Have you ever had a “conversation” with a child between the ages of 1 – 3? I don’t mean your own child, I mean someone else’s child. It’s interesting, isn’t it? They will talk to you like any older child would; they go on and on and everything they say makes perfect sense…to them. You, on the other hand, stand there thinking, “what in the world are they saying”. Maybe you pick up one or two words here and there, but otherwise, you have no idea what they just said to you. It’s like they’re speaking in code. You just nod your head and smile at them. Then, they walk away thinking they just had the best conversation and you’re left clueless just laughing at the situation.
This has happened to me numerous times with my cousin’s daughter. She walks away after she finishes talking to me and I’ll just look at her mom and say, “What did she say”? Then, her mom will say, “Oh, she said______________”, and I’ll look at her in amazement and think, “how on earth did you understand that”.
Since becoming a mother myself, I’ve figured out how my cousin understood her daughter. It’s because she’s her mom! Big revelation, I know. Ha!
When you’re the parent, the one with your child day in and day out, the one helping them learn new words each day, you understand what they’re saying. As children learn to talk, they’re words aren’t perfect, of course. They’re just figuring out how to develop their speech, so not all of their words sound complete. Here are a couple of examples. My son may say the word “Didi” and anyone else would think he’s just babbling. But, I know that’s what he calls our cat, whose name is Diva. He can’t fully pronounce the “v”, so he says “d” instead. When “G” hears other people call me by my first name, Leah, he tries it also. He can’t pronounce the “l”, so it comes out “eah”. There are many other words he says that also follow this pattern.
Toddlers just have a language all their own. When it’s not your kid, you have no clue what they’re saying. But, when it is your kid, it’s just so fun to help them learn new words and hear how they pronounce them all. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve said, “That’s so cute! I love how he says that”, after “G” has said a new word or phrase. What’s even more fun is watching him also incorporate the sign language we’ve been teaching him as he says each new word. Makes my heart smile.
I can’t wait to see what word he’ll say next…