I have a writer friend who told me she wants to write a piece about love and the degradation of language. You know, it starts with the loveydoveymonkeypoopsy stuff we fall bafflingly into when we fall in love with a grown-up and only gets worse when the object of our infatuation is a creature dazzled by monosyllables, gurgling sounds and anything sung.
I pride myself, however, on being something of a grammarian and refusing to let myself fall into that trap. I have a real problem with inventing a fakey, lame baby language that will be discarded when he’s old enough to talk and prefer to just address my son like a person. While I confess I call him boo and refer to his diapers as “poopy,” I have never and hopefully will never use the terms numnums, baba, wawa or milkies. He drinks MILK from a BOOB and WATER from a CUP and eats FOOD—avocado, apple sauce, turkey, all terms he understands—from a BOWL or a JAR. He responds to, “Want some milk?” and “Ready for your bath?” and is equally communicative with me in his own language of pointing and shouting or just grabbing whatever cup, toy or boob he desires. It’s very effective. Aidan and I sort it out without my having to resort to googoogaga-isms.
That said, the other day this grammar snob looked down from her high horse and told her baby, as he babbled incoherently in her arms: “Oh baby angel, you are the most sweetest and wonderfulest thing I’ve ever seen in my life.” Swear to God.