See, you communicate with a baby in plain English, and the baby stares back at you as though you've lost your mind. If you repeat what you've said enough times, a baby may grunt or blather some nonsense back at you, but you won't understand a word of it. And I'm beginning to suspect that the baby has no idea what she's saying either.
It's baby bullshit is what it is.
Despite the futility of all this, sometimes it's necessary to try and communicate with a baby.
For instance, my particular baby is fond of electricity. It is necessary for me to communicate that electricity can be bad for the baby. Babies tend to have soft wet mouths and they seem to enjoy putting things in those mouths at the approximate speed of lightening.
This kind of adult-to-baby dialogue occurs somewhat regularly in my house:
Baby: Grabs cell phone charging cord and attempts to insert plug-in end in soft, wet, baby mouth. (Tone: None. Body Language: Relaxed. Facial Expression: Innocent.)
Me: "UH! UH! UH! UH! UH!" (Tone: Alarmed. Body language: Running at high speed towards baby with hand outstretched. Facial Expression: Animated. )
Baby: Puts electrical charging cord in mouth.
Me: "NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!" (Tone: Disapproving. Body Language: Pulling charging cord out of soft wet baby mouth and shaking finger at baby. Facial Expression: Stern.)
Baby: "AHGH AHGH AHGH AHGH!" (Tone: Growly baby voice. Body Language: Relaxed. Facial expression: Deadpan.)
What we have here is a failure to communicate. It's like a grand mal seizure of a failure to communicate. A trifecta of communication breakdown. This baby comprehends none of my cues. My words are obviously meaningless to her, as she hasn't managed to pick up English even after a full year of study. Which is weird, because I totally rocked French in high school and that's way harder than English.
Baby also seems to not comprehend basic body language cues. I mean, most of us don't have to read a book on body language to understand finger waving means disapproval. I haven't even busted out my "Talk to the Hand" or the "Oh No You Didn't, Three Circles and a Snap" moves on her. If she can't pick up on this basic stuff, how on earth is she ever going to understand jazz hands?
Lastly, baby doesn't seem to register facial expressions. I read that the ability to recognize other people's facial expressions is how we develop empathy. (Okay, I actually read that in an article about Botox®, but you get my point.)
So I'm mildly concerned that my baby has no concern for her fellow man. I'll watch her for signs of killing insects and dissecting the smaller mammals. But I'm pretty sure if she could get her hands on them, she'd put them in her mouth.
Not very empathetic, baby.
I'm hoping that since she's beginning her second year of English, she'll start picking up more subtleties of the language. I was also thinking of producing my own line of children's videos that will make those Baby Einstein DVDs seem like child's play. Maybe I'll call my series "Baby Buddha" and I'll teach babies about reading facial expressions and body language.
I think it would be nice if babies could develop a greater sensitivity for their parents' feelings. It's really not nice to give your caretakers repeated heart attacks over your fondness for electricity.
I mean, come on. This is just basic stuff, people.