Monday, January 20, 2014

Mommy Mondays: Jack Talk Pretty One Day

It's funny how something can go unnoticed for ages, and then one day someone points it out to you and it becomes impossible to ignore. So has it been with Jack's...unique way of speaking.

If you're a parent, you're probably used to narrating life in third person. We do it to teach a baby his or her name, and also to get the kid going on the whole "Mommy" and "Daddy" thing. So, for example, you might say, "And how is wee little Ermintrude doing this morning? Mommy thinks Baby Ermie is the cutest baby in the whole wide world!" You know, if you were the kind of person to name your child Ermintrude (and who isn't?).

The trouble is, long after wee little Jackie knew his name and was well aware of who these "Mommy" and "Daddy" characters were, we continued to talk about ourselves in the third person. As in, Mommy still does it sometimes. Mommy even thinks about herself in third person occasionally. It's a sickness. So I probably shouldn't be surprised that Jack still refers to himself as Jack. A lot.

To be honest, I didn't even pay much attention to it until our friend Dave arrived at post last April. Dave doesn't have kids, so he immediately noticed Jack's interesting way of talking about himself. And then, once I became aware of the fact that it wasn't exactly normal, I couldn't stop focusing on it. But no matter how many times I correct Jack, he still gets it wrong about a third of the time. Okay, that's being generous. Half the time. Or more.

It turns out there's a term for this: illeism. And apparently it worked out quite well for Salvador Dali and The Rock. But what if your child isn't a world famous painter or a wrestler-turned-B-list actor? How long can Jack get away with this nonsense?

Jack, when he saw this picture: "What's wrong with Jack? Why is Jack yelling?"

To make matters worse, Jack also speaks reeeeeaaally sloooooowly. I didn't notice that either, until we were in Miami in November and John's aunts started referring to Jack as Eeyore. My worst fears were confirmed when we visited our friends Ron and Jaime recently, and Jaime mentioned casually that my kid talks like Ben Stein.

Aside from all that, Jack actually speaks quite well (which is kind of like saying, "My kid's a genius, aside from that low IQ score," isn't it?). But it's a little disconcerting that no matter how many times I try to drill this into Jack's head, he can't quite seem to figure it out. Should I be worried, or is this a passing phase, a la potty training? Because, you know, that wasn't a big deal AT ALL.

On that note, Mommy needs a nap.


Amy Holt said...

Oh Mara, you're cracking me up again! Just like anything else I think kids go at their own pace. Plus, kids exposed to more than one language tend to speak a little later than others BUT they will catch up and have so many advantages being bi-/tri-lingual. Lucky Jack! Ermintrude?? LOL

L-S-E said...

This had me cracking up because our son does the same thing! He is only just now starting to phase out of it, but its still mostly third person talk with him. He also says "I want to pick you up" when he means to say "I want you to pick me up" and no amount of correction seems to help. I'm sure they all grow out of it :)

Jessie Humphries said...

Ah, not to worry. Kids do all sorts of different things in their own time. My youngest has speech delay and has been in therapy for over a year. She is a leader in her class, an exemplary student, but words are hard for her. Some days are tough (like today) but we'll get through it. :)

Mara Rae said...

Jack used to say "hold you," which really meant "hold me." I was kind of sad when that ended ;)

Jessie, you're right, Jack definitely needs to do things in his own time. I became self-conscious of it when other people started pointing it out, but Jack could care less!