Saturday 15 February 2014


In the newspapers recently, I have seen comments about the importance of talking to babies and little children so as to encourage their loquacity and hone their vocabularies. Goodness knows why it has taken so long for 'official' comment to draw our attention to the obvious. It won't surprise you that I am fascinated by the attempts of the young to make themselves understood. I have a little heart-sink when I hear that babies have been 'good' because quiet and 'naughty' because of crying. For \Heavens sake, how do we expect them to draw our attention when they are pre-verbal. (Rhetorical). Someone I had a great deal to do with growing up was being fed when it was clear that she was storing up the food in her hamster cheeks. As the surplus spilled out the feeder kept shaving it up and trying to put it back in to the child's mouth. After a while of this in- out exchange, the little one suddenly said "Hello". "Hello, has nothing to do with it" the feeder responded. Thinking about it, it came to me that this little thing had spent a good long moment reviewing her miniscule vocabulary and had decided that the nearest she could get to "Let's call it a day with this food business, if you would be so kind" was 'Hello', regarded as a friendly and connecting word in most people's world. I have a friend across the Channel whose neighbour came to her one day and asked whether her visiting Mother were alright. When asked, the reason for the query was that she had been observed actually to be talking to the baby she was pushing in  the pram.

Irony is a tough one. We Brits seem to go in for it extensively. I overheard a conversation where someone was describing a less than happy restaurant experience. The light was poor, the food appalling, the service indifferent and the toilet facilities a disgrace. "You would'nt recommend it, then" said the addressee. A non-Brit, on the fringe, spoke, with some irritation, "Haven't you listened to a word he said?" A perfect communication between those used to irony: a lapse of manners to the rest. When I was rather ill a while ago, talking was too great an effort. I was aware that loved ones were keeping vigil but had no words to let them know I was grateful and comforted. My inner voice, never at a loss for words, even in those circumstances, kept worrying at the problem. Eventually it came up with a solution. Give them a smile. Communication was thus restored, to everyone's relief.  I was still in there somewhere. It made me realise, again, the essential nature of communication. Perhaps it is right up there with the previous post: .Love and Communication equal life's blood. Why not?  Bore da

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So well communicated!
Great post, thank you.
Emma :-)