Wherein The Toddler Speaks

I may have written in the past about our child’s fun (so far) verbosity. But I can’t help myself from talking about it more. There’s nothing better than hearing things like:

Dat’s a big, black G.

and,

Do you want Yoko Ono

and, if his sandwich is too hot,

Do you wanna warm it down

What else would be the opposite of “warm it up” when you’re two years old?

The “do you want” construct is how he requests things.

Do you want shoes off.

Do you want no potatoes.

Do you want vacuum.

These mean, of course, “Please take off my shoes,” “No potatoes, thank you,” and “You better get out the vacuum right now or I will pitch a fit,” respectively.

Until recently, the toddler’s language skills have helped us avoid lots of standard issue fit-pitching. At least I attribute some of his calm to those skills. He didn’t have to cry or flail, because he could just talk about what he wanted. Now, as his world gets bigger, his desires more toddlery, we do run into some pretty amazing kabuki faces. Last night, for example, he was dramatically dismayed to learn, “Do you want Sunbutter sandwich,” did not result in a change on the dinner menu.

We think about words in this house. It’s easier to do when your kid starts repeating everything you say pretty early on. We try to keep adult conversations adult-only. And I don’t mean obscenities (it’s a true miracle he’s only echoed two of them). I’m talking adult things like work stress, or hideous current events, or gossip.

I enjoy the consciousness this speaking child brings to our home in this way. I used to have to think about language on my own accord. My second year in Hungary, good Christian that I am, I gave up sweets and swearing for Lent. The sweets “sacrifice” is a common one. The swearing was to bring more consciousness into my days. I was swearing in two languages pretty proficiently. While I truly relish well-placed foul language, I was completely out of control of my mouth at that time.

Now I have an extra reason to be in control of my mouth. ‘Cuz the nonsense I spout will come right back at me. Out of the mouths of babes.

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7 Responses to Wherein The Toddler Speaks

  1. Kitty says:

    Yessss! Our toddler has started pitching fits too, despite the fact that she can express herself pretty well now (or because of it? she can no longer excuse our lack of giving her what she wants as incomprehension?). The rage that bursts out is always a little surprising to me.

    I have not been too great at keeping current events-related conversation out of her hearing. I found myself saying the word “killed” in front of her and then wondered if it mattered — does she have any understanding of the word/concept? even if she doesn’t, will she sense the trauma associated with what I’m saying? am I supposed to hide the world’s ugliness from her for a little longer?

    • alanajoyski says:

      Oy – the tone of what you’re saying! We could drive ourselves crazy, eh?

      I’m pretty sure K is safe with you two. You’ve got good hearts and mouths overall, and that’s what comes through.

      I can’t imagine your child raging. Isn’t that funny?

  2. Mom says:

    It is surprising that you are thinking about this concept after growing up with your father. However, I am glad that you are thoughtful. Little ones are definitely effected by words and tone.

  3. Catherine says:

    Wow. I have a little too much to say about this to post what I really want to say. Joy to you in the toddler-speak, woe for the crying that comes from unreasonable requests not met. Reason is acquired in increments, and so the tears decrease in increments as well. Note that on your end they will increase first, as desires outpace reason for the next few years.

  4. Sarah T says:

    The problem with obscenities is they are so easy and satisfying in the mouth/to the ear to repeat. No matter what language. I remember the year (in Hungary) I gave up complaining for Lent. Suddenly everything was rosier. Amazing how habit, forced or not, trumps mood.

    Also, I love this child so much.

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