October 1, 2009

Baby Talk

In this incredibly round and bulging state, I have become a prime target for a kind of advertising I've never noticed before. Suddenly, sophisticated ideas and lovely language have given way to a kind of dribbly baby talk that, I'm guessing, is supposed to connect with my inner Mommy-to-be--plying me with cute alliterations, mono-syllabic tot-speak and line after line of eye-rolling goo-gooness.

When did I turn from consumer into dribbling moron?

I first noticed this while waiting hours for a RhoGam shot (and not, as I've yet to live down, a Rogain shot) at the hospital. I was leafing through a copy of Pregnancy&Newborn, looking for quick snippits of tips and advice and product descriptions to feed my baby-info overload. Yet instead of being spoken to like an adult, I was coddled and rocked with words like din-din, tummy, meat'n'taters, pre-preggo--and, yes, the dreaded Mumsie. A quick look at their website reveals this bit of saccharine insight:

"Will you depend on convenient disposables to cover your babe's tiny tush... ?"

Now, I've never been a fan of cutsiness. I prefer Vonnegut over Harlequin and The Beatles over... well, anything on the charts today. So perhaps that explains the nauseating feeling I get reading what's intended, I suppose, to be a light-hearted conversation about the cutest subject matter around. But such drivel leaves me incredibly annoyed and, worse, wanting to turn to the woman in the waiting room next to me and say "Have you read this dreadful fluff?"

Just what do the briefs for these articles and ads say?

TARGET: Moms to be
AGE: 25-35
TONE: Write like they've lost their minds to hormones and can no longer form complete sentences

Yes, dear baby advertising people, I'm a Mom to be. But right now, I'm at home awaiting B-Day, half bored and terribly restless. Soon it will be all-baby-all-the-time, and I will--no doubt--crave a little adult conversation and intelligent insights and wit and anything else that will reconnect me to the land of the all grown up. Keep your cuteness to a minimum and treat me like the consumer I've always been.

Yes, I'm having a baby.

And yes, my mind is filled with baby stuff.

But, for the love of all things holy, keep the ga-ga for your cartoons and give Mumsie a break.


  1. My wife taught our baby sign language before he could talk. Simple things like "hungry, more, done". I was fascinated to watch this interaction and communication evolve and it made life a bit easier. But when he started actually vocalizing his thoughts, we were pressured to regress into the ga-ga talk by all those around us.

    How would you sign "Do you want your foo-foo or binky to come nappy with you after your num-nums?

  2. Ack! Maybe I'm expecting Bump to recite Shakespeare too soon...?

    It's so odd that magazines and ads aimed at parents have regressed to so much ga-ga talk. Kids' books and shows I get, but parents? Maybe I'd best reserve judgement for when I actually pop...

  3. My wife always says that I was more goo-goo-ga-ga with my infant daughter than I was with my son. (I don't remember it, but it wouldn't surprise me.) But as soon as they could talk, I reverted to adult-speak.

  4. I wonder how we'll talk to Bump--I loathe all that sappy baby-speak, although I find myself changing the intonation in my voice when cooing with babies. I guess we'll see... but lord help me if I catch myself saying "does bumpy-wumpy want nummy bapple-sauce for din-dins"... Gack.

  5. Had taken 2 of my younger brothers to an event years ago like a circus or something. At some point I leaned over and said "now if you have to go pee-pee let me know." The one leaned back and said " Im 15, I can pee-pee on my own now thanks."

    I guess I was lost in the moment and had regressed.

  6. jeaves: That's hilarious! Pfft--it's hard to watch the younger ones grow up, isn't it?

  7. When my daughter was small, maybe 5 or 6, Dr. Tim the dentist baby-talked her in the most annoying sing-song voice. When I walked in, he talked to me the same way...and I never went back. ICK. Good luck to you...we'll be waiting for the good news!!

  8. Ugh! One of my family members baby-talked to the belly this weekend, then baby-talked to everyone else. It took everything in me not to roll my eyes.

    It's so unlike me, but this project is late, late, late! Almost 2 weeks past due. Must take after the other half...