The Evolution of a Talker

Talking.  One of the milestones that as a parent you look forward to.  That moment when your offspring can actually tell you their problem instead of just standing their crying, whining, screaming.  You can ask them a question, they can give you an answer.  It may start as a one or two-word answer, but it still beats the hell out of whining.  Funny thing about this talking milestone is that  once they start, you find yourself wondering exactly why you were so excited for them to start in the first place.  It is quite the process, one that takes years to develop.   I now have kids at all different levels of the talking ladder and after thinking about it  I am amazed (and scared) at  the evolution of a talker.

You bring home your sweet, precious, quiet newborn.  He sleeps 20 hours a day and eats on a regular schedule.  Baby keeps eating, growing, starts staying awake a little more, a little babble, a little more crying.  Months pass, you spend your days playing and talking in one word sentences with the hopes that baby will catch on to a word here or there.  Ball.  BA-BY.  Dog. Cat.  Ma-Ma. Da-Da.  Toes.   Finally baby mumbles a word.  Ma-Ma.  You get SO excited because you just know that he is speaking months ahead of all other babies and he will be a genius.  You are pissed because you didn’t get it on video, but that’s OK because now that Junior is talking you will have so many opportunities to catch him on video.  Just to spite you, baby doesn’t form another intelligible word for months.  Damn it.

Finally baby grows into a toddler.  Walking, screaming, throwing shit, climbing, more screaming.  Life is great.  You think to yourself that now is the time, this kid is gonna start talking.  I can NOT take anymore of this grunting, pointing, screaming.  Oh GOD the screaming.  After more intensive one word at a time therapy, Junior speaks.  The moment you have been waiting for…an intelligible word. You never thought you would be so excited over one word.  The word.  NO.  Oh, it’s so cute.  Junior, you want a drink?  NO.  You want to play blocks?  NO.  You want to eat lunch? NO.  You want to go the park? NO.  Son of a….If this kid says the word “no” one more time, heaven help me.  I have GOT to teach this little munchkin some more words.

Toddler starts turning into quite the talker.  He progresses past the word “no”, not that he quits using it, but has developed a bit of a vocabulary so he has other words to help him pass the time.  This is the “cute talker” stage.  Everything they say is cute.  Awe, he said “twuck”, isn’t that sweet?  He wants a “dwinky”, that is so cute.  Hey mom, he said my name!  Isn’t that cute?  What’s that?  You want a…. WHAT DID YOU SAY???  Oh God. It’s a FORK, FFFF-OOORRRRRRRR-KKK.  FORK.  Oh crap, so much for going out to eat in public.

Toddler turns 4 and overcomes the small problem he had with the letter R.  At least now the kid can form a complete sentence.  It may not always make sense, but at least it is a sentence. “I have crunchy peanut butter in my eye”  WHAT?  This age becomes difficult because the words are there, but they are still unable to put them together in logical sentences.  Why are you mad Junior?  ”Johnny took my underwear and ate them for lunch”  Excuse me? Do you mean you went to CHANGE your underwear and Johnny ate your lunch while you were gone?  I’m pretty sure that Johnny would NOT want to eat your underwear. That would cause many problems that I am not ready to discuss with you.  This age also presents the problem of too many words, not enough brain space.  The moment when said 4-year-old gets so pissed at a sibling that the words just won’t form so Junior just resorts to the high-pitched scream, grunt, and toy chucking.  Not an enjoyable time, you pray that this stage passes quickly.

The four-year old turns into a five-year old, starts school, and gains not only intelligence points but gains better control over his vocabulary.  They become more inquisitive about the meanings of words, which in turn begins testing the intelligence of their parents;

“Dad, what do you mean by absorbs?”
“You know, sucks it up.”
“You mean like a butterfly’s proboscis?”
“I don’t know what that is, but I was thinking more along the lines of a sponge.”

(This was an actual conversation that occurred between Farmer Bob and the Boy.  I can’t make this shit up)

It is at this point you really start to not only question; A. exactly what ARE they learning in school? and B.  am I a complete dumb ass?  You start reading books other than Dr. Seuss with the hopes of increasing your vocabulary, and you do it quickly.

