Monday, March 17, 2008

Pet Peeve #7,294

Why do the older generation (I'm sure it's not limited to them, though) insist on cutesying up their words when talking to an infant?

My father has a theory - well, of course, it's not his theory but the way he tells it, you'd think he had been in the think tank as they discovered what he was explaining when in reality, he no doubt just read it on some RSS feed - that babies teach us how to communicate with them. They "goo goo, babble babble" and we repeat back to them. I have a friend who, no matter how hard she tries, used to find she had to talk babble and naturally pitching her voice up a few notes when talking to the baby LGBB, despite herself. By her admission, she just couldn't help it. And it was hilarious to watch her squirm (the friend, not Lolly) as she heard herself doing it.

That aside, I want to know why - when the child is obviously understanding and speaking on a recognisable level and one can have (albeit short) a conversation with them - some people give names to things that are not the actual word for them.

What am I on about, you ask? Let me explain.

The LGBB knows what a car is. She knows what going in the car means. Hell, she even says "Let's go? Cah? See kids?" So not only does she know what it means, she bloody well makes requests for destinations. Her grandparents know this. But they insist on calling it "Tatta's" (or more like "tattass") - it makes me feel uneasy and not only because I always thought tatta's were *aherm* a woman's breasts. More specifically, whether she wanted to go tattas in the broom-broom. Lolly, much to her credit, looked blankly at me much like Grover does when he looks to camera as if to illustrate the weariness of his position.

And when we got set to go for a walk in her pram a couple of weeks ago, they asked her if she wanted to go walkies. I admit to being slightly offended at that point!

I'm actually starting to become inclined to ask if they think she is a puppy. Or at least if they are used to "dumbing it down" for all the babies in their lives. And I did politely explain that Lolly doesn't know what tatta's is/are (depending on your definition of what the word means) or broom-brooms. Or walkies for that matter. I managed to save them any further anguish over what cutesy word to call the pram by advising them that we actually call it ..... drum roll .... a pram!

So what gives, do you think? Does anyone know what I'm talking about? I just don't see the point in calling an inanimate object or a regular exercise, like a walk or going in the car, anything other than that - you only have to then retrain them what the correct thing is eventually (unless you're happy with a 26 year old who says they bought a new broom-broom).

Oh, look, perhaps I don't know what I'm talking about. The kid looooooves her grandparents. Maybe it's because they say funny things. Perhaps she thinks they're really cute. Or really intelligent for having this parallel language that her parents don't have.

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