Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What did you say...?

I didn't think French would help me, so I chose to learn Spanish in High School instead.

I ended up messing around in Spanish- making up phrases like “The camel jumped through the window” and “My pants are on fire and my legs burn” -and, really, those phrases can only be used in isolated instances- so my Spanish is confined to “Adios”, “Vamanos” and “quesodilla”... or anything else that Dora the Explorer can teach me.

When Jacob was born, I was determined to have a child who could speak another language.  I had heard that sign language was a great way to increase his verbal capabilities, so I bought the most expensive Baby Sign kit I could find- after all, the fact that it cost millions of dollars must mean it works. The bonus was that I knew I would end up learning a little something along the way since I would need to teach him. I learned a few things, he learned that he liked the cartoon it came with, and neither of us became bilingual at the end of it all.

Little did I know, though, that with each child that was born, I was becoming more and more adept at a new language- Baby-ease. The problem is, none of the sounds translate well and the most it does is make your baby laugh and make you sound like you're speaking some sort of weird tribal tongue. It was brought to my attention the other day by my sons' uncle that whenever we talk to Nicholas, we find ourselves making clicks, clucks, whistles, and other random noises. This would be great if we were attempting to speak Zulu or wanted to impersonate an African bushman, but it doesn't do much else.

Hey- can I count myself as bilingual if I don't know what I'm saying? Because I'm sure that I was saying SOMEthing to Nicholas all those times- I just didn't know it.

I have friends who have sworn up and down that they hate baby talk and would never do it, but, first of all, clicks and clucks don't count as baby talk in my opinion. Also, though, much like the cartoons I swore I'd never let my kids watch, if it works, why worry?

After all, baby talk can't possibly be more detrimental to a child's health than, oh, say... duct tape.

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