Have you ever noticed that when you spend a large amount of time with someone, you start to pick up their mannerisms and commonly used phrases? It could be someone you are dating, a spouse or a best friend, or, most horrifically of all, a young child who has not yet fully mastered the English language. You are under the assumption that you are a grown man who is able to put together mildly correct sentences with some ease, and then suddenly you find yourself, in normal conversation, saying things like “THAT not sound good!” or “Give it me right now! You will!”
Now, these things are perfectly fine to say if you happen to be Yoda or The Incredible Hulk, but if your skin is not green, these are things that you probably want to avoid saying to other professional grown-ups that you interact with. And honestly, you maybe don’t even want to say them to your three-year-old either. Not that that stops me.
When Edward was diagnosed with his speech delay, one of the things we were told was that we should absolutely not speak down to his level. If he said something grammatically incorrect and we repeated it back to him, we would be reinforcing the mistake and ensuring that he would make it again. Instead, we should speak the correct phrase back to him so that he could learn and improve. And we try to do this. Ruby is the worst at this, because she likes talking in baby talk anyway, and the two of them have had many conversations in which Edward gets bad grammar reinforcement from his older sister. But apparently it doesn’t stop with Ruby.
Yesterday, Edward and I had this conversation:
Edward: “Daddy, I need cracker.”
Me: “No, no cracker.”
Edward: “Oh. How bout raisins? That good idea?”
Me: “Yes, that good idea.”
Edward: “Ok. I get them!”
Me: “No, I get them. Too high for you.”
Edward: “NO! Not too high a me!”
Me: “Yes! Go sit table!”
Basically, I have been reduced to the verbal level of a caveman. And the worst thing is, I don’t even realize I am doing it until it is too late and the utterances have already escaped my lips. And then I try to make up for it by writing sentences like that last one, but it doesn’t really help. I still talk like caveman. Please send help before brain totally gone. I have go now. I hungry. Bacon.