From The Mouths Of Babes

25 Sep

Kids say the darnedest things… or so we think? When you’re talking about a two and a half year old sometimes you aren’t quite sure exactly what is being conveyed. Most parents and care takers tend to have a magic decoder for most of their young speaker’s uttering but even the most keen ear sometimes have plainly no idea what their child is talking about.
In my case, I generally can understand most things that come out of my daughters mouth, I would say about 80% of the time I can figure it out. Then there are the times that no matter how hard I try and how many guesses I take I simply haven’t the foggiest, like my daughter’s use of a word that sounds a lot like ‘taco-bell-tuba’ (but all as one mushed word). I have tried to guess other words she is trying to say or even understand by using context to no avail. The funny thing is that she is very insistent that I should understand what she’s saying and yet I have no idea, which kind of leads me to feel a little foolish, like despite the fact that she’s the one just learning English- I should know this word.
We almost exclusively speak to our daughter with correct adult terms and words while trying to avoid using baby talk. My husband and I use large adult words around our daughter and she is surprisingly perceptive and understands words and phrases in their contexts and will correctly utilize them at later times. Recently she began asking “what does (fill in the blank) mean?” And that goes for EVERYTHING from “what does ‘go fast’ mean?” (Which she asks us to do regularly in shopping carts) to “what does ‘yucky’ mean?” (even though she has been using that term correctly in context for months). And I have come to realize that it is EXTREMELY difficult to explain what things mean to a two year old because all of the explanations I have for words and terms are more lengthily and complex than the word itself, which clearly is a problem.
We have now entered the time of repeating everything she hears, which for me means a LOT more censoring of what mommy says than I am used to. This is everything from curse words to impolite commentary I wouldn’t want repeated to concerned parties, all the way to even spelling-out words. I was having a ‘over her head’ discussion with my husband while sitting near my daughter who was coloring quietly and not participating in any part of our conversation. I spelled a three letter word in the middle of my sentence and Maddie promptly repeated my three letter spelling. Oy vey is all I can say about that.
In the past couple nights Maddie has woken up in the middle of the night crying. This is not the most uncommon circumstance for a toddler, except that when we go into her room she has been saying things like- (immediately stops crying, looks at my pj shorts) “mommy, you wearing Minnie pants?” (they were pink with white polka dots) “Uh yea, I guess yea”, I responded. “Oh the pants are beautiful” she said and then rolled over and went back to sleep. Last night she woke up calling me at 10 pm and when I came in she is holding up her monkey doll and says, “I have monkey!”- that’s all. I’m thinking, uh what? Why are you awake hours after you went to bed and why are we having this discussion right now?
Whenever I prepare a meal or snack for my daughter and I ask her how it is and she replies “it’s good” I usually reply “oh good, I’m so glad”. One day a couple weeks ago I replied, “that’s good honey”. She stops eating her sandwich and looks at me, “say I’m glad” I clarified what she was saying and she was requesting that I say “oh good, I’m so glad”. I now make sure to avoid omitting the phrase since its clearly required.
Although challenging, watching my daughter’s growth and ability to better express herself has been an awesome and sometimes quite humorous process.

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One Response to “From The Mouths Of Babes”

  1. Kathleen Miller September 25, 2013 at 10:55 am #

    She is so so funny…cracks me up so often during the day with comments that I have to share with Grandpa b/c they are so funny. Definitely the best part of my taking care of her is hearing what comes out of her mouth! 🙂

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