Dear Grandparenting: I need to get something off my chest. We own a time-share place at the beach in Florida for two weeks in March. This year we experimented. We decided to invite our older granddaughters for several days and let them stay in our spare bedrooms.
The two oldest are engaged to be married but not real soon. Both their significant others came down, too, which meant we saw plenty of them. As soon as they entered the picture, my granddaughters started up with this stupid baby talk.
Love bug, love drop, love muffin, snuggle bunny, cuddle bear, cupcake, hot stuff, etc. I am not making this up. That’s what they called each other morning, afternoon and evening.
I have a big problem with nonstop sweet-talk. My grandchildren should keep it to themselves. It’s like when people can’t keep their hands off each other in public. After a couple of hours of “love muffin,” it all starts sounding phony.
My daughter doesn’t talk like this to her husband, and no one else I know in his or her right mind does either. So what’s with my granddaughters? Annoyed, Knoxville, Tennessee
Dear Annoyed: We agree that certain things are not for “public consumption,” as they say nowadays. A steady diet of hot stuff and love drop can quickly grow old, but to be young and in love gives one license to speak a different language.
Take it from experts who study such things: Mushy expressions like “I love the sound of your voice!” are usually authentic when reciprocated by the significant other. When both partners engage in baby talk, it’s the language of love, the real deal.
According to behavioral scientists that study the biochemistry of romantic relationships, the impact of feel-good brain chemicals (such as dopamine and oxytocin) influences the behavior of romantic partners. Your granddaughters are feeling the same unrestrained emotional high as lovers that shout their joy “from the rooftops.”
Here’s the good news. When both partners are baby talking, it indicates that a loving, long-term commitment should continue when your grandchildren return to earth.
Consider this parting thought: With a little luck, those significant others will become the parents of your great-grandchildren. An overdose of sweet talk seems a small price to pay for that blessing.
GRAND REMARK OF THE WEEK
Roy Murphy, of Marshall, Michigan, overheard this exchange between his six-year-old grandson, Thomas, and friend, Patrick.
“If I share my snack with you,” said Thomas, “it means I like you a lot.”
“Or it means it fell on the floor, and you don’t want it anymore,” replied Patrick.
Dee and Tom, married more than 50 years, have eight grandchildren. Together with Key, they welcome questions, suggestions and Grand Remarks of the Week. Send to P.O. Box 27454, Towson, MD, 21285. Call 410-963-4426.