In school you’re always being measured: report cards, mid-terms, finals. You always know where you stand. The feedback system is clear, concise, and sometimes cruel.
I remember the day vividly. I was 5 years old, leaving George Washington school, my mom’s hand in mine walking toward our ’75 blue Volvo. She said to me: “Mrs. Falace loves having you in Kindergarten. She says you are smart and nice and social. Maybe too social sometimes. She says you just love to talk to the other kids.”
It seemed like a compliment. But was it a compliment? Wait…maybe it was criticism? I’m 5. I’m fun. I’m perfect….no? I took that feedback very much to heart. So much, in fact, that I went from super-friendly to somewhat shy to totally unsure. And now, at 36, I’m here to tell you that chit chat is not cheap.
From the time my daughter Emma was born, I talked to her, sang to her, and read to her. This little peanut who could only respond with a coo here an there was a captive audience. Not critical of my talk, she was entertained by it. I went on and on, about the weather (“So sunny today!”), about what I was doing (“Mama’s washing the dishes. Mama wishes daddy would do them!”), about everything around us because, let’s face it, Emma needed me to tell her what everything was. Finally my gift of gab became the lesson plan for Emma’s life.
By the time Emma was one-and-a-half she was narrating our lives. She could tell us what color things are, what books she wanted, commented on the weather, and of course knew mama does not like doing the dishes.
So for all you chatterboxes who were told in class to keep it down, today’s lesson is to keep on talking. You will inspire milestones upon milestones of cuteness. Just last night after I hugged Emma she looked me in the eye and said ‘I’m so happy’. Now that’s a passing grade.