My eldest spawn is now 10.  There are days when I would pay thousands of dollars for a roll of duct tape in order to not listen to her mouth.  I have been told; ohhhh, just wait.  It will get worse.  To that I say this…UGH. Seeing as she is not only the oldest of five, but she is only at the ripe old age of 10, holy schmoly I have a SHITLOAD of years left to deal with these types of quality conversations:

“Please go water the flowers for me”
“But Grandpa said it’s gonna rain”

“Turn off your light, it’s time to go to sleep”
“But I’m still reading”

“Your hair looks really cute”
“But my bangs are sticking out”
“I was really just hoping for a ‘thank you mom’ there”

I am so damn tired of hearing the word “but”.  It makes me want to stick my foot in her butt.  I am convinced that she would argue with me over the color of the grass or that the strawberries are really grapes.  It doesn’t make a hill of beans of difference if I am right or not, she knows everything and I know jack shit.  I suppose I should attempt to get used to this, to just let it roll off of me, but we have loooooong road ahead of us.  A road that I hope will be lined with vineyards with a vat of wine at the end.

Here’s the thing, I am afraid that if I get used to it now what will happen when these kids are 18, 16, 14, 13, and 11? (Holy shit, that scares me just a little!)  I have survived this evolution up to this point and I am not ready to risk complete anarchy and the possibility of being overrun by a handful of smart ass kids.  I must arm myself and be prepared for this next step in the evolution.  While I am unsure of exactly what weapons I will need for this battle, I will force myself to think back to when I was that age.  It wasn’t that long ago, surely I can remember something.   Oh. CRAP.  I’m screwed.

* Originally published in August 2012

Have you read about Lilly and Hannah yet?  Read their story here and see how you can help one pair of slippers at a time.  THANK YOU!!!!






  1. That was awesome.
    Sending it to my daughter….she has her first…….7 mos.
    She will have so much fun

  2. I can seriously relate to what your saying. But, it’s worse when she uses that mouth on Dad. My middle child is 11 and a girl. And every time she opens her mouth in front of Dad I just cringe. It’s like she has some radar that goes off and tells her that Dad had a bad day, so lets go push his buttons, and make it worse.

  3. Amanda Young says:

    I feel for you. Sonny Boy started at 10 as well, and it hasn’t gotten much better in the last year and half. Now Cutie Pie is aproaching 10 and has already mastered the eye roll and the blank stare. Together they have taught the Ballerina the many uses of the word Whatever; what’s cuter than a 2yr old being asked to put the dolly away and answering with “Whatever, Mom” and a groan/eye roll? Umm, anything is cuter than that. Seriously. And #4 coming in February. Blargh. I keep telling them I’m going to sell them all on Craigslist, but duck tape sounds good, too.

  4. Your secret is safe with us. I know that I’ve heard people say we spend the first year of our child’s life teaching them to walk and talk and the next 17 years trying to get them to sit down and shut up. God help me, I believe my children even talk in their sleep.


  5. Anonymous says:

    Voted! Your blog, right on! My girls talk in their sleep too. Never a moment of peace and quiet , well duct tapes works for a while until they figure out how to lick it off :)

    • “well duct tape works for a while until they figure out how to lick it off” Priceless!!

      When my sisters and I were younger my mom tried this once and was pissed when we licked it off!! :D That is just too funny!! Totally almost spit my coffee out!!

  6. Ha ha ha!! You’ll do just fine!
    I love the proboscis comment. Lately I feel like such a tool when it comes to technology. I got a tablet for my birthday. I didn’t know how to make the camera thingy work. The daughter instructs me, changes my wall paper and sets up a screen saver. WTF?

  7. I feel you. Especially with the word ‘but.’ We have a rule around our house now, for our six-year-old, because of that word:

    “‘The ONLY answer is ‘yes ma’am.’”

    If he can’t stick to just ‘yes ma’am,’ there’s a consequence.

    It works pretty well other than the anger-veins almost popping out of his forehead.


  8. You are in my head. My daughter is 14 now and was much worse at 10. The secret is public humiliation. They will keep their mouth shut of they understand the point in which you will go to win the battle

  9. Girl, I am with you. My daughter is almost 13 and my ears bleed from the minute she wakes up until she goes to sleep. I should be grateful that she still wants to talk to me but sweet Jesus, I would sell my soul for a mute button.

  10. hi-lar-ious….yesterday a nurse at the Drs office told me she makes her kids hold a bar of soap in their mouth when they say “but” or back talk. like we can afford that much soap…..

  11. A mute button would be great….I’d need multiple batteries. As always, I love what you write…so I am giving you the Versatile Blogger Award! Enjoy!

  12. OMG, totally understand babe. My 3 yr old told me today I was mean, he was mad at me and wanted to throw me in the garbage all because I said no to a lollipop. *rolls eyes* wanted him to talk so much and now he sure is talking up a storm.

