You know how they say that women have X number of words a day compared to a man’s X number of words? I am chatty, as people go, and I'm a writer so I certainly have the average woman allotment, if not more. But Madeline.
Madeline has SO MANY WORDS that just existing in a house with her runs me fresh out of words by 2:00 in the afternoon. I get snappy and curt and kind of rude. With my own child, with my baby! (I cannot even believe I am admitting this to you.) By midday I physically cannot answer any more questions, even basic ones like, "Mommy can I go play in the street for a little while?"
The two-letter word "No" is inaccessible to me; my brain cannot think it. My tongue cannot form it. I ignore requests altogether, or, if the request is urgent, like the street thing, I grunt. “Uhhhhhhh" for "no" and "Mhmmm” for "yes."
Oh my gosh - is this what it’s like to be a man? If so, I’m sorry for every time I ever tried to weasel a conversation out of a one. It is the worst.
Madeline will start school again soon, which will make me a better parent. I’ll be fresh when she gets home instead of catatonic. I’ll have enough words at bedtime to say something besides, “G’night. Love. Stay,” like Rosie from The Jetsons running out of batteries.
I attribute the sheer volume of Madeline’s words to a couple of factors.
- She’s 4.
- She’s a girl.
- She’s a first born.
- She has low vision, and has been narrated to for her entire life.
- She has a social, chatty, curious personality.
If all of these things contribute, Madeline has hit the motherload. 5 for 5. If I put an ad in the classifieds:
"Seeking: non-pedophile to listen to my daughter talk for 3 hours a day. Must be attentive, intelligent, and have stamina, as she will not stop,"
Do you think I’d have any takers?