Thursday, January 6, 2011

talking down

This post is a ritual I like to go through called "sticking my large foot into my even bigger mouth", but it still proves to be an excellent method of venting, so here goes:

Baby talk. Not just talking silly syllables and what not- people using over exaggerated, widened eyes, huge mouth to say simple things over and over again to my daughter with over enthusiastic, loud, grating voices.

What is this called? Baby Talk? Annoying Habit? Talking Down? Kill Me Now?

It really, really bugs me to see people get in my daughters face (after they realize she has ds) and over emphasize and exaggerate everything with loud, dramatic voice inflections.

I know well meaning people do this, thinking nothing of it- but it bugs me.

Maybe it is because I am not the babies/kid type, but why would you do this? Why can't we talk to children in a relatively normal tone of voice? Is there a specific reason why the need to make a huge show out of changing voice inflections and pitch?

I guess the biggest perpetrators on my list right now are some of Addison's therapists. I just spent the last hour or so watching them saying everything to me in this "kill me now" tone of voice while carefully watching Addison's reaction.

They noted that she stared intently at them the whole time. Of course she stared intently at them- she was thinking "What's wrong with that lady's voice?"

Am I being overly weird about this? Perhaps. But it just bugs me that they go the other direction. You know, some people are horrified and ignore Ds kids- others go the other way and delve deep into that annoying place where everything is high pitched and every sentence includes the words "precious" and "WOW".

Is there a balance between these two dangerous places that both make me want to hug my daughter close and run far away?

Why can't people just talk to her normally?

When I was flying to Milwaukee, I sat next to an older lady (who later in the flight confessed to me that she knew right away that Addison had Ds). Addison kept staring and staring at this lady (mostly because she had bright red lipstick liberally smeared all over her teeth...I could read Addison's mind). This older lady for the entire flight from Chicago to Milwaukee (all 17 mins of it) would lean in close and say "HELLO" with awkward and various inflections. She would lean back into her seat, wait a bit and then lean back in with a loudly proclaimed "HELLO" into Addison's face again. This continued over and over and over again for the entire flight. Considering she got in about three "HELLO"s a minutes, this exercise seemed to make time stand still...longest flight of my life.

Anyway, just venting. Anyone else have this experience? Am I going crazy? Should I just shut up and let people talk to my daughter like she's incapable of understanding normal words or should I punch one and let the word spread?

Note: I'm not talking about the normal inflections that you might use to read a children's book or talk to a "normal" child. I'm talking about way over the top loud exclaiming that I have only heard used on my daughter that just makes me seriously want to hurl.


  1. "mostly because she had bright red lipstick liberally smeared all over her teeth...I could read Addison's mind"
    --seriously, Deanna...have you considered writing a comic novel? alongside your mystery? you make me laugh out loud almost every time i come here. and i am NOT an LOL'er normally.
    and I am NOT a camera snob (as per your comments on my family blog!;)) if my pics came out as good as yours I wouldn't be complaining about my camera!

  2. I am still laughing, and I just read this post for the 4th time. I'm sorry, but I can just picture the whole scene in my head.
    I would go for the punch; I think it would make its point and give you some more blogging material..

  3. I have studied child development, and it actually is very beneficial to speak to infants using a higher pitched voice and using "babytalk." I think these people you are referring to might speak that way to all adorable infants, including your daughter. Just my thoughts.

  4. I acknowledge that there is a certain amount of voice inflection that is beneficial for an infants, I studied my fair share of child development as well. But, there is such a thing as taking it too far (that then comes across like you don't think that the child is capable of understanding you), and also- Addison is no longer an infant. When you talk to her, she understands what you're saying and really likes to be addressed like any other smart one year old. I guess that's why this bothers me so much.

  5. I think that mostly this will happen with complete strangers...and maybe friends who don't hang with you that often...after spending time with B most people realize she's just a normal baby...and treat her normally..
    I haven't had anyone talk to B that way...but I prob give them a look when we first meet that says "treat my kid any differently and I will kill you"...try that...
    And I don't advise punching anyone out..though a post about the experience of jail would be most amusing...


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