Family Magazine

One More Voice

By Sherwoods
William has really started talking.  He will be officially two and a half next week and has decided that words are a marvelous, wonderful thing that he should use as much as humanly possible.  This love of talking is hardly surprising considering he is surrounded by people who spend all day talking.  Even if half of his family is quiet at any given time, that still leaves four people all talking at once.
I both hate and love fully verbal toddlers.  I love them because they don't crumple into a ball of tears when they can't let you know what thing is that they really, really want.  Instead of pointing and screaming, they can (theoretically) point and say, "Please give me the water."  It makes for a lot fewer tears.
I also love that they can follow a series of directions.  These days my job as a mother is often traffic controller and less often the person who actually gets the job done.  Having a non-verbal child really makes that job harder as they require one to pick up the blankie, get the toy, or go upstairs themselves instead of telling a child to do it for them.  It's much easier to tell William to get a pair of undies and watch him rush upstairs to get them himself.
But verbal toddlers love talking.  Talking is a new tool, a shiny new toy, and they use it all the time.  I remember one hour-long car ride when Edwin spent the entire trip sitting in the back talking non-stop to all his sleeping siblings.  It was really funny to listening to his chirpy little voice endlessly stringing together near-meaningless phrases.  And since everyone else was asleep, it was fine.
But when you have a family of five verbal children and then the sixth child hits the verbal stage, that makes the entire house that much noisier.  Two year-olds have no idea about conversational turn-taking (and it turns out that five year-olds, seven year-olds, nine year-olds, eleven year-olds, and twelve year-olds don't have much of an idea either) and so when everyone is talking, William just talks louder and louder.  And his cute, sweet, chirpy little voice can cut through anything in a way that can destroy one's nerves after awhile.
The high (or low) point of this conversational madness is dinner each night.  Everyone has had a full day and everyone wants to tell Brandon about it as soon as he walks through the door.  Sometimes people remember to take turns and sometimes they don't and often I feel like I'm in the middle of the dinner scene from While You Were Sleeping.  When it's a particularly scattered night, I'll give Brandon a look and he'll respond with, "I didn't say Cesar Romero was tall.  I said he was Spanish!"
Now that William can talk also, his little voice is a descant floating over the top of everything.  "Mom, give me some milk.  Mom, give me some milk!  Mom, give me some milk!!"  By then end of an hour of dinner and dishes I'm ready to go somewhere absolutely quiet so that I can gather together my shredded nerves.  There's a reason we rarely have dinner guests.
I know that eventually the newness of talking will wear off and William will use his words more sparingly and for a purpose other than the pure pleasure of making sounds (although some of my older children have still not reached that point yet).  So I've been taking videos so that I can remember the days when he was an adorably cute two year-old with a high, chirpy voice that could make anyone smile.  I know I'll miss it when he becomes a sullen teenager and talking is an absolute chore.  But at least dinner will be quieter then.

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