"The price of ignorance is far greater than the cost of a good education..."
Talking cutesy to a baby is so natural. Like speaking sofly and slowly, to make sure they understand what you say. What happens if you don't stop? What happens if the baby talk is the norm, mispronouncing the R's and lisping the S's. They're still so cute! They're still just babies at two...at three...four...eight...
Have you ever been around someone who speaks to their child this way? Almost as if they're trying not to upset the child. Maybe to, in their own ignorant wayt, trying to keep the child a baby forever. After all, they'll always be Mommy and Dadddy's baby, right?
There are times, I admit, that I say certain things in these ways to my 2 1/2 year old. Usually when he's really hurt or sleepy, but not every time. I've made a consious effort from the begining to speak to him as I would anyone else. Sometimes people around me will look at me funny when I' m explaining to him how an engine works or how hair grows. I admit I don't wait for him to ask me why the sky is blue, I just tell him. He listens.
I know he may not understand everything I tell him. I know that many times he doesn't know to even ask a question about anything...that maybe he's just enjoying the attention of listening to me talk. That's okay. I know it seeps in. I know he understands much, much more than even I realize because it shows later in his actions. Mostly in discipline. Most of the time I can just ask him to do something, put something away or stop something he's doing. Having given him explainations for things prior to that moment, he somehow realizes I know what I'm talking about and just obliges me - no questions asked. Furthermore, if there are questions, and by this I mean resistance, I'll explain - give a reason he needs to listen, and he does - listen. The respect is phenominal. Mutual. Peaceful.
When I was small and young and big and not so young, I had someone who listened to me. Someone who gave me the space to learn by observing and watching. He taught me respect without me ever knowing it. He never hit me. He rarely yelled. I was grounded. I had privileges taken away from me. (I pulled some doozies in the teen years...) I was never spoiled. We didn't have much money. We always had a Christmas tree, Easter eggs to hide and birthday cakes. We cooked together, sang together, hung out, watched T.V., shared stories, and met each other's dates, afterwards giving our honest opinions. We always looked forward to my sister coming on Wednesdays and every other weekend (unless Mom decided
otherwise). We were a family. We all got along. Even when there were frustrations we didn't fight, we talked. We discussed. We rationalized and made sure we understood each other's viewpoints. To this day my sister and I have never been in a fight. Not even an arguement that I can recall.
So now, as I soon turn thirty-five, I understand why my two stepson's argue even the most minute, go against their own word, fail to understand the appeal of 'earning one's own way' and self-sufficiency. Why, even though I see him as my own, my barely turned teenager just cannot respect me or himself enough to do what is right.
When they were small, they were babies. They were cutesy and 'too young to understand'. Were given many, many toys. Were deprived of nothing desired. Went to fine schools with other kids that were well-to-do and some even privileged. Never (that I know of) to associate with others who were uneducated or seemingly not so well off. The respect was never taught. No one on one interaction of deepness with adults who were either working themselves to death on one side or spending all their time 'helping and healing' friends on the other side. Both not seeing what lacked in the personal education of the kids.
When I see parents neglecting their kids, yelling or 'dealing with discipline' for their little toddler, I just cringe. I wish I could just tell them, shake them, show them how wrong and out of line that is. But then I think about myself and realize how often I handle situations with my teen like that. When I feel so completely inscensed and not having any idea what to do know I must do something - the yelling just comes. I can be calm. Rational. Patient. But only for so long. What does one do when they're not met with what they give? Turn mean. Get worn out. Tired. Run out of ideas and stamina for another day of frustrations. How can this be? An older boy who is nothing like me and goes off on his own road at 13 and a younger boy who listens and follows though and is more rational that even many adults I know?
I know my answer. I guess the question should be: How do I hang onto my sanity and self-control when everyone is home at the same time? I find myself not giving any chances. I find myself not having an ounce of give left, like a streached out pair of underware.
So I tell myself to see what is in front of me. To take one day at a time and put my efforts into the little sponge watching him soak up as much positive influence and life lessons I can give him during the most important years of his life as a human being - whether he remembers or not.