JACKSONVILLE — There are many boring technical phrases that can describe Baby Talk – "infant-directed speech" or "child-directed speech" or "caretaker speech" to name a few.
But none of them really capture or adequately describe that special, simplified, sweet form of speech that many Mommies and Daddies and MeMaws and PePaws use when speaking to children.
I prefer to call it what is it – "Baby Talk."
Baby Talk is very important to me because my PePa used it with me a lot. Probably more than my Mom and Dad and MeMa or anyone else in my family.
My PePa – Ray Miller – and I were very tight. He was my mentor and my best friend. And my hero. He built me a treehouse and showered me with numerous toys. Growing up, I stayed with him and my MeMaw, Cloteele Miller, many weekends at their home near Love Field in Dallas.
I adored PePa's Baby Talk. So much so that after I grew up I patterned mine after his when caring for my 19-year-old son Jake back when he was an infant. And I use it now with my 2-year-old son Cam.
Some people refuse to use Baby Talk with a child. They contend doing so continuously can actually hamper child development. Some go as far as to describe Baby Talk as demeaning. They say we should be speaking more plainly and informatively to our children and therefore helping them more with their development.
I disagree. Vehemently.
But when I was younger, I was briefly manipulated into that train of thought by some of the more bullying kids in my class. They overheard my PePa talking to me when he picked me up from elementary school, and their venomousness about it really startled and frightened me.