Talk to me!

If you are a frequent reader of this blog, you know that the Munchkin has quite a mouth on her. And she also has a fantastic memory. An example:

I was changing Tad’s diaper a week or so ago, and he was poopy. Nothing new there. But the Munchkin was standing over my shoulder, and pointed at his genitalia. “What’s that, Mommy?”

“That’s Tad’s penis, honey.”

“Ohhh, peanut.”

“No, penis, Munchkin,” I corrected her.


I gave up. Then she cried, “Mommy, Tad’s holding his peanut!”

Fortunately, it was now clean.

Fast-forward to Tuesday morning. We were at Paper Zone, and they considerately (and brilliantly, in my opinion) have a small coloring table set up with scratch paper and well-loved crayons for kids to color with. While I pushed Tad around in the tiny shopping cart, picking up more envelopes for my cards, the Munchkin sat and happily scribbled away. The only thing that convinced her to leave is that we were on our way to lunch and a play date with the Brain and Head. She kept showing me her drawings. She showed me one, a roughly scribbled rectangle with a few big loops around it, colored in red-orange Crayola. “Do you like it, Mommy?”

“Yes, I do! What is it, Munchkin?”

“It’s Tad’s peanut.”

You get the idea. She has a big mouth.

Tad, on the other hand, is growing into a more typical boy. At 14 months old, he has focused more on the physical end of things rather than the verbal. While the Munchkin was a precocious walker as well as talker, Tad has taken the more conventional approach. Ergo, he can climb tall pieces of furniture (and most of the time, get back down without falling), but he really only has a couple of words/phrases in his vocabulary. This would be his first word (no) and his first phrase (wha’s dat?). But he chatters much less than the Munchkin did – who was like me, and spoke a ton of jargon as if it was a real language. He does a lot of yelling, but all of his jargon comes out like he’s asking questions. Which isn’t a bad thing – unlike the Munchkin, he is not in love with the sound of his own voice.

I’m trying very hard not to compare him to his sister. After all, his motor skills are very good (even though he is a continual klutz), and he’s a boy. He has no problem making himself understood when he has to; it’s just that he usually uses actions and not words to do it.

And I have noticed that the TV will just make him zone out if it’s a kid show. I can be standing right in front of him, saying his name loudly… and he’ll just move his head so he can see the screen. And after watching TV, he “talks” less.

Well, we could all do with less TV in this house, and I am guilty of using it just to Keep. The. Kids. Quiet. But there seems to be no arguing with the fact that while the Munchkin may get some benefit from a show like Sesame Street, where she can recognize letters and numbers and learns things like “escuela means school in Spanish” (as she constantly reminds me), Tad is just fascinated by the moving picture and the music.

So, it’s time for me to be more proactive. It was so much easier to keep the Munchkin away from TV at this age, and introduce her to it in small doses. But it is so much harder with Tad. And so easy for me to say, “You’re both distracted – I can do the dishes/do the laundry/blog/read/do a Sudoku puzzle/etc.” But if I want more sound out of him, then I need to engage him away from the TV and the Munchkin.

I read to him at bedtime last night – my second attempt. He was really squirmy during my first try, but this time he sat through Goodnight, Moon with such rapt attention that I was shocked. Encouraged, we also read Curious George Makes Pancakes, which he sat through until the very end, when he started to wriggle. I think we’d better just stick with one book at a time. Then I cuddled him and his bunny in a blanket, and we listened to the soothing quiet music of Baby Einstein’s Lullaby Classics. I finally tucked him in after many kisses, and he just lay there in his crib, looking up at me, clearly tired but with his eyes still watching me. “I love you, Tad,” I whispered as I slipped out the door. Nary a peep followed.

I forget sometimes how much power I hold in my role as Mommy. I can use that power for good here. So, I may be spending less time getting chores done, or catching up on reading my favorite blogs, or watching TV. If you need to find me, I’ll be reading a book to my son.

5 Responses to “Talk to me!”

  1. MetroDad
    October 26th, 2006 07:26

    Peanut and Tad seem to be very similar. Our daughter is very much an active little bugger and is more interested in the physical world than the conversational one. She’s coming along fine and I spend hours every day reading to her. It’s just that she’d rather be climbing on a jungle gym. Oh well…

    As for the Munchkin? That drawing story had me rolling. Too funny.

  2. Little Cousin's Mommy
    October 26th, 2006 08:01

    Little Cousin is very mobile, and fast. As for speaking, I’m positive she can say “dance” which comes out like “dan” and she wiggles those hips. And when we ask her where her tummy is, she’ll lift up her shirt, point to her belly and say “ra dare” which sounds an awful lot like “right there.” So today I’ll put those in the baby book, which I’ve been putting off.

  3. Juliet
    October 26th, 2006 10:14

    The “peanut” story is hilarious. I don’t have brothers, so I missed out on an entire genre of childhood humor, for which my Y chromosome-laden in-laws are now compensating.

  4. Captain
    October 26th, 2006 21:44

    So what did the picture look like?

  5. Dozeymagz
    October 27th, 2006 04:34

    I must admit to using TV to keep the Toddler’s Two occupied as well. Probably too much! But we still read to them & play with them. It’s tough being a SuperMummy but somehow we manage it!
    Love ‘Tad’s Peanut’ story!