Monday, October 6, 2008

Take your time to talk, kiddo

Sonny likes to chat.

Since he's not yet six months old, he's obviously not yammering away in any language that you or I can comprehend. But when the mood is upon him, he will yip, yap and yodel away, at times even pausing as though awaiting a response from us. Generally, the little fella will be worrying away at some toy or activity (like trying to get himself closer to a tasty morsel, like a piano chair leg) when he gets voluble. He spends quite a bit of his time closely observing adults in action, so maybe he's picked up on the peculiar human habit of conversing.

We're not necessarily overwhelmed with joy at the little fella's early-onset chattiness. For perhaps it means that he's someone who will want to make his way in the world trading on his verbal skills, which might mean a career as a defence lawyer, travelling salesman or even (if he did something really wicked in his past life) a politician. This last thought, of course, is occasioned by the looming second debate between US presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama, which is exactly 48 hours away as I type these words. The two White House hopefuls will be pounding at each other with torrents of words, buffing up their own policy ideas, casting the other side in the worst possible light and otherwise using language as a fighter pilot uses his missiles, or samurai warrior his sword.

There's nothing dishonourable about such professions, at least not in the abstract. Still, to use words is often to misuse and manipulate them, and Sonny had better have some pretty stiff moral fibre woven into his character if he is to be immersing himself in these waters. Truth be told, however, our biggest concern about our potentially mouthy son is more parochial: He'd be a major annoyance in the near future. Sure, every child is going to have roughly half a million questions to ask about everything and its sister. But now imagine such a creature armed with smart-alec rebuttals to every answer and clever contradictions to place before every parental command.

Of course, we're going to be told that we've just described every five-year-old ever born. If that be our fate, we can only practice smiling through gritted teeth. But we really don't need to be reminded of our impending fate every day, as Sonny burbles away oh-so adorably.