The Adventures of Bug and Boo

Wednesday Wishes: Toddler Speak

Rebecca O'LoughlinComment

"Unh. UNH. UNNNNNHHHHHH!!!!!"  <-- This is the communication I get from my little one about 80 times a day. Usually it comes hand-in-hand with some gesturing and pointing, which becomes more flailing and emphatic with each time she has to 'repeat' herself because I am clearly not understanding what she's saying.

Lately I've been wishing for the ability to understand Toddler Speak a bit better. While Bug is capable of saying around 20-odd words now, that is still so little in the grand scheme of how we adults communicate and it is far less than she needs to really tell us what she wants. Things tend to get a little tense when we don't understand...

Photo courtesy of Potty Parents toddler group & Caroline! Frame embellished by Bug & me for Father's Day ;) 

Photo courtesy of Potty Parents toddler group & Caroline! Frame embellished by Bug & me for Father's Day ;) 

The 'conversation' goes as follows. She points at something and says the above...I take a guess based on whatever context I can grab onto ("Do you want a banana?" because she's pointing in the general vicinity) and if I'm correct, I am rewarded with this amazing smile and enthusiastic nodding of her head while she claps and jumps up and down. It's actually thrilling and such a happy moment when mommy gets it right!  However, if I'm incorrect, the process repeats but with ever increasing fervor in her gibberish and pointing. I guess again, scanning around for whatever she could possibly be using as a reference point. And guess again, and again, and again, until she's so frustrated she throws her little body down on the floor, screaming and crying these giant crocodile tears that snake down her chubby cheeks.

I do realise that as a toddler, she has very little capacity for processing her emotions, much less managing them like we would expect from an older child. So I can't really be aggravated at her reaction, but I can feel the frustration emanating from her the whole time, and *I* get frustrated because I can't comprehend what she's trying to tell me - and I would give anything to avoid these tantrum-like moments throughout the day. 

This is the minefield I'm operating in: 
- Mama, Dada, Papa - all generally mean the people, but Baba could be baby or bunny
- Nana - could be grandma, her friend Noah or cousin Nolie, or banana 
- Cheese / Shoes - both sound remarkably similar, so I guess based on which room we're in
- Boo - is a cow 'moo'), Oo Oo - can be owls, dogs, or monkeys, Poo - either pool or poo - ha!
- Row (for row the boat, her fave song) 
No - can mean 'no' but she also just likes to say it and sometimes even means 'yes'....

Those are all words she can say. She can also sign certain words after a class we took when she was younger, like milk, open, and duck - all three turn out very similar in her little hands so I still have to use a bit of context. 

Pretty much the only sounds I can tell for certain are Mama, Dada, Papa, and row - for her favorite song 'Row, row, row your boat'. And that's because we sing and sign it about 20 times a day. ;) There are a few signs that are clear, thankfully: 'where' which is pretty helpful (until I can't tell what she's looking for), hat, and chicken. Although I confused her yesterday at dinner asking if she wanted chicken and she made the sign and looked around for the animal...! 

And while this is a semi serious post, and I do genuinely wish that I could understand my daughter more, I also know that the only way that happens is as she grows and matures in her language ability. Which would mean a bigger kid and less of baby. So maybe I should just enjoy this time where I see her exploring her world and learning how to express herself, and not try and hurry up to the next phase already! 

I'm linking up with the awesome Anne @ Love the Here and Now again for Wednesday Wishes, so click on the link below to join the fun, or just to check out cool new blogs! Have a great day! 

Love the Here and Now