Friday, March 23, 2012

Baby Talk

Kids from hard places often fall into baby-talk.  They will babble, allowing their tongue to get in the way, raise their pitch, and soften the volume. This can be puzzling, annoying and unnerving to us moms.  

It is my non-expert opinion that this comes from a deep need to be nurtured with unconditional love.

What do you do with this behavior?

We have tried all kinds of things.  Some were somewhat successful.  Other ideas crashed and burned.

We've had two strategies that have seemed to meet the need and bring our child back to a place of maturity in the end.

When the baby talk starts, I hold her in my arms and talk to her like a little baby, calling her precious and beautiful and loved.  I gaze into her eyes, smile, and coo.  Sometimes, she will put things in her mouth or reach for dangerous things.  I will "No, no." her like a mom of a toddler.  Then, when she asks for big kid stuff, I will say, "Oh no.  We don't let babies have ..."  At that point , she is usually ready to be a big girl again.

The other strategy that has worked wonders lately is what I call "Wii MySims" language.  The Wii characteres only talk in gibberish that is only understood by inflection and cadence.  So, when I hear the baby-talk, I smile brightly, and begin speaking gibberish - high, light, silly baby-talk with lots of laughing.  Sometimes, I give her the "I don't understand?"  or the "What?  Me?" sound.  Sometimes, I give her a silly "You're in big trouble now," finger-wagging.  Inevitably, we both end up giggling.  It has become a playful way to give her what she needs and keep things light-hearted.  This is also one that Steve loves to use with her.    

What do you think?  Any other great ideas?

Blessings to you,


nora said...

Oh this is C. She is intensely into the baby talk ad has been for quite some time ( 2+ years.) The gibberish was actually classified as a speech delay at one point until we pointed out that she could speak full sentences. We do cater to it and we do talk about what she can and can't do as a big girl, but we also just say "no babies can't have" cookies/bikes/a movie/choices to play outside/a laydate when you talk like a baby. Its so slow to come around,but there are very mirco tears at moving to understading and NOT manipulating.

Sharon said...

Just hopped on over here. We have this very same thing here, although our daughter's speech tends to get really "lazy" instead of high pitch. I tend to handle it similarly to you, though I hate to admit that sometimes I just get so irritated because I can't understand her. :(

Anonymous said...

Don't indulge her. Obviously tge baby talk is a way to get your attention, and it seems to work very well!!

You are reinforcing bad behavior!!

Mike and Christie said...

It sounds like she is trying to fulfill something missed from before. She wasn't with you when she was a baby, and NEEDS to go through that stage so she can move on.
It is REALLY important to allow her to baby talk, and even have a bottle if she wants, when she is snuggling in your arms. Your rocking chair description is much of what we have done with our girls.
Eventually the stage GREATLY diminishes and then goes away all together.
It is important to not make her feel ashamed for needing the attention. There is nothing wrong with her behavior. It is just not the same as a normal, connected child, because she has an abnormal beginning.

I have written much on this type of subject on my blog.

Our 12 year old, who has been home for a year, has just started the baby talk thing. I thought she might not go through it, but she is following in suit just like her sisters. :)
I think hers will be short lived, as she is making huge strides.
Right now, I call her my baby. If she asks for something, even in a normal tone, I say, "what do you need baby?" or something like that. She seems to be eating up the attention, which is EXACTLY what she needs.
One good thing about this, is that it shows that they are vulnerable to you. Being vulnerable is a big step in attachment. :)