Thursday, May 31, 2012

Can you speak Toddler?

*Disclaimer: I do not claim to be, or even pretend to be a linguist!*

When you become a Mom, being bilingual is an extremely helpful, if not an absolutely necessary skill to have.

I'm sure some of you may be thinking "What?????"...but bear with me! When a baby is born, you must speak your native language, which is of course, a given. You'll need a way to communicate with other adults. Makes sense, right? But you'll also need to speak Baby.

Babies cry. A lot. But each cry may mean a different thing. One cry may mean "I'm hungry!" another may mean "HEY MOM! MY DIAPER'S FULL AGAIN!" I have to admit, when Paige was a baby, I could not tell which cry was which; I was often confused and it always took me awhile to figure out what she wanted. Now Pete on the other hand, knew which cry was which, and that meant he'd always get her calmer quicker than I wonder she favors him! I was able to figure out the boys' cries easily (while Pete wasn't), which made the baby stage much easier.

Eventually your baby will become a toddler, and you'll need to refine your Baby language skills in order to speak and understand Toddler. Now Toddler is a much harder language to speak; instead of a few different variables, you have hundreds of things to choose from when they are trying to communicate their needs to you.

An example:

When Paige was a toddler, we were playing Veggie Tales Go Fish. She'd ask for Larry, or Bob, or even Laura (her favorite, cause she's a girl). One particular round was extremely difficult for us -

Paige - "Momma, do you have a matzo ball?"
Me - *thinking how in the world does she know what a matzo ball is???* "Paigey, just ask me what's on your card."
Paige - "Oh-tay. Do you have a matzo ball?"
Me - "I don't know what that is. Do you have Larry?"
Paige - "No. No Lawee. No Bob. A matzo ball."
Me - "Can you show me your card?"
Paige - "NO."
Me - "Is it Laura or Jerry?"
Paige - *frustrated* "NO! A MATZO BALL!"
Me - "Paigey, just show me your card. Mommy doesn't understand."
Paige, showing me her card - "See? A matzo ball!"

Her card had Archibald the Asparagus on it. A matzo ball = Archibald.

Another story:

Eating dinner one night, Paige wouldn't eat. All she wanted was a hankabooger. Pete and I look at each other in confusion. A hankabooger? We asked if she wanted her hot dog, and she was just repeating "hankabooger" over and over again. Eventually we figured out that hankabooger does in fact mean hamburger!

*Side note: One of Pete's favorite quotes from our children was from Paige; one night she spilled her milk all over her plate and hamburger, and she said "Shoot. My hankabooger's wet."

Yet another story:

Last year, we went to the Rochester Museum and Science Center to see the dinosaur exhibit. Nate LOOOVES dinosaurs! While walking around, Ryan would keep going "Seesaw! Hi seesaw! Seesaw! Seesaw!" We had no clue what he was talking about until he picked up a stuffed dinosaur and said "Seesaw! RAAAWR! Seesaw!"

Seesaw = Dinosaur. We bought him a stuffed dinosaur of his own in the gift shop, and to this day we still call him Seesaw :)

So why am I writing about this today? Even though I'm on toddler #3 and speaking Toddler is easier with each child, my skills are far from perfect. Here's the conversation between me and Ryan, who just used the potty:

Me - "Great job, buddy!"
Ry - "Bubble prints?"
Me - "Bubble prints?"
Ry - "No no no. Bubble prints?"
Me *confused* "Bubbles? Did you make bubbles in the potty?"
Ry - *holds up 1 finger* "One. Bubble prints!"
Me - "One ball?"
Ry - "Yeah! One....bawww.....pease!"

Ryan gets a Whopper everytime he pees on the potty. Apparently he forgot how to say "one baww pease" and instead condensed it down to "bubble prints".

Kids keep me on my toes!!!

Have your kids ever used other words for what they're trying to say? Do share!


  1. I remember a certain little girl, who was about 26 months old, who couldn't say the word "bandage". I'd cut my hand badly on a glass that broke while I was washing dishes and had to go to the ER for stitches. Of course, it ended up wrapped in gauze, and her daddy and I referred to it as a bandage (as in "Can you help me change my bandage, please?"). This little redhead :) invented the word "bock", and to this day her dad and I refer to my scar as the "bock".

    Three guesses as to who that little redheaded girl was! :)

  2. Lol! Young kids are so hilarious! One of my favorites is hearing them try to sing hymns where they have no possible clue as to what the words are. A recent one was Andrew, who is no longer a toddler. He said, "At the cross, at the cross where I first dynamite." It is very good to keep a baby book. :o)

  3. Snrkle ... That took us a while to figure out that on the first day of kindergarten the kids all learned to sit in the "snrkle." To this day we refer to a "circle" as the "snrkle

    Sloket ... That is the compartment in the door where you can store stuff. Maps, bottles of water etc. So every time we want something put in this space we refer to it as the "slolet".

    My daughter is 35 now ... still makes us laughs. :)