Tuesday, September 18, 2012

[Breaking] The Rules of Baby Talk

At our house, we eat mashed pee-toes for dinner

and bluebelly yogurt for breakfast.

Our favorite color is lellow

and our favorite animals are aff-lants.

We put checkup on our chicken nuggets

and we eat cereal with a foon.

A child development “expert” probably would have told me to cut the baby talk two years ago because infants begin to differentiate individual words in speech at six months of age (true) and the incoherent babbling and mispronunciation of words can inhibit language development (really?).

Well, if that’s the case, my kid should be way behind the curve because I am a baby talkin’ fool. I babbled like an idiot well into her second year (and I even still do it on occasion). Since the day she spoke her first word, I have absorbed her pronunciations into my own vocabulary, laughing every time I say one of my favorites.

People who subscribe to the “no baby talk” philosophy probably think I’m holding my kid back with my misuse of words and incorrect grammar. Well, today I have a fully conversational two-year-old and her language development hasn’t suffered one bit as a result of my unwillingness to stop saying “foon.”

In time, she picks up the right words and when she stops saying them, I stop too. Every now and then, we have one of these conversations:

“Do you need a foon?”

“No, Mommy, it’s a spoon.”

“You’re right, honey. It is a spoon.”

One by one, each word will take its place in my memory. But for the rest of my life, every time I pick up a foon, I will smile to myself and remember these times.

And some day when she’s all grown up, she will take a seat beside me in the kitchen and I’ll pour the coffee. She’ll ask for a foon and I’ll hold in the tears as the memories flood back. Then we’ll have the same silent exchange my mom and I have when I walk into her kitchen and ask for a sawamy sammich.

Don’t stop the baby talk. I promise their language development won’t suffer. Only the memories will.

Life is short. Grab a foon.


  1. We still eat cornin, type on the pukaputer, go to the store for bunnage and don't even get me started on "NO HA ME TATA". Now we also use a foon and I will love it forever!

  2. I remember lellow! And choc-lick was a favorite at our house.

  3. Love, love, love this! I already miss some of the words Abi used to "mispronounce." And you are exactly right they will learn to talk correctly and us moms will still have our memories!! Thanks again for another wonderful story!