My daughter is almost two and suddenly she has a word for everything. She speaks in incomplete sentences, full of improper grammar. She makes up her own words and combines them to describe what she sees. It's like a puzzle to figure out what she is saying half the time, but with a lot of patience, I am usually able to decipher her code.
Instead of "yes" and "no," she uses "yeah-kay" and "no-kay." As in, "yeah, I'm okay," and "no, I'm okay." Every time she identifies the color red, she calls it "red-elmo," and holds up her Elmo doll to show me that the colors match. When she wants me to lift her, she runs over to me, with her arms outstretched while yelling "carry-you!"
I love her personalized spin on language and her made up phrases. She talks to her stuffed animals, describing everything that she is doing with them. I occasionally catch a word or two when I hear her talking to herself in the crib. The world is big and beautiful in her eyes, and she has so much to say about it. The way she describes her surroundings is such an accurate reflection of toddlerhood.
When strangers talk to my daughter, I see how they sometimes dismiss her speaking as toddler babble. She speaks quickly and her words run together. It takes a lot of patience to understand what she is saying. But it's not babble. Her words of full of meaning, but you need to listen, patiently, in order to understand.
I know this stage in her verbal development won't last forever. And I want it to change, of course: for her to speak in full sentences with proper grammar. But there is something so special about the way she talks right now. She pulls whatever words she can from her existing library of language and combines them to narrate her world. It's beautiful to hear her perspective spoken and it helps me to understand her in a deeper way.
When my daughter sees a crowded room, she calls it a "big party." She calls every dress a "tutu" and anyone older than her is referred to a "big kid." When it's raining outside, she sings "rain-rain-go-away," and acts like she is pushing the storm clouds out of the sky. I always say it with her, our own sun dance.
My daughter describes all of her activities and about her favorite part of each day. She fumbles around with words, putting them in the wrong order and using strange descriptors. But I understand. Of course I understand; I'm her mom.
Sometimes, she throws her arms around my neck while yelling "iloveyou!" She mushes the words together into one big phrase of love. My heart melts and part of me wants her to never say this sentence any differently. In these moments, I feel like it's just the two of us in the world, speaking the secret, beautiful language of toddlers.
This post was previously published on Becky's personal blog.
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