Wednesday, 17 February 2010

A running commentary on life...

It was whilst visiting a local hostelry for lunch last weekend with lovely hubs and hubs' grandad that I noticed something of which I've only ever been vaguely aware before; when speaking to children, adults, whether they are the children's parents or not, seem intent on providing a real time running commentary on life.

I do it myself with my nephs and I was pleased to note that I'm not alone in this phenomenon.

When said children are of the non-speaking age, adults around them literally relate their every movement back to them in the form of words: "Mmm, you're eating that yummy chippy aren't you? Yes you are!" or "Oh dear, you've dropped your forky on the floor. Never mind, Mummy get it."

Once the little darlings are of the just speaking age it become necessary to perform a check of your understanding of each utterance:

"You've got a belly?"
"No."
"Something's smelly?"
"No!"
"You want to watch telly?"
"NO!" (accompanied by a frustrated fit of tears)
"Oh, you've dropped your welly?"
"Y, Y, YEEEEEEEEEEEEES!"

Do we, as adults, feel the need to demonstrate to the children in our care that we understand what they're saying, as if we are the ones just learning? I find myself, when helping the nephs into their coats and shoes, repeating everything they say to me even though it was clear as day: do I need to impress them with my language skills?

Simply uttering a "Yes he did!" to a delighted cry of "Santa brought me a tendo DS lite" suddenly becomes unacceptable, requiring instead a total regurgitation of the child's sentence right back at them - what's that about!?

Harping back to my school days, during which I learned the basics of child language acquisition, I realise that this is all a process of helping the children around you to maximise their vocabularly, string together more coherent sentences and indeed reinforce their understanding of words in relation to objects. It does, however, do nothing to stop me marvelling at the very subconcious nature with which most of us undertake these developmental tasks - damn we're clever!

Signing off from this mini commentary on life,

Potential Mummy B

Parents and carers seem to provide a running commentary on life...

I do it, parents do it - why?

3 comments:

Jen said...

Yes, I do it:) Nature has a brilliant way of making sure our children get what they need from their parents:) Jen.

Acting Balanced Mom said...

found your blog on Lady Bloggers - I know that I speak too much for my little guy ... he has autism and isn't a good speaker and I've spent almost 24/7 with him since birth so I've gotten good at reading the body language... but I have to bite my tongue and sit on my hands so that he will talk more on his own... glad I found your blog

Heather said...

I do this too, and catch myself wondering why the heck i do. Sometimes i think my children must think me a bot dim and hard of hearing?

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