Tuesday's Thoughts: Toddler Talk

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Children nowadays never cease to amaze me. They are astute beyond their years, and are able to understand a lot of things - even more than perhaps we give them due credit for. I'm not sure if it is only parenting styles that have moved on and evolved with the times, but I do realise that parents now respect their kids as individuals, and not merely an extension of themselves.

I have never understood the concept of 'baby talk'. Cooing is one thing, but an adult attempting to speak in baby language (think condescending tone, and replacing r's with l's - you get the drift) just makes me cringe inwardly. Soothing tones aside, I have been very fortunate that the elders in the family are not partial to talking to the kids in a language which makes them strong candidates for speech therapy.

We have always talked to BabyMoo using the English Language as we know it. His Oma speaks to him in Indonesian, as does her helper. My in laws speak to him in English, with a smattering of Teochew and the needful Mandarin. He has been exposed to these languages since he was born, and I often attribute him starting to speak at a pretty late stage (he only started his 'one-word's when he turned two last January) to his attempting to process the multiple speech patterns.

Once he started, however, there seems no stopping him. As soon as he discovered that he was able to get things faster and therefore minimise his frustrations by telling us exactly what he wanted - every day is a startling revelation for us. From one word, it became two, and then he started stringing words together. All this in a space of a mere two weeks.

He started full day childcare last Monday. I was told that school and exposure to other kids will encourage him to speak up more, and true enough... it sure did! Within these six days he was in school, apart from the adjustments which he (and I!) had to go through - the experience, it seems, has been wonderful in all other aspects. Heart wrenching times aside, I come home to a happy boy who's genuinely pleased to see me, runs to the door and hugs me tight no matter how preoccupied he is with toys or TV at that moment. I've also noticed a remarkable change in him. He is so much more independent, responsive and chatters non-stop! He now knows that speaking up will ensure that things get done, and he is able to get a corresponding response from others just by telling us exactly what he wants.

"Mama... Haaalp meee! / Take me! / Wait meeeee!"  
BabyMoo: "I want, pish? Mama, pish?"
Me: "No... it's 'MUMMY'!"
BabyMoo: "Mymmeh... pish? I want. Take me?" 
(when I give whatever it was that strikes his fancy then): "Mymmeh Tank Yooo!"
Me: Do you love Mummy?
BabyMoo: Naw!! Wuv Daddih! (grins)
Me: "You only love Daddy? You don't love Mummy?"
BabyMoo: "Naw! Mama!! Oma!" (mock serious face)
Me: "Ok... you don't love Mummy. Mummy is very sad!" 
...and then he hugs me tight, and plants a slobbery kiss on my lips.  
Tell me again why I'm such a sucker when it comes to that boy?

As parents trying to bring our kids up in such a fast paced society, there will no doubt be pressure to have our kids perform, excel, and prepare him as much as we can for life ahead. There will always be nagging doubts in our head, especially when they aren't moving along developmentally with kids of their age range.

I was worried (the way Mums are apt to do) when he used to prefer to use sign language and gestures instead of attempting to speak back then, when other children of his age are already making themselves heard. The hubs will always say that I worry unnecessarily, first when he was still giving us gummy grins at 10 months (he started sprouting teeth at 11 months, cutting two or more at one time successively from then on), then, when he only cruised at 12 months (he started to run after the cruising, without even bothering to take first steps unaided at 14 months) and now, I can't seem to get him to stop chattering... especially when we're in the small confines of the car, and non-stop chatter reverberate!

Ah well. That kid has me hooked on him, and never, ever lets me forget why I love him so.

When I reached the office this morning, I opened my bag... and this is the sight which greeted me.
He always knows how to make me smile.



  1. C's so sweet.. I'm sure in weeks to time you will be hearing even much more from him.. singing songs etc :)

    1. He already sings gibberish! LOUD. Hahaha!

  2. Come join the Non Stop Commercial Free Club!

    Well done BabyMoo! Next time pish speak to this Auntie ok? I'm sure I will get u that something tt you want, of course we have to keep it from mymmeh

    1. I forgot to tell you... this morning, I showed him your bird nest pic in the car on the way to Mama's house. I asked him: Who is this? Do you remember Auntie Jen?

      You know what he answered?
      "Kor Kor Churng!..."

      Until Brian turned back lor. Almost caused accident.

  3. Haha get ready for more astonishing and sweet conversations ahead! I love it when they try to speak but can't seem to pronounce properly yet, like I want pish or I want pee sounds the same. It's like a game trying to decipher! We still get that sometimes from Angel because since she's a mandarin speaking kid, she now picks up lots of English phrases in school and sometimes they sound like a foreign language to us. The hubby will raise his eyebrow and go "huh, what did she say?" and then turned to the expert toddler talk translator, a.k.a me. and I will tell him. Even if I can't, I fake something up. Tsk tsk. What can I say, mums know kids best! =)

    1. Hahahhahha!! Yah! I so get the Toddler Talk translating!

      ...even if we translate it to what *we* want to hear! ;)

  4. Too cute!

    Kai was and is still the same, similar to Caden's with achieving milestones. She didn't walk till 18 months, and right on that same day, she walked 2km non-stop! First tooth at 10 months and then every one sprouted at once. Even now with her skills and grasping of concepts, it's a similar process. So i've finally learnt to take it a bit easier, haha!

  5. Go Caden go! Now here's a kid that is made to lead! None of the 'I will follow the path of convention' nonsense; I will talk, walk and sprout teeth when it so pleases me, thank you very much!!!

    Lol at the picture. It's a common sight among mums with sons I think!

    @summer: I agree: only mums can decode toddler speak!

  6. Congrats Baby Moo! Time to share all your secret thoughts!

    Yes I've always believed in talking to kids the way we would talk to one another! Grandma on the other hand has her own brand of baby speak, which involves adding an "ahhhhh!" to the end of every word. At least you get called mymmeh! Layla used to say "Mummy ah!" "Ball ah!" "Milk ah!" Imagine the tough time I had helping her get rid of that!

    Now with Z I'm trying to guard against Round #2, but... it's gonna be hard!

    1. Hahahaha!! I must have missed this comment ahhhhhhhhh!!

      I like those ahs. I catch myself doing it at times, especially when we're trying *NOT* to sound too condescending to them :D

  7. So sweet. I was also worrying about Aiden's speech but when he turned two and started going to childcare this Jan, he started to string words together. Can't help feeling that they grow up too fast sometimes. He runs away when I ask for a kiss and a hug now.

    1. That's true. The hubs complains that I worry he isn't meeting supposed milestones, and then I make so much noise that he's growing up too fast when he does! :D



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