When Thing 1 was about a year old, and at her well-baby check-up, her pediatrician heard her babbling and chatting away (her spoken vocabulary at 18 months was well over 100 words), and said to me, "I can tell you talk to your baby."
"Of course. Aren't you...supposed to?"
As my kids got older, I noticed a very large difference between them and the other kids on the block. While my two would talk to anyone and everyone, their little friends...didn't. In fact, it was almost creepy to be surrounded by children who didn't talk. (Of course, they could talk--they just didn't talk to anyone outside the family.) I even once saw a four-year-old cry without making a sound. My heart broke that a kid that young was too inhibited to cry aloud.
My two were little chatterboxes with everyone, from their peers to our Shabbos guests, most of whom are 60-something bachelors. It was almost a relief to take my kids to homeschool get-togethers because I was once again around exuberant, chatty kids.
And then, my friend AriSparkles put it into perspective. She told me that she was surprised that I allowed Thing 2 to talk away when there were other adults present. (At three, Thing 2 is constantly talking and asking questions. She wants to be heard, to the point where she'll cover your mouth and say "Be quiet!" when she wants to be heard.) Apparently, there are families that take "children should be seen and not heard" to an extreme.
To be honest, this scares me. I am raising two girls who I hope will grow into strong, independent women. I want them to express themselves. I want them to inquire about the world around them. I want them to speak up when something is wrong. I want them to feel like they are part of the household and the conversation. Of course, I want them to learn the rules of polite society. I want them to learn to wait their turn, to say "please," "thank you," and "excuse me." I want them not to talk over people. But I am not raising silent children.