Meanwhile, at the Tower of "Babble"

By: Country-Fried Mama

When my four-year-old was a baby, I talked to her non-stop.  I had a book that advised this, one of the many parenting tomes I have since left to gather dust on a shelf.  I find myself too busy with the overwhelming task of parenting lately to read many books about it.  But back then, when I had one sweet baby who could not yet crawl or talk, I had plenty of reading time.  The book said, “Your baby acquires language from you, so narrate your day.”  I did as I was told.

I talked to little Miss D. about every piece of laundry as I folded it.  I talked about the types of cars that drove past us when we were on the road.  I wondered aloud about what to make for dinner or whether or not to go for a walk.  I was hoarse at the end of the day, even though I passed most hours alone with my as-yet-non-verbal baby.

And then she started talking.  Early.  And she has barely taken a breath since.  Her daddy heard her babbling in her sleep the other night.

I have been wondering for a while now what would happen when Miss D.’s little sister found her words.  Would she be as chatty?  Would they talk to each other?  Or would they both direct their full vocal attention at me? And how would I manage to answer every question and respond to every observation all day long?

I find myself in the midst of figuring that out now that little sister, The Belle, is approaching her second birthday and proving to be quite a talker in her own right.  The Belle wants to know where every single person she knows is at any given time.  Where Daddy go?  Where Grandma go?  She wants to know Wha dat? and Why, Mommy? And like her sister, she gets quickly and seriously agitated if she is not answered immediately.

Sometimes — in the car, in particular – I notice that both girls have stopped talking to me and are simply talking.  Not to each other.  Just talking.  Miss D. is yelling at her imaginary pets.  Shally! Stop that! No, Buster. No. We don’t do that in this family.

And then The Belle picks one word her sister said and makes it into a little song.  No. No, no, no, no, noooooooo!

Or they both pretend to be on the phone.  Hands plastered to their ears, they are gabbing away as we drive along.  (I can’t imagine where they picked up this behavior.)

Miss D.: Well, we’re almost home.  Yes, Alabama.  Uh-huh.  Well, that’s just crazy.  I can’t believe it.  Are you serious? Shally and Buster think that’s crazy. Wait, let me switch hands.

The Belle: Mumble, mumble, crazy.  Yet, yet, crazy.  Okay.  Okay.  Buh-bye.

And then I start to feel kind of crazy.  Because while these two conduct their imaginary calls, I am turning up the radio louder and louder so I can hear some news story about the housing market or the Gulf Coast, and suddenly I realize that my world has gotten very, very loud.

I am trying to sell my girls on the idea of break time.  This is break time, I’ll say.  Everyone has to have quiet thoughts right now.

So far, they’re just responding to me with more babble.

Country-Fried Mama is a transplanted Yankee raising two girls in the land of college football, sweet tea and refined manners. Visit her blog at and follow her on Twitter @countryfried.

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