Gift of the gab
We often find ourselves in situations where we look at our children and their behaviours and wonder about the source of what's occurring, what they are saying, what they are doing.
Have they picked it up from us?
Is it something genetic?
Is it a behaviour un or sub-consciously learnt as a result of their being adopted?
My default assumption is often the latter of those options. It's often the most emotionally touching of the possibilities. It makes the best story. Let's be honest, it makes the best copy for this blog.
So, I therefore find myself taking a step back and properly scrutinising what has happened to identify its possible source.
It's a little easier to identify with our son.
He was older when we adopted him. His character was better formed, less open to our influence. He knew his own mind and was unafraid and certainly not reluctant to make his views known.
The initial reports on our son warned of a concern that he was 'speech delayed.'
Our early meetings with him confirmed for us this wasn't the case. He didn't chat loads, but he certainly didn't seem to be reluctant or inhibited in his speech.
I've described how we travelled between our home and his foster home during the latter stages of the week during which we transitioned him from his foster parents care to our own. During those long car journeys we began to realise how advanced his speech really was.
Once he was living with us it was though a flood gate opened. Words tumbled forth. A constant monologue telling us what he was doing and identifying where he was in the house during his waking hours.
Songs, rhymes, both traditional and made up. Imaginative play described out loud. The soundtrack of our lives changed seemingly overnight to the background noise of a little boy's chatter.
We've always been a couple who talk a lot. Before we had the children this would be a running conversation, through the preparation of our meal, over dinner, into the evening. A description of the day's events, sharing the challenges work had brought, talking through the solutions we had found.
After children that conversation continued. Now however it is almost always about the children. To the extent that we pointedly make time once a month to have dinner together to catch up on adult conversation. Even then we more often than not fail, falling back into a conversation that revolves happily around the children once again.
It was therefore unsurprising to either J or I that our son should seeming pick up on our conversations from an early stage. Joining in as we chatted through our day, our son's vocabulary grew quickly.
Soon after his fourth birthday we found ourselves on a country walk. Asking about the ivy growing over a tree we were passing, we described the way by which one plant grew on another.
"Are they symbiotic?" Our four year old little boy asked earnestly.
We were both astounded. I didn't even know what 'symbiotic' meant. Luckily enough J did.
It turned out to be one of the benefits of encouraging our son to watch Octonauts.
Our son learnt early on to put his verbosity to his advantage.
Again, when still only four, he and J were shown around his proposed primary school by the reception teacher.
Reaching the doorway to his new classroom he stood back to allow the teacher to go first. "Please go straight in," she said.
Holding the door open for her, our son smiled sweetly and said, "Oh no, young ladies always go first." J was left speechless while his new teacher visibly melted at the charm he exuded.
It's not always like that though.
If he wants something our son will ask for it.
If the answer is 'no,' or more likely 'later' then he will continue to ask for it. Again. And Again. And Again.
The question may be phrased slightly differently, but the request behind the words remains the same. There's no debate, no rational explanation that will distract our son from the purpose upon which he is set.
I don't witness this in other children and therefore do ascribe this to the past. His need becomes something visceral. That eats away at him. He has set his mind on wanting an outcome and will continue to ask for it, ignoring the rebuttal no matter how vehement it becomes.
We assume this is a learnt behaviour, left over from the past. From a time where he learnt the only way in which he could get what he wanted was to make such a nuisance of himself that his birth parents eventually provided it. But then his 'want' was for items he 'needed'. Food. Drink. Warmth.
Our verbose, chatty, charming, annoying son will, we think, be OK in life. His verbal skills joined with his tenacity and determination, correctly targeted, will provide him to make a success of whatever he choses to do.
What that is, of course, is a different matter entirely!