Excuse me while I indulge in a post about the joys of parenting a toddler.  Sometimes I need to explicitly remind myself about about the joys as the frustrations can seem to dominate – you know, the two year old tantrums, the attempts to reason and the complete disregard for any disciplining strategies we might conceive of.  Today, as I sit outside in the sun watching Miss Two build sand castles in the sandpit, I’d like to share with you all some of the Toddlerese (or toddler speak) commonly heard in our house.  Listening as her language skills develop has quite possibly been the most surprising, funny and heart warming aspect of parenthood so far.

In the early days when she was just starting to pick up language one of the first words she said was ‘uppers’, which as it turned out referred to stars.  This came from the song Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, with the line ‘Up above the world so high’ henceforth stars were known as uppers.  Having an eighteen month old talking about uppers took a little explaining at times, thankfully we didn’t have any downers.

Twelve months on from these first words, thousands it seems have followed and now flow in a continuous stream from morning til night,  though there are a few idiosyncrasies that remain in her language.  She can’t as yet properly pronounce the letters L or Z, substituting instead the letter Y in these words.  So ‘Lie down with me’ becomes ‘Yi down with me’, and ‘Zip me up’ becomes ‘Yip me up’.  She is also yet to master two consonants at the start of words, so spoon is poon, green is geen and my personal favourite, gloves becomes gubs.  This is now second nature to me and I can pretty much always decipher what she is trying to say.  For others however it appears like a foreign language for which I am the interpreter – and boy does she let you know if you’ve got it wrong!

Now at nearly two and a half she has well and truly discovered the art of conversation, talking in full sentences and asking endless questions.  Her most well used phrase at the moment is ‘Watcha doing Mum?, followed thirty seconds later by ‘Watcha doing now Mum?’  And when she’s not getting as much attention as she would like then she has a tried and true method of returning to the centre of everyone’s world.  It goes as follows:
Miss Two: MUM!
Me: Yes Miss Two, what is it?
Miss Two: I saw/heard something
Me: What did you see/hear?
Miss Two: A crocodile
Me: Where did you see a crocodile?
Miss Two: In the garden
Me: What was the crocodile doing in the garden?
Miss Two: Brushing his teeth
Me: That’s a good crocodile, did he have a lot of teeth to brush?
Miss Two: Yes, and he was wearing pink pajamas with stars on them.
Me: Wow that’s a pretty special crocodile then.

The latest fascination with the world is the distinction between boys and girls, though she is yet to bring up the anatomical distinction but I have a feeling it’s only a matter of time.  Much of our days is taken up with listing all the people, animals and toys we have or know and assigning each to either the male or female sex as she asks ‘Her a girl? or ‘Her a boy’ – still some work to do on the correct use of pronouns.  She informs me each morning that Teddy is a girl and blanket is a boy (her two sleeping/comfort companions).  We’re not sure where or when these two precious items became girl and boy, but she has been steadfastly consistent and insistent on the matter and who are we to argue!

Not long ago as we watched Playschool one morning she was introduced to Knock Knock jokes.  She thought they were hilarious and so I decided to try and teach her some that she could impress her father with when he returned from work.  The conversation went like this:
Me: Knock knock
Miss Two: Who’s there? (so far, so good)
Me: Banana
Miss Two: Come in Banana
Me: No you say ‘Banana who’
Miss Two: Come in Banana
Me: Okay you start this time, you say ‘Knock knock’
Miss Two: Knock, knock, who’s there?
Me: No I say ‘who’s there’
Miss Two: Come in Banana
Okay, perhaps she’s still a little too young to grasp the complex world of knock knock jokes.

And as I sign off after this tiny glimpse into the mind of the child, still with my head full of cotton wool but over the worst of it, Miss Two asks me for the hundredth time today “You feeling better now Mum? Oh no still sick, poor Mum”.

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3 Responses to Toddlerese

  1. Liz says:

    I find it interesting how much kids seem to want to assign gender to things – I can’t help wondering if this has always been the case or a product of a world in which its almost impossible to avoid gender demarcations in everything from toys, to clothes, to cosmetics and so on. My five year old is really interested in what boys and girls ‘should’ be doing and it seems to be one of the more constant themes of growing up.

  2. Barbara Good says:

    I wonder about this too Liz. I try to be a gender neutral as possible around the girls – I especially make Mr Good do housework in front of them so they don’t grow up thinking only women clean and cook. My attitude is that I’m happy for them to choose what they like in terms of toys, stories, etc as long as it’s not pushed on them because they are girls. We don’t look at toy catalogues or go into toy shops with them because they are so gender driven. Instead we use the library, the toy library and playgroup toys to determine what she’s interested in. So far Miss Two has gone through a pirate, fairy and now a cowboy phase. She loves equally playing in the sandpit and playing with dolls etc so I don’t think she yet has that idea that girls are supposed to some things and boys other things – though I’m sure it will come. She does definitely need to know whether someone or something is a girl or a boy though.

  3. Alison says:

    Knock knock.

    (tee hee!)

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