15 October 2011

A bad case of verbal diarrhoea

My youngest daughter has come down with a bad case of verbal diarrhea. Almost terminal I’d say (cos it’s tempting to strangle her at times).

As a parent you wait and wait and wait, each day more agonizing than the last, to hear that magical first word. Then, as their vocabulary increases, they’re so damn cute, so endearing, the funny little things they say as they learn the art of the spoken word. You take on their little mistakes and they become part of the family language. For instance, our eldest, for the longest time, said “sheeshu” for ‘thank you’. So now we all often say ‘sheeshu’ … even though it has been at least 3 years since she learned to say it properly.

Ring-around-the-rosies will never be the same for us, as our biggest little one was convinced that it wasn’t ‘ashes, ashes’ or ‘a-tishoo, a-tishoo’ in the middle … it was ‘angus, angus, we all fall down’. We used to roll around laughing, wondering who on earth Angus was and what he had to do with the plague that spawned this nursery rhyme.

But there comes a time when all this cuteness wears away and you realize that someone flipped the verbal switch on and it’s stuck. There’s no legal off switch. I suspect my long-suffering husband actually has panic attacks in the morning as he waits for the verbal onslaught that comes with living with three females.

My husband and I often have muttered moments together when we’re rolling our eyes and murmuring “duct tape, where’s the duct tape … will you just shut up!!” I know – it’s not very PC, it’s not even good parenting, but I defy anyone who owns a female 2- to 3-year-old to look me in the eye and say they’ve not once considered a muzzle.

Our littlest not only has no ‘stop’ button on her verbal flow, she now also tells you what she’s just said. Or what someone else has just said, someone sitting right next to you, someone who you had no trouble hearing the first time. Car trips have become their own special kind of torture. Owen will say “look, Leah, there are some lambs!” Silly boy. It’s like a spark to dry tinder. The wee mouth pops open and for five minutes we get “look, mummy, there’s lambs! Did you see lambs? Daddy say there’s lambs. I see lambs. Did you see lambs? Did you hear daddy say there lambs? I heard daddy say there lambs. I see lambs. Do you see lambs?”
In the front seat, there’s a muttered “you just had to start it off didn’t you!”. Or, if it’s a good day, I’ll join in “Look, Daddy, did you see the lambs?” … just to see the tortured look on his face. What fun!

Yesterday morning, we were desperately trying to pretend it wasn’t getting-up-time (it wasn’t, for most sane adults without small children! I guess we forgot who we are!). Leah’s in our room blurbling away and I’m under the covers with my ears blocked, crying “make it stop, make it stop …” (most ineffective, by the way). We finally hit upon the grand idea of telling her to go find a video to watch (hoping for a long period of choosing in which we can sleep just another few minutes – optimistic fools!). She toddles her pleased way out of the room and pauses at the door to say “bye bye. Sank you for having me” … and like magic, we’re laughing again. The new catch phrase for the day “sank you for having me” has just been found.