MIL and baby talk - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 02-14-2004, 03:31 PM - Thread Starter
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I do not get along very well with my MI she absolutely drives me crazy. So I am not sure if I am overreacting b/c it is her or is this is somehting I really should correct.
We do not do baby talk with my DD 15 mos. WE don't say, Wawa for water and when she says, "sshhh"for please we say, "that's right please" however my DD has taken to calling her grandpa, "PA" I always say, Yup, tha's grandpa. My inlaws however are now referring to grandpa as "pa" She even signs cards, "Love grammy and pa" The biggest problem is that when grandpa is around I mostly am not (so it is not as though I can counteract this) They are usually babysitting. It is only twice and sometimes even jsut once a week but I don't want to reinforce improper pronunciation. Should I have my husband put a stop to this or just let it go. I could very well be more irritated b/c it is her and I can't stand her.

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#2 of 8 Old 02-14-2004, 04:26 PM
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How much do you enjoy the time you get while they babysit? I'd let it go for 'Grandpa' (since it IS his title, and he doesn't seem to mind being called that) However, anything that is a word used in general communication (like water, spoon, banana, etc..) I'd insist on proper pronunciation.

It IS annoying, though... My parents put 'dibs' on Grandma & Grandpa early on, and asked that Kevins parents choose the Danish way to say it (they immigrated here) so Roland won't be confused. Well, they INSIST on calling themselves Grandma & Grandpa, too. I just attach their first names to the end of it "Grandma Dora" and "Grandpa Ole" ... if he drops the "Grand" parts later on, it'll be their problem/fault.

My grandparents made a fuss about what they'd be called when Roland arrived (their first great-grandson) They started out as NaNa & PaPa. NaNa decided she'd be 'Nan' and PaPa said "Why can't he just call me Lou?" (his first name) I let my grandma have her way, but suggested to Grandpa that Roland call him PaPa Lou. He LOVED the idea (I don't know why we didn't think of it earlier)
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#3 of 8 Old 02-14-2004, 06:14 PM
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I agree that it is important for children to learn the correct way to pronounce things. I think it is also important to teach young children proper, more formal english rather than the lazy way Americans speak.
But when it comes to people that they are close to, you should think about making an exception there. Maybe your FIL and MIL want your DD to call them Grammy and Pa, instead of Grandpa or grandfather. If you think about it Grandpa is not really the correct word either, grandfather would be.
I will even go so far as to say that I think it is important for children to have "pet" names that they are called and that they call others. I think it enhances bonding and empahsizes the close relationship.
You should to think about this more and maybe talk to your IL's and set up names that your daughter will call them now, so that you can be consistent. Explain to them how you feel and see how they respond.
One more thing to think about, do you expect your DD to call you Mother or will Mom, Mommy or Mama do?

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#4 of 8 Old 02-14-2004, 06:50 PM
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Silly names for things or using baby words didn't slow down how fast I learned to speak, or how properly. Despite my generally crappy typing, I speak very properly and clearly in public, even large lectures and radio broadcasts. There's a time and place for both baby talk and proper speech. Babies should hear both, I believe. Language is fun! And there's often something very poetic and rythmic and loving about some of the ways we change words, so I think there's a purpose to that too. I've certainly heard Japanese and British people use baby talk, and people don't complain about their "lazy speech" generally. If it's only on a weekly basis, I think it'll have very little lasting influence.

The kids I know with rotten speech seem to have parents and peers that rarely speak properly at all, not because of an overuse of "baby talk". The speech pattern at home, and then the pressure at an older age to sound like their peers look like the biggest influence. Though I'm horrified at the speech of many teachers. I wish more of them would take a public speaking class! It's an interesting process, learning to tailor your speech according to the situation. Using overly formal speech in informal setting, or with people who don't speak that way can be socially distancing - they might feel you're cold, or elitist. Overly casual speech in the wrong setting makes some people feel you're improperly intimate, or frivolous, or less educated. Interesting area to think about. It's more complex than that...slang, vocabulary, grammar, speed, accent all shade speech differently. I have worked with some teenagers to learn how to be more formal in the workplace and on the telephone, for instance, since they build up certain habits by only using the phone generally with other teens.

On the grandparent issue, I had so many as a kid we had a broad range of names for them in order to keep my 10 grandparents and greatgrandparents straight. (grandmom Lastname and grandpop Lastname, mom-mom, pop-pop, nana, poppy.) So whatever works for the child and the grandparent seems to be the winner.

around my house we often use the baby word, the correct word, and the spanish word...usually 2 out of 3 in any given coversation. "I wuv oo." "I wuv oo, too, honey, I really love you." Reflecting back what she said as a way to encourage and reinforce her words, but also modeling a better pronunciation/translation for other people present.
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#5 of 8 Old 02-14-2004, 07:36 PM
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I too, have a mil who annoys the heck out of me, and I know that whatever she does, it would rankle. That said, my sil bugs me because she insists on speaking to her toddler as follows, "Would you care to put your pants on at this time?" etc. She overdoes the whole speaking properly and it's kind of annoying to me. I like to speak to my children as they speak to me, in their "language" as it were. They have plenty of time to speak proper english as they grow. IN any case, my son is sometimes funny in his interpretation, there are times when he sounds like an 80 year old man. Anyway, to each his/her own is the bottom line. Most important, more than the verbiage is the LOVE behind it. Right?
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#6 of 8 Old 02-14-2004, 07:57 PM
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Because you asked, I would let it go for a couple of reasons. First, because it sounds like you are going to have bigger issues down the road with your in-laws and I wouldn’t waste my “this is just my peeve” card on this particular issue.

The second reason I think you should let this go is because I’m not sure that your assumptions that baby talk interferes with language development are correct. I have heard the “baby-talk” is a cross-cultural practice, which actually helps to engage children.

DC and I still use, "I lama lama" for I love you because that was the first way DC used it. And, I know many "names" that started because of the way a child first used them...oh, I'm stepmother's grandma name is Mimi because of how one of my sisters used to say her name.

Okay, there's my bias...I think it can be really cute. Take a pass on this one. If they are that bad-you'll need it!

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#7 of 8 Old 02-15-2004, 04:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok I'll let it go.

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#8 of 8 Old 02-16-2004, 06:31 PM
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I think it sounds like you have to choose your battles! Does Grandpa like being called Pa? If so I would let that one go. The rest though I would say something. I've had to do that with a lot of my relatives. If they say "horsie, doggie, wawa..." I correct them and try to make a joke out of it. But in the end they get the picture. Your baby, your rules!
I have had a lot or problems in the past with my MIL. Our biggest one is that I think she lets dd cry it out on the rare occasion that we ask them babysit. She is a big advocate for CIO and thinks we are fools for not doing it to get some "much needed sleep!" It's such a touch position with MIL because they're not your mother (but sometimes act like it), and they are around so much that it's awkward if you don't have a good relationship.
Good luck!
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