Mother (Almost Never) Knows Best: Don't Speak: The Toddler Learns to Talk

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Don't Speak: The Toddler Learns to Talk

My youngest is hitting that "good age", you know the one I mean; when their vocabulary extends beyond "Daddy" (accompanied by a wistful look and a clammy hand round his neck) and "No Mummy!" (two words that are never to be separated, clearly attributing blame for everything from third world poverty to why mud doesn't taste so good.) Now though, we are hearing those words being strung together into coherent sentences, so articulate (by the third attempt and with a firm grasp of the back story) and insightful ("triceratops DOES have a horn, my darling!") that no one can possibly dispute his superior intellect.

High brow conversationalist. 

His new found prowess with the spoken word just seems to have made life that little bit easier for all concerned. I (mostly) understand him and he understands me, despite deliberately choosing to disregard everything I say. He and his sister play so well together (now that he can follow orders and mimic feline behaviour upon demand) that I hope to soon be usurped as the lead in our impromptu (and yet critically acclaimed) household productions. The ability to reason with him is within touching distance (on a good day) and he is turning out to be quite the conversationalist.

They are forming an alliance. 

However, getting to this point (and I suspect moving beyond) has not been without its hurdles. There have been times when his mispronunciations have rendered us utterly bewildered,  convulsing with laughter and, on one occasion, absolutely toe- curlingly mortified when he started screaming "You can't!" at the top of his lungs but misemployed a "u" rather than an "a" in the second word.

Our much less offensive and therefore endearing mispronunciations to date include (but are not limited to) "poop-pets" when describing the toy he had created by donning his socks on his hands during a long car journey, "empehent" for the giant grey creature with tusks and a trunk and "ear-muffins" in reference to his sisters winter headgear. Whilst these examples still make me laugh on the inside I pity the fool who allows their lip curl upwards in his presence lest you forget that "it is NOT FUNNY!"

Just not funny... 

His frustrations do not stop there I am afraid. Should you fail to comprehend the information which he is desperately trying to impart, he will repeat the phrase a maximum of three times before raising his clenched fists, gritting his teeth and making a shrill, blood curdling scream thereby ensuring that you are fully aware that you have displeased him. I once had a rather protracted conversation with him about the number of ways in which I did not resemble the rotund, balding effigy of a medieval heroic figure to which he was directing my gaze whilst declaring "That's you! That's you, Mummy!" It was only upon dodging the flailing limbs and rupturing my left ear drum that I realised he had probably been pointing out a "Statue! Statue Mummy!" I should never have doubted him. Did I tell you that he is really clever?

Hopefully all these things will be in the past now that his vocabulary is expanding at a terrifying rate of knots. The one aspect of the toddler which I hadn't factored in, however, is their rather brutal honesty. My first child left the womb exuding empathy; she would cuddle you if you looked anything less than delighted and when her words arrived they were always thoughtful and considerate. My youngest has little time for that. He frequently keeps me updated on the squishiness of my stomach, the prevalence of my grey hairs and the number of wrinkles that adorn my tired face. 

Brutal honesty

Maybe I won't rush the arrival of the rest of his vocabulary.

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