Saturday, November 5, 2011

Over their heads

This morning in a exasperation and sheer annoyance at watching Claire chase Macy with an imaginary needle, I dove into a talk waaaay above the heads of my 4 and 2 1/2 year olds (albeit smart ones).

Despite spending the vast majority of my time with these shorties, I am not a big baby talker. Half for my own sanity, and half for their language acquisition, I talk to the kids in a semi-adult like manner. (You know, trying to avoid the really bad profanities but not over-the-top goo-goo-ga-ga). Claire talks in third person, so I am trying to get out of the "Mama will do that for you," "Bring that to Mama" habit I have going on.

In our extended family we're exposed to talk from all ends of the spectrum. Ga-ma likes to employ cutesy euphemisms like "potty wotty" and "tinkle winkle". I remember reading some of this motherese is good for kids. Like if you say "doggy" or "kitty" it emphasizes the "G" and "T", and hearing it twice will help kids learn those sounds at the end of word rather than dropping them off. Or, slowing your words per minute helps the kids. However, it's confusing, and this is a total Ga-ma thing, too, to call you toes pigs (because there's nothing porcine about those digits!) . So, we got the baby talk on the Ga-Ma end of things, and the girls think Ga-ma's little phrases are hilarious.

This summer we went to the Wisconsin Historical Society where my brother-in-law and sister-in-law work. The girls' aunt was talking about the fur trader's shack exhibit. She was telling them about the various hats, pelts, and tools. I was having a hard time following, and I think the girls were just wondering if the fur on the wall was a live or dead animal. My thought was, does she remember they're under four?

Back to me this morning, I had the Aunt Beth problem. I dove into an explanation of "informed consent" for medicine. They are always playing doctor. All day. I am usually holding Piper while Claire operates on my foot and takes my blood pressure. So, I'm all, "You can't give a shot unless your patient wants you to and you tell her the risks (like it might hurt), it's called informed consent." Granted sometimes people don't kids enough credit for being able to understand things. This wasn't really the case, it was more of me trying to think of a way not to scream "QUIT CHASING YOUR SISTER WITH THAT DAMN TOY SYRINGE!!!!"

As one might guess, this was over their heads. Bored, they wandered out of the bathroom (yeah!) and went into Claire's room where they established a rule where the doctor would poke the patient and then the patient got to poke the doctor. So, basically, the 1-2-3 poking just doubled, but at least I got my hair did.

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