Making conversation

            As you know, I have two children.  Popular lore has it that usually one child is more talkative than the other.  The theory goes that there is only so much air time, and if you have one child who rarely pauses for breath, the other child cannot get a word in edgewise.

            Would that this were true.

            In my house, what happens is that the child who starts a millisecond later simply talks louder, so as to be heard over his brother.  The first speaker, to ensure that we can still hear him, raises his volume a bit more.  Which means that the second child needs to speak up, so that we can hear him, of course.

            Somehow, I got myself two talkers.  (Those of you who know me IRL can stop laughing and muttering something about apples and their proximity to trees.)  Zachary was a late talker, mostly because he kept the words to himself till he busted out in full sentences a few months before his second birthday.  However, he has long since made up for lost time, and his grandfather has been heard to joke that you could get him into the zoo for free (due to his small size) if he would only keep his mouth shut.  The child’s proper use of the subjunctive tense gives him away every time.

            Benjamin started talking before he had words.  And, unlike his brother, he does not learn first and do later.  Learning and doing are the same thing for him.  So he likes to practice his words.  All the time.  All the freakin’ time.  And, he is a pretty advanced little talker, I must say.  Most toddlers seem to like nouns and verbs, but he goes for all parts of speech, delving into modifiers and states of being.  Sometime last month, he started putting two words together, starting with “Daddy work.”  It has escalated, and yesterday he informed me that he wanted to push the doll in the stroller by commanding, “baby sit.”  (He likes to talk, but he mostly likes to boss.)

            Sometimes, though Benjamin gets things a little confused. 

            He likes little action figure dolls.  The dinosaurs he calls “Ra-ra-roar.”  The little plastic animals he calls “a-me,” then identifies by name or sound (although lately they have all inexplicably started “baaa-ing”).  And then there are the little plastic people.  One came with his fire truck, and he loved the fire truck and only liked Fireman Sam because he fits behind the wheel of the truck.  One day, however, he realized that the little doll was where it is at, and he started calling him “Sam.”

            This was awfully cute, and for awhile we were happy to fetch him Sam every time he asked for it.  Until we realized he was not always asking for Sam.  “Sam” appears to be the word he uses to refer to all little toy men.  Firemen, Little People mechanics, wooden dolls from the doll’s house, and the magnetic knight who lives on the refrigerator and comes with a whole wardrobe of magnetic clothing.  All “Sam.”

            “Actually, Ben, that’s a knight,” I told him. 

He must not have believed me, because he insisted, “Sam.”

“No,” his brother told him.  “Knight.”  Ben looked at me.

“He’s right, honey.  That’s a knight.”  Oh, Benjamin’s little face seemed to say.  I get it. 

“Knight Sam,” he announced.

21 responses to “Making conversation

  1. Knight Sam. LOL

    Yes, I got two talkers too who employ similar methods to yours for “sharing” air time.

    The crazy thing is…they can be silent, I mean seriously silent, elsewhere.

  2. two talkers in my house, too.


    knight, sam. that’s great!

  3. 1 chatty one, 1 not so chatty one in my house. Of course, now that CJ has left for the Air Force, Connor is being forced to talk to his Mom more than he might like!!


  4. All talk, all the time. Oh, the best? When they start yelling “No bark!” at the dog so it sounds just like three barkers. No wonder I’m barking mad.

  5. We thought for ages that our youngest was a quiet reserved child – then its siblings started school and we realized it was simply drowned out by the constant chatter of the older two. It hasn’t allowed that to happen since…

  6. Aww. Knight Sam made me smile.

    Bean used to call all animals “doggies”. Then he started meowing at the cats in an uncannily accurate way. Now he can deftly point out hyenas, giraffes, armadillos, lions, mice, and of course, gorillas, thanks to “Goodnight, Gorilla”.

    Last night, even sick as a dog, he surprised me by pointing to the (few) words in the book as I read them to him and repeating in his baby voice.

    It was a tender moment. Until he got impatient and closed the book on my finger, then chucked it off the bed. 😉

  7. Awww. Lovin’ it.

    Ben was not a talker, in fact he needed much therapy to get him to speak at all, but now he never shuts his mouth. It’s a constant (and sometimes annoying) monologue about ANYTHING that is happening around him.

    Alex is now a major talker/babbler, so I can only imagine how this will play out as he starts to use more discernable words.

    I’m thinking of getting some earplugs.

  8. Aww. I love “Knight Sam”. 🙂 Smart kid!

    The Little Mister talks and talks and talks…I can hardly imagine what it’ll be like when he has words!!

  9. So cute! Love watching them figure things out!

  10. Well, knights need a proper name too, right?

  11. This stubbornness must be common. The mini has 5 dolls with the same name. Hers, of course.

  12. HA! You just described my two older boys (my youngest isn’t even 1 yet so I can’t exactly tell about him yet, although he babbles a ton). I don’t know when either of my boys stops to take a breath. They can talk. I always forget how much they talk until I take them somewhere and people are always amazed.
    In my house silence IS golden.

  13. This is my favorite post of yours yet. I love it. Perfect little punch line there at the end.

  14. well, i’ve got speech delayed #1 who has been to therapy for ages and little miss mumbles who says everything, but you can’t understand it. as to the apples not falling far from the tree remark, friends of mine might ask when my kids would stand a chance of getting a word in edgewise with me around. heh.

  15. LOL, well ok Knight Sam it is!

  16. Knight Sam – love it!

    Thanks for sharing!

  17. Two talkers, one who was doing perfectly enunciated complete sentences by 18 months and now (at 20) regularly lectures me about using the subjunctive incorrectly or whatever. Like I can remember what that is in my old age.

    And my older one and I were just laughing about when she named one of her Fisher Price people “JR” after a character on the old TV show Dallas, which was on when she was a baby and I still knew how to turn on a TV set.

  18. I find the process of learning to talk, of becoming a SPEAKING person just endlessly interesting. The Baby told me today that I have a “lovely fat belly.” Well, at least it’s lovely.

  19. “knight sam” hee hee

    MQ is also a talker (again with the apples and the tree) and lately I just want her to STOP sometimes. Because she will talk constantly, repeating herself until the next thing comes along. Shhhh…. I can’t think.

    My parents, I’m sure, would have something to say about karma or something

  20. My daughter is definitely the talker (taking after her father) and seems to talk just for the sake of talking. My son feels that whenever he talks, it’s about something worthwhile. It can become quite comical when he pauses in his story and she takes the opportunity to begin her own conversation.