing. Just know that people in my circle are allowed to remain there for a reason. Not that being friends with me is some kind of huge achievement, but at the least you have someone who will not piss on your leg and tell you it's raining, and might reach out to you at times other than to ask for something. So no need to remind me what an asshole I am, I already know.
Also not to say that the way I know and have been shown is the only way, just that it is the one I know and has been a surefire method. I mean, why else would I sit around talking about shit I had not seen?