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Toddler Talk is Foreign Language to this Stay-at-home Mom
by Andrea Harris
Andrea HarrisAs a stay-at-home mom, my conversations revolve around my children. So I was a little perplexed when my toddler moved beyond the English language and developed a language of his own. Unfortunately, for those of us who weren't offered "Toddler Talk" as an elective in college, this can make communication difficult.

I first noticed this new language emergence as my son chatted to my Granny one day on the phone. He started telling her how it was raining outside and then said, "eskew eee mobyow."

Alrighty, I thought that seemed at bit strange. So, I checked his head to make sure he wasn't sprouting alien antennas, and then I took the phone from him.

My Granny kindly said, "Andrea, I'm not sure what he was saying to me."

"Don't worry Granny," I replied. "I didn't understand it either."

Life seemed to go on like normal (well, as normal as life with a 2-year-old can be) for the next few days and then suddenly the new language reappeared.

I had just put the baby down for her nap and rejoined my son in the living room.

He asked, "What game do you want to play, Momma?"

But before I could answer he said, "Let's play skee owpel."

I went blank and said, "I've never heard of that game."

"You know," he said with his hands on his hips, "skee owpel."

I shrugged my shoulders and asked him how we play it. Apparently, this wasn't the right response. He huffed, stomped his foot and then turned around to play with his Tonka trucks.

As if these new words weren't enough for me to learn, the body language that went along with it perplexed me even more.

"Look Momma," he said as he started taking giant steps on his tip toes. He spread his fingers out like a raptor, stuck his tongue out and froze his body.

"Oh," I said. "This must be skee owpel."

He nodded his head and motioned for me to join him.

So we both started doing this weird walk around our living room, and I checked to make sure the blinds were closed so my neighbors wouldn't think I'd gone loony.

My son told me I was doing a good job, making me feel just as accomplished as if a professor had given me an "A" on a calculus exam.

Everything was smooth between the two of us for the next few days. I thought we were bonding, sharing in this new, secret language. But as I soon found out, someone else in our house was down with the new jive - our baby. She was lying on a blanket getting in some tummy time and squealed so loud I'm surprised the windows didn't break. I rolled her over and she instantly grabbed her feet, which went straight to her mouth.

She started to fuss until my son walked over to her and said, "Baby Sydney are you geeber cobbered?"

She looked up at him and gave him the biggest toothless grin then contently went back to sucking her toes.

"What exactly is geeber cobbered?" I politely asked.

"Momma," my toddler said in a well duh tone, "It's geeber cobbered."

I really didn't care what it meant but the two seemed to understand each other. I'm thinking maybe it's time I introduce my husband to this new language. Next time he asks what we're eating for dinner, I think I'll say, "Owie nowie kegole." If I'm lucky he'll think it's been a rough day and offer to make dinner himself.

Andrea Harris studied English at Mississippi University for Women. She was teaching in public schools, outside of Memphis, until her children were born. She now stays at home with them and writes during their naptime. Her column, Notes from a Housewife, appears in newspapers across the state of Tennessee and on various websites. Please visit her site at Notes From a Housewife for more information or email comments to momcolumn@yahoo.com.

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