05 December 2005

pet peeve

The way adults talk to children really irritates me sometimes. And I'm not talking about the high-pitched voices or the baby talk, although those are certainly annoying. I'm talking about many people's inability to realize that mother and child are separate people.

Example: today at the library, a librarian was cooing at Evan, which is fine. "You're so cute! Look at those fat little cheeks!" And then, in the same high-pitched baby voice, "And how old are you?" Sorry, lady, but the drooly gurgling lump in my lap is not going to answer that question. If you were asking me, then ask me and not the baby. It just feels disrespectful when someone expects a response from you, yet doesn't look you in the eye or speak directly to you.

And I'm annoyed by the reverse as well. James is obviously old enough to speak for himself, yet I'm constantly fielding questions about him: how old he is, how does he like the baby, does he go to school. I've taken to redirecting questions about James to him, so if someone asks me how old he is, I then ask James the same question, and he answers. Easy. I hate it when people talk about children rather to them, as if they're not there.

Conclusion: If you have a question for someone, ask him or her directly. If and only if that person is incapable of answering should you then direct the question to that person's parent. Simple enough.

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