everything and nothing


I'm mentally stuck in that stage where I just mindlessly chase Carter around so he and everyone surrounding him survives his destruction. The babysitting stage seemed like it wasn't ever budging. Now? He's mostly trustworthy with bombs and such. I can let him run the house, confident he's lost all interest in carrying around the toilet brush or licking a random dirty wash cloth laying in the laundry room.

Enter the talking/understanding stage.
I'm naturally untalkative, so I'm challenged with the explosion of vocabulary and dozens of little (hilarious!) broken sentences that have straight out of nowhere graced Carter's current age. I'm supposed to be encouraging nonstop conversations and coming up with ways to introduce words. 

But seriously. I was getting so good at the chaotic chasing.

I easily forget that everything has a name, and - whoops - he doesn't really know any of them yet.
We're sitting cross-legged on the floor, eating sweet cajun trail mix. Except for chomping, it's all but silent. This is nice.
No, wait. 
This is trail mix. Can you say 'trail mix?'
He says it and probably forgets it as soon as his lips finish the attempt.

Uh oh! You dropped one on the floor.
I decide to just go all space cadet on him.
These floors are made of wood.
Wood is from trees.
You know, the trees that are outside?
Blank, unsponge-like stare. 

Everything I'm physically doing deserves an explanation. I remind myself that he doesn't know why I'm boiling water (I figure out some words that somehow support the meaning of cooking). Why I'm washing the plate (Bacteria is probably completely over his head). Why he shouldn't touch the knives (a long annotation about how the word dangerous correlates to booboos).

In the back of my mind, I'm fighting myself, thinking There's no way he understands what I'm saying, why do I bother? I soo enjoy any rare silence that might creep into my house. I'm training my mind to keep moving; always search for words to talk to him about. The I'm so happy to know you's and songs that make no sensethe purposes of folded clothes and combed hair, the consequences of unbrushed teeth and stinky breath, the cats with their tails and the little boys with no tails, just a hiney. It feels so trivial and tedious sometimes. I wonder if he's holding onto any of this.

But I say it all, anyway. Because by not listening to my unorganized babble, he's learning even less.


  1. My little guy is a lot smaller that Carter but it suddenly very interestingly in trying to speak and I've lately found myself commentating almost everything I do. "Shall we get you some lunch? Maybe we could have strawberries for dessert. Strawberries are red." And I know exactly what you mean about enjoying those moments of silence but feeling like you should be filling them with something stimulating to help them learn.
    I'd bet any money though, that in a few years when they are off at school, that we'll hate the silence and wonder what to do to fill it.
    PS Carter looks adorable in that photo. X

    1. it's interesting how you can really analyze your words with this stuff, too! I try to make sure my words are always really sharp - like "going" instead of "goin" You made me think of that when you used the word "shall." It's pretty cool to think that we can really influence the way we want them to (properly) speak while they're this young.

  2. Goodness, you are lucky you are able to sit in silence! My little one tells me everything that's going on, and will repeat and repeat it until I say it back to him exactly as he has said it. I can't just agree with a yes or a no, it has to be his exact words back to him. I guess he's just trying to figure out whether what he said was right and made sense. But yeah, i'm afraid everything has to be explained all of the time...the questions will start soon too. "Mummy, what you doing in the kitchen?" etc etc. It's so great to hear their little language though and lovely to know that whatever they have learned is probably mainly from hearing you speak. And he'll probably surprise you one day and randomly tell you that the floor is made from wood, and that the wood came from trees. Then you'll know it was all worth it! xxx

    1. Carter doesn't tell me very much, he usually fills empty air with whining - and repeating until I respond, luckily he doesn't need exact words (that does sound exhausting!). But you're right, I can't wait for when he just wants to tell me things he learned for no reason :)

  3. Sometimes I feel crazy for all the things I try and explane to Jack. I think there is no way he is getting any of it. Then he does things like hug me and say "I love you", or hold up one of his little plastic tools and say "measure nose". Now I know that maybe not all of it is getting through, but some of it is, and that makes all the times I feel stupid for over explaining every detail so worth it.

  4. I knew from the beginning this would be a struggle for me. I could sit all day without speaking, never even turning on the television, if left to my own devices. So I make a very concerted effort to speak, to explain everything I do and why I do it. I, too, have no idea if she is getting anything out of my mindless chatter, but I know without it she will be stone silent. So hard and you can't help but wonder if it helps.

  5. Jacob talks a lot, he can say sentences and most of them clear but I still have to teach him a lot of words. But he has his screaming fits when he don't get his way or when I can't understand what's he's trying to tell me. Does Carter have tantrums or scream super loud when u can't understand his words sometimes?

  6. And where did you get your dining table? It's beautiful! :)