Posts Tagged ‘toddlerspeak

She is on the brink of turning two, actually, so posting this up before then has clawed its way up my list of priorities.

Might as well channel your desire to “help” into doing chores, right? You like to scoop rice into the cooker, and you help me with laundry by handing me items as I hang them up to dry. (Still waiting on a dryer, landlords!) By mid-January you were able to identify which clothes belong to mama, which to daddy, and which to “Ashen!” Because that’s how you pronounce your name now.

Three more teeth popped out last month, bringing your total to … eleven. (You have fewer teeth than babies a year your junior!) I read an article several weeks ago about how teething probably doesn’t hurt, and while I understand teething to be a sacred scapegoat for infant fussiness, based solely on my experience with you I can’t disagree.

You’ve started stringing words together in earnest. “No more fig.” “Watch funnybear please, French one.” And the dreaded request demand, “[Want to] hold the iPod! Hold it!”

Then there are the more classic toddlerspeak ones, my recurring favourites being “No this!” and “That one this!” (Translation: this one.)

The concept of opposites – up and down, happy and sad – came easily to you. Often, when you request some tidbit, you specify the desired size as well. You may reject it altogether if we get this part wrong.

Now you want me to point at the text while reading.

You still like playing with decks of cards. And now, not only do you stack them in alignment, you’re particular about facing them all right-side-up.

Once I gave you a piece of pancake (leftovers from breakfast) to snack on as you played. Later, I discovered bits of that pancake in the change drawer of your toy cash register … torn oh so neatly into a dozen niblet-sized morsels. Were you storing it for an impending famine?


You’ve adjusted beautifully to our new place, even though it’s a dramatic downsize. We still managed to play a hysterical three-person game of hide-and-seek the other evening, though. Your first!

The nearest library is only a few blocks away (as opposed to thirteen, before) and we’ve definitely been taking advantage of that! Our current haul has been a major hit. Not only do you enjoy repeated back-to-back readings, you request specific books by name … not always by their official titles, though. For instance, Al Perkins’ Dr. Seuss-esque Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb features a refrain that goes, “Dum ditty dum ditty dum dum dum.” You call this book “beer bum.”

Addressing the dearth of female drummers.

Addressing the dearth of female drummers.

You do this with songs, too, and usually have strong opinions about which one you want to hear. The wrong tune is sure to be emphatically rejected. And your pitch seems pretty good so far; by this I am inordinately pleased.

You pronounce f as w: phone is wone, finished is winished, flower is vwower. Tofu is wohwu. Pillow, for some reason, is babu. Toddlerspeak: it’s the best. (I can’t wait till grammatical gymnastics kick in.)

If out of nowhere you start shrieking, chances are you’re playing with a collection of homogeneous items – like a deck of cards – and can’t get them into perfect alignment. Or perhaps you’re trying to screw a lid on but it happens to be crooked. I’m sorry. You inherited this crazy directly from me.

You’re also particular about cupboard doors being closed, and will promptly shut them after us if we leave them ajar (intentionally or otherwise). You like wiping down your own highchair tray. You’ll bring me stray hairs and fluff you find on the floor. “[Throw] away!” you say expectantly.



Once you dropped a woodbug into my palm. It was alive. That was not a good morning for me.

Nor for you, because you streaked into the hallway ahead of me and burned your hand on the nightlight daddy forgot to remove from its socket when he left for work. “Hot!” you wailed tearfully. Poor thing, but you know not to touch it now.

“Want one?” you’ll ask with excruciating sweetness, offering your cup of grapes or pomegranate or goldfish crackers. Feeding us is more fun than feeding yourself, apparently. The generosity dissipates, however, when it’s an exciting new treat … like pocky. (Thanks, mom, for plying her with junk food behind our backs.) In fact, you may offer up a taste as usual, only to snatch it away at the last minute, popping it smugly into your own mouth. I probably find this deviousness more hilarious than I should.



So I’ve managed to keep you in your highchair for meals, but it’s a lost cause to keep you from concocting exotic stews with your food. First you eat, then you ask for a cup of water or soup or milk, and inevitably the liquid ends up in your bowl. Next you start pouring the transmogrified contents back and forth between bowl and cup. The best part is, you still mostly finish everything on your tray. Umm, ew? But who am I to dampen your culinary enthusiasm?

You fall asleep fairly readily for naps, but tend to wake up cranky. You fight fight fight sleep at bedtime, but wake up in the mornings cheerful and chipper as can be.

Dear Ashelyn,

Almost two weeks ago you turned eighteen months, but I suspect you believe you’re at least three. If you had your way, you’d sit at table with us on a regular chair, sans bib because bibs are for babies, and drink from a mug the size of your head because the bigger, the better.

Old enough to handle grocery shopping.

Old enough to handle grocery shopping.

If you had your way, music – either live or recorded – would be playing all the time. Every moment. Sometimes it’s the first word you blearily utter upon waking from a nap: “Woo-sik?” When we sneakily turn the sound off, thinking you’re distracted with another activity, you notice.

If you had your way, it wouldn’t be my iPod touch, it’d be yours. And locked doesn’t satisfy anymore; you want it, as you say, “on,” so you can thumb through the apps and control which songs play. This has been the case ever since you accidentally found Angry Birds, which now trumps “butterball” as your cutest phrase. (“ANGRYBUHD!”) You also managed to clear the first level of Cut the Rope with a perfect three stars …

And then she's like, Mama! My fingers are dirty, wipe them!

And then she’s like, Mama! My fingers are dirty, wipe them!

You’re particular about details and compulsively disassemble things into their smallest units. Perhaps the best illustration of this is the way you eat blackberries: drupelet by drupelet, picking each one off individually.

In the last month or so you’ve doubled your vocabulary. After we crossed the hundred-word mark I gave up keeping track, so it’s back to boring, mundane things like grocery lists and to-dos for the whiteboard in our kitchen.

So why, if you can say thank you and quinoa, does most frequent usage go to – wait for it – no?

I suppose it’s understandable, considering the versatility of the word. You began with “no-no,” as in that is not allowed, but there’s also “no?!” for no more and “nooo” for oh no! Now, enter the inevitable clash-of-wills “niuu!” You’re lucky you’re cute.


Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

Clearly those synapses are forming and firing, and the wonder of it takes my breath away. Like the time you pointed to the fire hydrant on the corner and declared, “Water!” And I was mystified, because how on earth do you know water comes out of a fire hydrant? Until I remembered: two weeks before, we’d taken you to a water park in Richmond, and aha! Spraying hydrants!

You’re a marvellous balance of bold curiosity and common-sense caution, eager but never reckless. You climb and jump and run, but readily sidestep obstacles and reach for a helping hand. You sidle up to dogs but are slow to touch them, preferring instead to crouch in front and peer into their faces. We’ve never babyproofed anything, yet rarely do you acquire more than the most minor of injuries.

It was what I wondered about most while you were baking – your personality. What a joy to witness it unfold.



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