I think there are studies suggesting little girls are generally more articulate than little boys. I can’t verify the existence of these studies because thoroughly researched facts have no place in this blog. If indeed such studies exist, I’m inclined to believe them. I don’t have any experience raising girls, but there are recurring instances when the average squirrel is more articulate than my boys. I’m guessing girls are, on balance, more articulate than squirrels. Ergo . . .
I think the preceding paragraph is a syllogism or something. It’s seems like pretty air-tight logic.
My boys may get some of their articulation resistance from their father. When I am particularly tired, I tend to grunt answers to questions. At a quarter to midnight, when I am struggling against all odds to procure some beauty sleep, and my wife rolls toward me to ask, “Do you want to have some pillow talk?” my response sounds something like, “Hrrrnn.” In my defense, “pillow talk” is not a euphemism for anything more exciting than a meandering conversation in the dark. “Hrrrnn” is a generally accepted abbreviation for, “No thank you, Dearest Love. As much as I treasure the sound of your voice, my endless days of being abused by employers and children demand sleep.”
My boys are grunters from top to bottom. Big Brother’s language exemplifies the period when cave people first domesticated wolves. It consists of a combination of grunts and whines, all used to voice displeasure at parental authority:
PARENT: “Get ready for bed.”
BOY: “Hnnn, urrrl!”
PARENT: “It’s time to get up for school.”
BOY: “Urmpf, ouwnnn!”
I understand his need to develop a good grunt; it may shield him from unsolicited conversation after he gets married. On the other hand, he’ll likely remain a bachelor if he’s forever uncorking a bottle of whine.
Buster grunts in accusation. Ask him why he’s crying and he will grunt through his tears, pointing a skinny finger at one of his brothers. This is not helpful; we already assumed there’s a brother at fault. To get useful information, we have to ask him where it hurts. If he points out a spot on his body, it indicates an actionable offense like punching or kicking. If he merely grunts again, we know somebody claimed a toy before he did, and that’s the kind of conflict they can grunt out on their own.
Big Man knows some words, but the ol’ grunt-n-point is this cavetoddler’s preferred language. There are many things he needs in his daily life, objects ranging from the dangerous to the sticky, and he will gladly grunt his desires as he points the way to necessary things. Some things are up high, where toddlers can’t reach. The more out-of-reach an object, the more urgently he needs it, and the higher-pitched his grunts become.
I think my boys and I do cavemen proud. Cavewomen might roll their eyes at us, but that just proves how little some people have evolved.