Friday, January 4, 2019

Doggie baby talk

You read that correctly. This post is going to be about talking baby talk (or should that be babytalk?) to dogs. Maybe people also do it to cats and parakeets and iguanas and ferrets and pythons and other critters, but I wouldn't know as I don't have any of those. Feel free to think of species of choice as we continue.

I catch myself talking baby talk to Abby, and the question is "Why?"

I don't know. It just seems like the natural thing to do to say "Her idda good girl" and sometimes even "Him idda good girl" in case she has gender identity issues.

We don't go to the bathroom, we "Doe tooda baffoom."

And when she gets there, which means anywhere out of doors, she doesn't defecate or urinate or their four-letter Anglo-Saxon counterparts, she "goes potty", which consists of making "poo-poo" and "pee-pee".

When she has completed her toilet, we "go back in see Mama".

I notice that I'm beginning to put ending quotation marks inside the period, British-style, instead of outside the period, American-style. It seems more correct somehow, except of course to magazine editors and teachers of English, make that American English. But that is a topic for another day.

I give Abby "bekfiss” in the morning and "din-din" in the afternoon. Some people make up new words entirely. Our niece Rhonda who died in September always asked her dog, Simone, if she wanted "oom-na". Somehow, Simone knew exactly what Rhonda meant.

Simone is a rather large dog, too, so the phenomenon doesn't apply just to small dogs.

Abby doesn't get a drink of water, she gets a "dinky wawa".

We don’t speak that way to our human friends. We say things like “Nigel, old chap, would you like something to drink?” or “Margaret, dear, may I get you a beverage?” —- we would never offer either of them a dinky wawa.

Sometimes I find myself singing songs to Abby as we make our rounds. "Mairzy Doats" and "Nothing Could Be Finer Than To Be In Carolina In The Morning" are special favorites/favourites.

Abby wags her tail, but sometimes she looks at me like I am crazy.

Having a pet is rather like having a child. Warm-blooded pets, I mean. Mammals. I don't know whether the same can be said for tarantulas and turtles. Maybe some of you can enlighten me.

Mrs. RWP told me once that she learned in her psychiatric training that there is a fine line between sanity and insanity that people cross back and forth over all the time, every day, and it's not how much time a person spends on either side of the hair-fine line that matters, it's where one winds up at the end of the day.

I often wind up talking to you.

Make of that what you will.

Before you go, listen to Patsy Cline singing "Crazy" (2:37) from 1961.


  1. I didn't even use baby talk with my babies. They may as well learn the correct way to say things from the beginning.

    1. Emma, neither did we! Baby talk in our house has always been reserved for non-human members of the household. Upon examining my utterances more closely, I see that my particular flavor of baby talk uses objective case (her, him) where nominative case (she, he) is clearly called for. I do wish I could drill down into my mental processes.

  2. I don't use baby talk with the cat(s). Mind you, I did pull myself up when I found myself attempting to reason with a cat about whether it really needed the treat food it was demanding.

    1. Sue, someone once said that humans and animals gave at each other across a great gulf of mutual incomprehensibility. I think, despite our best efforts, it is true.

  3. I don't have a pet of any sort so I can't tell you how I would talk to it. Like Emma, though, I never talked to my children or talk to my grandchild using baby talk. I would automatically have extrapolated that reasoning to talking to a dog but, obviously, it does not follow.

    1. Graham, I didn't talk baby talk with our children either. Just with the pets. Can't explain it.