Snapshot #17 – What my toddler says vs What my toddler means

Over half term, Monster Major taught me many things. He taught me that he was capable of sweetly waving Husband Dearest off to work, then turning round and being suddenly possessed by the spirit of the Tasmanian Devil. He taught me that it’s a great insult to him to be asked to return the Happy Meal balloon to the memorial he just stole it from (honestly, I’ll share the story one time). He taught me that the two-syllable word ‘Mummy’ can be lengthened to a sound lasting around 9 seconds. He taught me the beginnings of a mystical toddler language – a language where conventional words and meanings aren’t consistent with our publicly accepted language maxims. I will share my findings with you.

Toddler speak: Muuuuuuuuuuuummmmmmmmmmaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyy

Definition: I want you to stop what you are doing right now and look at me unless you are pouring me some milk and then if you stop doing that I will cry but otherwise you must give me your complete and undivided attention RIGHT NOW. But not before I’ve finished saying “Muuuuuuuuuuuummmmmmmmmmaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyy” as I will then take that as you interrupting me and shout “I was just speaking to you!”

Toddler speak: But, but, but, but, but, but…

Definition: I really disagree with what you just asked/told me but I have no reason for it, other than just being an awkward bugger.

Toddler speak: Yes

Definition: Usually no

Toddler speak: Porridge (in response to the breakfast question)

Definition: Cheerios

Toddler speak: Ham (in response to the sandwich question)

Definition: Cheese with the vertical crusts cut off, not on a round plate, with a purple knife, but not the actual purple knife, the knife that is pink but I am going to insist it be called purple. Oh, without the cheese.

Toddler speak: I want to play with that…

Definition: You can’t touch that

Toddler speak: … and that

Definition: Just don’t touch anything

Toddler speak: I want to put my own shoes on

Definition: I want to put my own shoes on and ask you whether they’re on the right feet but do nothing when you say they’re not. Also, continue to ask ‘Is this the left one?’and refuse your offers of help. I will take them off if I decide they’re on the wrong feet then continue to try to force them on the same feet. I will scream if you try to interfere. Then you must emphatically applaud my efforts before agreeing that I can ‘just wear the sodding wellies instead’.

Toddler speak: He hurt me!

Definition: He looked at me.

Toddler speak: I want to play hide and seek

Definition: I’m going to hide behind the chair every time, and every time you must feign looking for me everywhere but behind the chair even though I’m laughing and mostly sticking out from behind the chair. Your surprise at finding me must be as genuine the tenth time as it was the first time.

Toddler speak: I can do it myself

Definition: I can’t do it myself but I’m going to smile at you so earnestly that you’re forced to congratulate me as though I can.

Toddler speak: I can do it myself

Definition: I’m about to take a dump on the floor.

Toddler speak: I can do it myself

Definition: Do it for me NOW.

Toddler speak: Shall we share?

Definition: This one is for me. And this one. This one too. This is mine. This is mine. I’ll have this one. Oh look, aaaalllll gone!

Toddler speak: Na night

Definition: See you in 4 and a half minutes when you return because I’m singing far too loudly.

As you can see, this language is a tough one to master. And just as you get used to the rules and norms, it evolves again and the pink (but purple) knife is again purple, and he actually wants a pink knife, no, the pink knife that is really blue. It is in the Toddler Dictionary that you will never get the true meaning of what they say on your first attempt. My only advice is, if in doubt, go for the Cheerios.

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