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What has talking to your child taught you?

Pregnancy update: Baby G can HEAR already! At this stage of development, the ear bones and nerves are connected, and the little nugget is learning to recognize and respond to sounds. Such as my voice and Mr. G's.

Because I read this in my pregnancy book, I now imagine talking to Baby G all the time. Sometimes I picture Baby G as a toddler and, as I go about my day, I wonder what Baby G would ask me--and what I would say--about everything going on.

Coincidentally, this time also happens to be when I am supposed to be delving back into my manuscript rewrites. I also have one or two smaller writing side projects I want to do.

But it's difficult to start again. I feel confused, uncertain about the direction of my writing and what I want to say, exactly.

Sometimes I imagine explaining what I'm writing to Baby G. Sometimes this helps. Summarizing my ideas in three-year-old language is amazingly clarifying. It forces me to think much deeper about certain subjects than I normally would. Sometimes, it's much harder (yet so much more useful) to state something simply than to give a detailed explanation.

So, parents of children old enough to understand English and actually converse with you: Has explaining something to your child ever given you a deeper insight or forced you to think more consciously about something you've taken for granted?

Do you talk to your kids about your writing in ways they can understand? Does it help you clarify things for yourself? Do their reactions ever make you rethink your direction?

I'm curious... :)


  1. First of all, when you're pregnant, the baby automatically knows your voice, because he/she is always with you. The key is having your husband talk to the belly. My husband Greg did, all the time. When my son was born, he would turn his head towards Greg when he spoke, and Greg's voice would instantly calm him down.

    While my baby is only 20 months old, I'm also a teacher and I work with kids from 5-11. I teach writing four periods a day, and I often do writing prompts with the students. I tell them that if they have to do an assignment, so do I. They critique my writing, and I've gotten quite a few insights. Mainly, when I'm not being clear about something, they point it out and ask questions. That leads me to be more descriptive. They also have completely honest reactions to scenes, and so they're a perfect audience. I think allowing them to critique my writing creates a community of sharing, and they're more open to my critiques of their writing. I do, of course carefully tailor the writing pieces I choose to share, but I've never regretted the choice to share my work.

    My 5th grade writers have brought deep insights to my writing. Like, when I was writing about my teen years, the kids immediately clued in to how I must've been feeling at that age. I think sharing writing (or any part of yourself) with a child builds trust. Plus, kids are just people. . . people who are more likely to be honest about whether they like something or not.

    Sorry for rambling. I just liked the question. Just my two cents. :)

  2. Yep. My eldest is autistic, and autistic children think in pictures, so I have had to really be creative in explaining things to her.

    and your little one can definately hear you,and you will find out that that child will respond to what you said while he/she was in the womb.I played Fleetwood mac to my youngest, holding my belly to the speaker, and she showed an affinity for it specifically early on. NEATO!

  3. Melissa: Those are two valuable cents! What a great opportunity for you as a writer, that you get to run your stuff by the ears of children. That's awesome.

    And my husband talks to our baby every day. :) He puts his face right up to my belly and talks in silly voices. I think this kid is going to adore him.

    RK: That's fascinating! I did a little work with disabled kids (autistic and other conditions) for about a year, and it was so interesting figuring out how to communicate with each one. Quite a mental challenge. It was amazing when I would try really hard to explain something to a child and then get totally PWNed by a Down syndrome kid who would say, "It's like this, teacher," roll his/her eyes at me, and say it clearly. That happened a couple times. Ha.

    I've been selective about my music choices lately. I used to rock out to Rammstein and Gogol Bordello on the daily, but now I've switched to the friendlier sounds of classical music, folk and bluegrass, Spanish language love ballads, and dreamy pop music. I think my baby is going to be a Jaguares and Juanes fan.

  4. I read a while ago that babies should hear 10k spoken words a day, because it's good for their developing cognitive processes. So, narrating your day or reading and discussing your stories with your child could be good for Baby G.

  5. Oh, this is interesting! I've found that I think of things in more simple terms now since I've had my daughter. It has definitely helped me simplify the order of things and even how to write those down. Great observations!

  6. Dominique: Mr. G talks up a storm! That's good to know.

    Michelle: That is also good to know. I like to think my children will be "useful" in many ways in addition to being needy and cute and lovable.

  7. My kids are old enough now that I don't have to simplify things for them, but you're right, I imagine that would be very helpful. Keep talking to Baby G!


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