Originally Posted March 7, 2010.
SpellTalk (n): A language that parents use to hide the most important parts of conversations from their kids. Unfortunately, kids eventually learn this language so that they can spy on their parents, so parents must find a new and original way to secretively communicate.
When do you use SpellTalk?
1. When you’re talking about something fun that is potentially in your child’s future and are not quite ready to answer five thousand six hundred and seventy five questions of “Is it time to go to the Zoo yet?!?!”.
Example of the use of SpellTalk in this capacity: “Ali is going to go visit G-R-A-M-A-M-M-A and P-O-P.”
2. When you want to hide your emotions.
Me: “I’m so D-E-P-R-E-S-S-E-D today.”
Chris: “It’s not like she knows what depressed means, dear.”
3. When you want to call each other names.
Chris: (Makes silly joke)
Me: (laughs), “You’re such an I-D-I-O-T.”
Chris: “Well, you’re a D-O-R-K-Y S-P-E-L-L-E-R.”
4. When you want to keep your chocolate all to yourself.
…because you know that you don’t ALWAYS want to share all of your sweets.
However, this can sometimes be more complex than you expect.
Chris: “I got us some more letter-after-O letter-after-O’s for after someone goes to bed!”
Me: “P?? You got some pee pee???”
Chris: “Okay. I got some letter-after-L letter-after-L’s.”
Oooooh. M & M’s.
(That story was from our early days of spell talk. Thank goodness we’ve gotten more proficient with the language since then.)
Complications to SpellTalk:
- Sometimes the items that you need to talk about are not cloakably spellable.Example: The fact that Ali’s best friend’s name is AJ. Not exactly easy to spell subtly.Soluction: When we talk about AJ in SpellTalk, we use a code term – her first name, A-U-D-R-E-Y.Because we’re smart like that.
- When words have two meanings. Yesterday, the following SpellTalk conversation occurred when Chris and I were trying to decide where we could park our car to have a bike ride:Chris: “We could park at the P-A-R-K…”
Me: “You realize that you just said “park” AND spelled “park” in the same sentence?”
Ali: so intently studying her breakfast that she never heard any of the mentions of the park.
(which proves that sometimes spell talk isn’t as necessary as you think it is.)
- It is hard to remember to use your second language of SpellTalk when something happens fast, like needing to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting a car. It takes a lot of practice to remember to say “Oh C-R-A-P!!!!”
- You must become proficient at picking the CRUCIAL word(s) to convert to SpellTalk in any particular sentence. Chris finds this especially complicated at times, which results in some funny sentences such as:Chris: “I think we should go to the Zoo today after B-R-E-A-K-F-A-S-T!”Me: “Um, dear…I don’t think you needed to spell Breakfast.”Chris: “I know, but you know what I mean.”
What to do when your child learns SpellTalk:
I have no idea. The thought scares me to death. Learn Finnish or Swahili maybe?
Okay – so two years later, we are now at the point where Ali is figuring out all of our secrets.