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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Toddler Talk With a Baby Whisperer

Previously published a couple of years ago on (and removed from) Persona Paper.

Understanding our little ones sometimes takes a little imagination. When my kids were young, they didn’t always pronounce their words correctly, so I had to take the words in context to figure out their meanings. My youngest daughter carried around a cloth diaper, but couldn’t pronounce the word, “diaper,” for instance, but when she asked for a “yepper,” I knew what she meant. 

However, I had to leave a dictionary for my mom once:

Yepper – Diaper
Sow – Pacifier
Yoke – Milk
Yo Yoke – More milk.

Yes, I am the baby whisperer, who can figure out what children are saying. I just have to pay close attention to what’s going on around them. One little girl, who came to my house for the first time while I provided daycare, said something that left me a little stumped – “Mahtimihaab?” 

With no context on which to base the comment, and with no personal experience with her until that day, I finally said, “Show me.” (Those two little words have helped me to understand the ramblings of babies and toddlers for decades, by the way.) Kayla grabbed my hand and brought me to her purse. What was it about the word, “purse” that sounded similar to mahtimihaab? I wondered. Nothing. But then she held up her purse and said, “Teemihaab,” and I figured it out! Before you read the next sentence, can you figure out what that word means? 

Well, if you said that Mahtimihaab meant, “Want to see what I have?” you were right. And if you figured out that, “Temihaab,” meant, “See what I have?” you just might be a baby whisperer too.

OK, here’s another one. Yesterday, when I was playing Barbies with my 2-year-old granddaughter while her brother and sister played something else, she pulled from her box of Barbies and Barbie doll clothing, a barrette that still had a clump of Barbie hair stuck to it.

After this brief tutorial on how to understand toddler talk, I’ll bet I won’t even have to tell you the meaning of the word she spoke. Can you figure out what, “Assasussing!” means? Go ahead. Sound it out. You’ll get it. Who knows? Maybe this post just helped you to become a baby whisperer too! 

How well do you think you did? Still don’t have it figured out? OK, I’ll tell you. It means, “that’s disgusting!”

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