“Screw You!” – A tale of toddler language 

Dear playground swing, I genuinely despise you. I find it an odious bore that my daughter insists on spending an average of 37 minutes in the swing of her choice at each playground visit (almost every day). However I should acknowledge that this time allows me to think about and draft a new blog post whilst simultaneously working out my right arm, thus slowly levelling out the the wobble discrepancy between both arms.

This afternoon we met a friend and his dog and for the second time in as many weeks he commented on how it’s great that I can translate what the kid is saying.



It’s not a question of translating! The kid is now 22 months and I, her doting yet totally unbiased mother, think her grasp of the English language is truly excellent and her diction, flawless. It was perfectly clear that when the dog licked her face the kid said, “Well done! Kiss!” Not entirely sure what she meant by that but hey.

Similarly, this morning, and for the second consecutive week, at ballet whilst all the other children were tip toeing from one end of the room to the other, my kid ran on ahead and yelled “Come On!” to all of her class mates. No one was in any doubt as to what she was saying, it was perfectly clear. Am now wondering if there’s a three strike rule at ballet. Fully expecting the teacher to suggest we find an alternative activity next term. I knew ballet wouldn’t be her thing but she’s too young for football…

The two and three word phrases are really coming along. Her favourite being “no more [fill in the blank].” And then there’s the polite conversations she has with vehicles:

Good morning tractor!

How are you train?

Bye car! See you soon!

She won’t say hi to her grandparents but inanimate, yet moving objects? BFFs…. 

Yesterday, whilst hanging laundry, the kid amused herself by wrapping her rubber owl (bath toy) in a muslin – “nice and warm, ” stuffed it in her potty – “goodnight, sleep tight.” This has obviously just added a hurdle to future potty training. 🙄

Then I got to thinking about the words that were unique to her. “Mook,” “moomik,” “bec.” She can now say, “milk,” “music,” and “grapes” but when she does I obviously, inadvertently, look at her quizzically and she reverts to the former incarnation of the word. Perhaps she thinks I don’t understand so she goes back to what I’m familiar with.

There’s the way she can’t say an L sound so it comes out “yeyow” and the girl in her book is called “Yuyu.”

There’s the way she adds in syllables – “come he-ya” 

And she’s like a sponge. Earlier in the evening the husband was carrying a pile of rubbish and inevitably dropped it before reaching the bin. Without looking up or skipping a beat, the kid pipes up with “bug-gah!” 🤦🏾‍♀️

It absolutely fascinating, watching and listening every day for the new words and phrases she’ll learn. And amazing how our communication has changed over the past two (very short) years.

I was marvelling at this amazing progress the other day. Sitting at the dinner, semi day dreaming whilst we ate pasta together when suddenly the kid shouts:

“Screw you!”

Me: Excuse me?!

She points out the window

Oh….. squirrel…..

Still so much to learn…..

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