  13. Thank you for the window into my future! My daughter can only say “Mama” and “Dada” and “Bweeee”. Most of the time everything is just “bweeee”.
    Me: “Look, it’s a doggie!”
    Baby: “Bweee”
    Me: “Okay, how about ‘ball’? Can you say ‘ball’?
    Baby: “Bwee”
    Me: How about ‘Mama’?
    Baby: “Bwee”
    I’m anxiously awaiting a real word, but I imagine one day, I will look back fondly on the days of “Bweee.”

  14. LOL @ the sponge ;)
    I remember when the twinkies were 2ish and only had their own twin language…we got them a speech therapist. And now, almost everynight at dinner, we curse that wonderful ST and reminisce about the time before they could talk lol
    As for 10 year old argumentatives…I have a boy and he’s the same way…like they learn about freedom and democracy in 4th grade and *gasp* think it applies to them. Not in my house missy! hahaha

  15. I just kicked my 2 girls (7 & 10) outside, with the dogs. My brain is on overload, I can’t concentrate when they don’t SHUT UP. The 7 year olds whining is out of control.She’s also the preemie that had speech therapy, now I realize how prescious that silence was, LOL. 3 more weeks until school starts. I don’t know if I can make it!

  16. Hilarious! Grace is 2.5 and coming out with some classics. She makes me laugh but it is also infuriating. Tonight she didn’t like the look of her dinner and without even trying it said ‘I don’t like it! Take it away!” Grrr

    • This is hilarious…Lil Mister does the same!! However my all time favorite was the first time he said “I love you” to anything! It was to pasta! I’d been saying I love mommy I love daddy I love you for months. But no…alas at 46 months old he looks directly at his bowl grabs a handful of the cheesy noodles and goes I love pasta! GRR!!!
      Shana recently posted…Immmmm baaa-ahck!My Profile

  17. My 13 yo has tried to sneak in under the radar and ease into adult words of the 4-letter persuasion. It started with crap, then dang, then freak, hell, bitch…you see where I’m headed? I’m the first to admit that I have a potty mouth and FUCK is my favorite word, but I do refrain from saying it in front of my kids. Sometimes I let it slide, IF I think it’s justified…but usually I just remind her to watch her mouth and she says “Mom, I hardly ever cuss. At least I don’t do it behind your back.” Ummm, yeah…I cussed at 13 too, but NOT in front of my MOTHER!!!

  18. I feel like you described exactly, word to word, the evolution of my elder son’s vocabulary!! I could so relate to each and every stage!! Just awesome!!

  19. Thank you thank you thank you!!! My two year old speaks non-stop from the moment he wakes up! I loved it when he started talking but most days just sit wondering when did this happen?!? He has such a need to talk that he will say the same thing 8 times in a row….tee maak (make tea {in Afrikaans}) tee maak tee maak tee maak….
    I swear I need a mute button! At what age do they learn what ‘shhhh’ means?!?
    I love him and am so amazed at how large a vocabulary he does have for his age especially being bilengual but really!!!
    Shana recently posted…Immmmm baaa-ahck!My Profile

  20. My nephew will be three in May and he is finally getting to the stage where he can say more than one word sentences. Of course, I’m not around him all the time, so I need my sister to translate and explain to me what exactly he means by “buzzie.”

    And, I still give my mom smart ass remarks at twenty. :] But, it gets done in a much mroe clever way.
    Robyn Webb recently posted…A Synopsis of Embarrassing Things I Did in My Life to Make You Feel Better About YoursMy Profile

  21. My three year old daughter talks from morning to night, which is fine and often lovely. What is not fine or lovely is the middle school level sass she has started to display. I honestly didn’t expect that for several more years.
    Amy recently posted…Crock Pot Thursday: Pork CarnitasMy Profile

  22. I am also worried for what the teen ages will have in store for this mom! My kids are all talkers, I don’t mind except for when they escalate from talking to yelling b/c just because you are all talking at the same time doesn’t mean I can answer you all at the same time.

    Anna recently posted…Instructions for my husband: you can’t just quit the mail.My Profile

  23. I have a 15 year old daughter and everything is full of “but mom…”. Take out the trash. But mom, there is still room. Check the mail. But mom, there is never anything for me.
    Then there is the non-stop talking about.. nothing. And the sass. oooh the sass! Makes me want to slap her face off! On top of it all, my 8 year old son has that high pitched, my balls haven’t dropped yet and I’m gonna whine about EVERYTHING you ask me to do voice. And HE talks non-stop, from the time he wakes up til he falls asleep. Someday, my house will be quiet again. Then I will want the chatter back, But right now, STFU!!

  24. I was so excited when my kids began speaking rather than babbling. I regretted it almost immediately :)
    whencrazymeetsexhaustion recently posted…I’m in My Pissy Pants. What Are You Wearing?My Profile

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