Tuesday, May 17, 2011

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!