When my daughters were young, I had a crafty little sign over the doorway to the kitchen that said “No whining.” Whining simply was not allowed in our house.
The girls knew early on that asking, complaining, begging, crying in a whiny tone led them nowhere. If they did that, my only response would be, “I can’t understand you when you’re whining.”
Even as a manager in the workplace, I had a “No Whining” sign at my desk. It’s incredible the number of adults who think whining will get them somewhere. With anyone. Luckily my daughters aren’t one of those adults. They’re not whiners. And I’m pretty sure whining now annoys them just as much as it annoys me.
One of the few things that grates on my nerves, gets my briefs in a bunch and makes me want to bop someone on the head with a Nerf bat me more than whining does is baby talk.
Now, lots of grandmas engage in baby talk. I’m talking about the “Cootchie, cootchie coo” babbling that takes place over a new little one. Or the “Oh, my sweety bug, you’re so precious!” kind of complimenting passed along to boys and girls alike. That’s fine, I guess. To each his own — as long as it’s out of my earshot. But you’ll never hear that from me. Bubby will never hear it from me. Even my dogs and cats will never hear it from me.
That doesn’t mean I don’t gush over cute things; I just gush in a non-baby talk manner. I love my little Bubby with all my heart and soul and I adore everyone else’s little ones just as much as the next grandma. But there’s something patronizing bordering on demeaning about talking in sweetsy high-pitched voices to kids. Believe me: It really is possible to let babies and others know how much you adore them without hitting the upper range of your vocal abilities and using nonsensical words. It’s annoying.
More than the annoyance factor, though, I think baby talking to kids teaches them from the get-go that baby talk from them is acceptable. For, at what point do you stop the baby talk to your children or grandchildren? As they get older, they surely — though likely subconsciously — figure that if grandma can do it, they can do it, too. And they can’t. Or at least shouldn’t. And they definitely shouldn’t do it in public.
I’m a site coordinator for the local children’s literacy center, so I come across a lot of kids. I’m continually amazed at the number of them — children in elementary school and older — who talk in baby talk. To adults! It drives me nuts. I find it not only annoying, I think it’s sad. The poor kids haven’t been empowered to use their words to say what they mean, what they want, what they truly wish to express. Instead, they’ve been taught to depend on a cutesy, baby voice (or worse yet, whiney baby voice), in hopes that baby talk will get them what they want. Or soften the blow of what they’re really trying to say. Or endear someone to their cutesy ways.
Which it doesn’t. At least not with me … and surely not with their teachers or other adults, I would venture to say.
So moms, grandmas — dads, aunts, uncles, any other adults who interact with children, too — do the kids in your life a favor and put an end to baby talk. From our mouths and the mouths of the little ones. It’s annoying.
And it’s just as bad as whining.
Which I can’t imagine being taught as acceptable by any grandma or other adult, not just crabby non-baby-talking grandmas such as myself.
Which do you find more annoying — whining or baby talk?
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