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…About Understanding Toddler Speak

by The Momma on January 6, 2012

The Daddy:The Kid’s Language: Educational Learning Process or What the What WHAT???

The Momma: I’m sorry, what was that? I don’t think I understand anything anymore that doesn’t have to go through the toddler translator.

D: It’s not always even the words, but the INSISTENCE that he’s communicating and we’re just rudely not acknowledging him.

M: And that SCREAMING IT LOUDER will make us pay attention.

D: Well clearly, we’re not paying attention.

M: Clearly.

M: Half the time, I just feel like I’m throwing darts and hoping they end up somewhere in the general vicinity of what he’s actually talking about. It’s frustrating, for all of us, I’m sure.

D: Well, we all have to learn how to communicate. The frustrating thing is that half the time, his words are crystal clear, so when he does just dump a whole bowl of word salad on the floor, he expects that there should be no problem. I struggle with trying to convey the idea that he should speak more clearly, to slow down and articulate his words more clearly, in a way he can understand. So you know, I end up just saying “What?” a lot.

M: I just go with the idea of trying to say the words and hope he a)tells me when I get the right one and b)learns from my correct usage. Because if he doesn’t know how to say pretzel, he PROBABLY doesn’t understand what enunciate means.

D: Oh that’s what I do. It’s just my natural inclination- to talk to him like an adult or at least one who understands language. We take so much for granted of what can be learned that when he hits us with a child’s roadblock- of not knowing something, it kind of makes my brain go “erm, uh… wha?” Hard to think of a way to say “speak clearly” when the recipient doesn’t understand how to speak clearly.

M: Well, we’ve always talked to him like he’s got a bigger vocabulary than he does. Which I think is good for the whole learning process. We just need his mouth and his brain to catch up.

D: Yeah, I mean, before we know it, his mouth is gonna run faster than his brain for different reasons. But we’ll chalk that up to one of many reasons teenage years are going to be a lot of fun.

M: If not before then!


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

TechyDad January 6, 2012 at 9:50 am

Way before that! I swear my 8 year old has a straight pipeline going from his brain to his mouth. He’ll start a stream-of-consciousness speech that keeps going. Even if he changes rooms, goes to the bathroom, whatever. He just keeps talking as if we’re right there paying attention.

Of course, my parents might say this is payback since I used to do the same thing. Ok, ok. I *still* do it from time [walks out of the room while muttering "to time"].


CuteMonsterDad January 6, 2012 at 8:23 pm

From my own personal experience, I think talking to one’s child from day one as an intelligent being helps immensely. The whole baby talk motif is a recipe for disaster, especially when kids began to repeat what’s being said to them. I wouldn’t sweat the garbled random word uttered by a young child. The facility for language development can be phenomenal to watch if one steps back and views it objectively. The leaps they make within months can be amazing. Have fun. Before you know it they don’t stop talking…ever.

Vincent |


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