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Question of the Week - Toddlerese Infiltrates Our Language

I love the way toddlers say words. The Pumpkin had some adorable words, some that lasted for quite a while like "wobberwhy" for butterfly and "ballerlay" for ballet and "laliloli" for raviloli. But the Pumpkin's verbal skills advanced rather quickly, so there wasn't a whole lot of nicknames for things that she couldn't pronounce, other than those I listed.

But the Pookie, well his verbal skills are developing in their own time frame. He's totally in the range of normal for his age, so we're not worried or anything. He just isn't able to pronounce his words clearly and he has come up with toddlerese words and terms for things he either can't or won't say the right way.

For example, he doesn't pronounce the hard "c" sound very well (or the soft "c"/"s" sound either). In fact, he only pronounces the "cah" sound and "sss" sound when he is repeating just that sound back to us. But when it comes to the word "cat"? He either doesn't say it or can't say it. Instead, he calls cats "meows." It may be in part because our cat's name is kind of similar to the word meow, but he does differentiate the word dog, our dog's name and the sounds a dog makes. But for cats? He refers to them all as meows.

So now the rest of the family? We often call cats meows as well! "Look, Pookie! It's a meow!"

So this week's question of the week is:

What nickname or silly word have you adopted into everyday speech that originated from your kid(s)'s dialect of toddlerese?

The other really big one we've totally started using all the time is the Pookie's word for car: go-go. Actually, it started as a referral to cars, but then morphed to include trucks and motorcycles and trains and, well, anything that has wheels really. "Hey look, Pookie! It's a go-go!" and "Here's your (toy) go-go, Pook" have become regular phrases in our house used by me, Londo and the Pumpkin.

We have started to differentiate the types of go-gos and refer to go-go cars, go-go trucks, go-go trains, etc. I am at the point where I forget when I'm talking with other adults and I'll start to refer to a car as a go-go. And the term go-go is now used by my parents and others when talking to the Pookie!

Sometimes, I think the Pookie is just being stubborn about what he wants to call things though. For a while, the Pookie seemed to be confusing cows with elephants. We'd have arguments where I would say, "elephant" and he'd say "cow" and I'd say "elephant" and he'd say "cow" and this would go on for a little while, and I started to suspect that he was either pulling my leg or just being stubborn. Then we started reading some Italian board books starring an elephant named Elmer. So he started calling all elephants "el-moh." And we'd have disagreements about that as well. "Elephant." "Elmoh." "No, elephant." "No, elmoh!" Until I'd give up and say, "Fine it's an elmer elephant." And now? I often just refer to it as an elmer. Sigh...

What about your household? Any special nicknames or words that have infiltrated your language? Any cute toddlerese that you continue to use? Any that you miss? Any from your childhood? Share with me!


caroldes7 said…
my 2 yr old daughter calls her hair barette, a "pretty." i think it started with people saying, "that's so pretty" when she'd wear one, so she thought that is what they were called. now we all call them 'prettys'! i love it!
Becoming Mommy said…
Sasha didn't/doesn't use baby nicknames for things very long. He, like Pookie, was prone to stubbornness. For the longest time all 4-legged mammals were "dogs". You couldn't convince him otherwise. Then for a while all foxes were called by the hound's name (which I totally get. she has that reddish fur, with the white points, pointy ears, slinks about stealing and killing things, etc). "Lellow" is about the only thing that hasn't stopped.
The thing that has stuck has been preschooler grammar. And that's infiltrated how we talk too.
wrnglrjan said…
My kids are 5 and almost 7 and that thing you pack up when you go on a trip is a soup-case.

Also people don't 'stop', they 'ert'. Imagine the sound effect of skidding to a stop and turn it into a word. (E.g.: There was a car coming, so instead of riding my bike into the cul-de-sac, I erted.)

Fish in a can? Tune-da.

I still have a holdover from when my brother was young (he's 33 now): when kids are done with their naps, they want to "gub up".
Anonymous said…
We call barrettes pretties, too. That's what we called them when we were little, and it just stuck. My 21-month-old is ridiculously advanced for verbal language, (she's been speaking in sentences for quite a while,) and says words as correctly as she can. (Last night, as I tried to put her to bed: "No! Only Daddy! I'm coming to you Daddy!") But! She says "polka-nuts" instead of polka-dots and I hope she says it that way forever. She also says "pasha" instead of pasta.
Cloud said…
I was seriously sad when "bobbin" became "bottom". We tried to keep using it, but our daughter corrects us.

Right now, we have "less-trickity" instead of electricity, though, courtesy of my Pumpkin.

Petunia is just starting to add a lot of new words, most of which we still struggle to understand, but I'm looking forward to this phase! It is so darn cute.
Zenmoo said…
My younger brother contributed quite a few to the family that are still in use now - 25+ years later.. My favorites are 'ructions' for instructions (generally used in the phrase 'you've got to read the ructions') and noculows for binoculars.

Moo's contributions so far are 'gink' for drink and 'bic' for biscuit. Judging by the babble (which is constant but at 16 months, mostly unintelligible) she's got a lot more brewing. ..
hush said…
"Hole-me" = "Please hold me." When my kids have fights over who gets to be the one mama holds at any given moment, all we hear are screams of "hole-meeeee!!!"

My 19-month old DD honestly doesn't say much - just loads of incoherent babbling, however she is in a Spanish-speaking care situation 3 days/week, so we're attributing it to bilingualism. "AER" is her word for airplane, so sometimes when we see once we'll point up at the sky and say "AER!" then say "airplane."

I agree with others who are a bit bummed their older ones have dropped the cute Toddlerese. DS used to say "compeeter" but now it is always "computer." And he corrects us should we say otherwise.
Jac. said…
My favorite at the moment is "brunella" for umbrella. Also, DS calls DH's favorite drink (Ribena) Daddy Juice, because DH is always drinking it. Now we all call it Daddy Juice, which is a little creepy because it reminds me of Michael Jackson calling wine "Jesus juice".

Also, DS loves to eat Marmite spread on toast, and for a a long time he called the Little Mermaid, the Little Marmite, which cracks me up.
Anonymous said…
Santa Clause hats are "Ho hos."
Karen said…
We all eat zert after dinner at our house--when my husband or I actually make a sweet treat.
Susan said…
One of my favorite things about toddler-ese is the funny syntax. Like my son used to add -ing to words to make verbs. Which makes total sense, actually, but which resulted in verbs such as "brooming" and "guitaring."

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