Straight Language for the Baby.
“My dear,” said the young father, “there is one request I want to make of you.”
“What is it, dear?”
“I wish, dear, that you wouldn’t talk this baby talk to our child. It’s absurd. The idea of saying ‘kitchey-kitchey-kee” and ‘whose whizzicoons is oo?’ to a human being is little less than barbarous. Don’t let the neighbors do it, either.”
“I’ll try not to, dear,” she answered, patiently. “But it seems to amuse Dorjy so much.”
“Don’t call him ‘Dorjy,’ either. It’s positively idiotic. His name’s George, and there’s no use in starting him out in life with a vocabulary like a Polynesian national hymn.”
“But he’s a little fretful today and wants to be amused.”
“There are rational ways of amusing a child. You can sing to him.”
“I have been singing to him.”
“Well, give him to me and I’ll sing to him awhile.”
She passed the baby over and he proceeded to do his best with the “Toreador’s Song” and the “Bedouin Love Song,” and various other selections. The baby persisted in whimpering. He continued to sing, and presently the little one began to smile. In a little while the little one was fast asleep.
“You have quieted him beautifully,” the mother admitted. “By the way, what was that song you sang over and over again? It is so tuneful and lively.”
“Haven’t you heard that?” he asked in astonishment. “It’s from the latest comic opera, and it’s a corker. The chorus goes:
Toodledy, foodledy, up-idee,
Jimmity, Jammity, jingeree
Biggity, jiggity, rummity-ho !
Blimmity-blam, and away we go.
“I can remember the chorus, but I’m going to buy it and learn the whole thing by heart.”—Tid-Bits.
Locomotive Engineers Journal, Volume 35, 1901
Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: While many Victorian fathers had a fearsome reputation as stern and forbidding; their ineptitude with infants was celebrated in legend and joke: they diapered Baby at the wrong end, tossed Junior up in the air to be impaled on the gas fixture, and in general made a hash of things. Mrs Daffodil recalls local mirth about a gentleman who, on being told to feed the baby from a pre-made bottle of formula when its mother was absent, did not remove the tin-foil seal, leaving the child to suckle in vain, while Father shook the bottle, mystified at its failure to empty. Regrettably, one still sees the same theme of foolish fathers in to-day’s television plays and advertisements.
While the absent-mindedness of the father in this next anecdote, told as a true story, might be attributed to his profession, there were other versions of the story in circulation, suggesting the adage: It’s a wise father who knows his own child:
It was in the country, and there were many children in the family. The youngest was a charming little girl, just beginning to trot about prettily. The father was a professor and the mother was a woman much concerned about domestic affairs. One day, looking out the window, the wife saw her husband coming home. As the baby girl, looked particularly pretty she thought she would give a pleasant surprise to the father. She opened the front door—I may mention that the house was built on a hill—and she sent the little girl toddling down. The mother remained peeping through the curtains to watch the meeting of father and daughter. The baby went moving down like a huge white butterfly, her blue ribbons and muslin dress flapping in the summer breeze; the man came along smiling. The mother expected to see the baby snatched up and carried back in triumph. To her horror, the man, just paused for a moment, patted the baby on the head, and let it continue its somewhat dangerous descent. The mother rushed to the door; the man had reached it at the same moment.
Before his wife in her excitement could utter a world he said: “I have just met the most charming little girl running down the hill. She kept smiling at me in the most delightful fashion.” The wife could only indignantly gasp, “It’s baby!” and go rushing after her treasure…The father only added insult to injury by his explanation: “I thought I recognized her; but I was not sure where I had seen her.” T.P.’s Weekly, Vol. 10, 1907
Mrs Daffodil wishes all of her readers who are indulgent and doting Papas (and who know their children by sight) the happiest of Father’s Days.
Another amusing Father’s Day post: What to Do When Baby Gets a Tooth.
Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes
You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.