When words mean work…

Parenting a child who is learning to talk is an amazing…and exhausting thing. Jacob will be one and a half in just a couple weeks, and his ever-increasing language skills astound me. Just this weekend, I probably heard a dozen new words from his mouth, including: “let’s go!” when I asked “ready?”, “home” once when we strolled into the driveway after a walk and once more as we were driving down our street after a trip to the grocery store, and then “fart,” which he repeated several times after hearing it from his (eloquent) father.

Of course, I am beaming with pride at my son’s growing vocabulary (well, except for the last addition I mentioned—my husband is beaming at that one.) Still, I also am keenly aware of the implications of Jacob’s ability to put into words his preferences and interests. Though a beautiful thing, as with many other milestones, it comes down to more work for me and my husband. Lately, Jacob’s favorite sentence starter is “I want moh” [more], followed by something that mommy, or daddy, or both of us must do, bring, shake our heads at, or simply ignore. Among the many requests (or demands depending on the day) and expressions in his vocabulary are:

  • “tzhit”: which means “cheese” but sounds identical to the sound effect he makes to imitate Spiderman shooting his web. When we don’t have any cheese or if I want him to eat something else instead, I just say, “That’s right! Get him, Spiderman!”
  • “muhp”: which he has used for months now to mean “up,” as in being lifted up into our arms or up out of a highchair, carseat, or tight spot between furniture where he has gotten himself stuck. “Muhp” now is what we hear when he is hanging from the safety gate blocking the stairwell leading to the second floor of our house. It means that he would like to go upstairs…and that he wants to get there by climbing all by himself. At this point, his motor skills fall behind his physical ambitions. In a typical journey up the steps, he slips several times and misses one or more steps completely. Sometimes, he decides suddenly to turn and go back down the stairs, which is no good…because…well, he doesn’t really know how to do that yet.
  • “bus”: the Wheels on the Bus song—this is the accompaniment to every car ride these days. When the wheels and wipers and horns and drivers and babies on the bus were not enough, donkeys and roosters and motorcycles and snakes came aboard. If this bus existed in real life, its noises would quite possibly be the most annoying cacophony that ever was. I’m not sure how I feel about creating that for my son.
  • “allllllllllll!!!” in his loudest voice as he waves his hand violently: which means he is all done and whatever it is that he is done with must be taken away immediately or he will keep yelling and waving.
  • “binky”: which is the first word out of his mouth when he wakes (still several times) in the middle of the night. If Ms. Binky (she’s female because she replaced my boob when Jacob stopped nursing) is not anywhere obvious, he climbs around the bed and over mommy and daddy, digging through the blankets and pillows until it’s safely back in his mouth. (Yes, we are planning to wean him off this habit at some point…maybe around the same time we actually get him to sleep in his own bed…?)
  • “melmo” [Elmo]: which means one of four songs that Elmo sings and that is available on sesamestreet.org. This is a pain for two reasons: #1 Jacob doesn’t like watching any video unless it’s one of these four songs and #2 because we don’t have a television, the best we can do is play each song one at a time on our laptop, which requires us to come back to the computer and type something new in every two minutes or so when the song is over. It is enough time to use the restroom, however…which is more than we’ve gotten in the past.
  • And two of my new favorites: “poo poo,” which at this point he only says AFTER he has made his diaper deposit and “uh oh,” which he learned recently from a playmate and which he says anytime he trips, drops something, or even sees one of us make a mistake. Both are simply adorable utterances. The increased workload from the latter stems from Jacob’s new liking for throwing both things (toys, food, etc.) and himself on the floor or ground just so he can follow it up with “uh oh.”

So, that’s the latest with us: a toddler full of things to say—not much of a surprise given who his parents are (very talkative people, in case you don’t know us or didn’t notice).  Anyone else have any cute words or phrases that have come out of their little ones recently or in the past?


Posted on October 23, 2011, in Parenting, The Balancing Act and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Our sons have similar tastes! I love that little Elmo! Or the way my little guy says it, “Elbo”. The explosion of language is astounding, isn’t it? You must be so proud of him. In my case, it’s helped to express himself through words instead of biting.

    By the way, did you know that November 4th is Put Down The Pacifier Day? Sesame Street has a video on YouTube with Elmo and a Bye-Bye Binky song. Your son might get into it!

    Also, in order to have a longer bathroom break, you can create a playlist with YouTube, which will automatically play all his favorite Elmo songs one after the other. Just click the button underneath the player, “+ Add to”.

    My favorite words he’s saying is “mama”. We have this game where he points to me and yells out “mama!” and then he points to himself and I say his name.

  2. Hey, Karla! That’s so funny! Jacob just learned “elbow” a couple weeks ago (although he associates it with his wrist more often than his elbow)…but I love the way it sounds when he says it!

    Thanks for the Nov 4 tip…honestly though, as much as I don’t love it, the pacifier is our SAVIOR for getting him to sleep super easy these days. He only gets it at night, and it helps him to fall asleep really quickly….for me, after so many sleepless nights over the past year+, this brings me peace so I can have a little time to myself. We may wait just a bit longer before we give up the nighttime binky. Still, I’ll try to get him into the idea of “Bye-Bye Binky”!

    Thanks so much for the playlist idea. I’m possibly too against television than I should be (I haven’t had cable for most of my adult life!) But, having a few moments of a break from parenting via the internet is salvation some days!

    Yes, “mama” is definitely one of my favorites too! 🙂

  1. Pingback: The Lighter of the Dark Side « On Becoming Mommy

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