November 17, 2004


Before I had children, I swore I would never repeat their baby words back to them. I could not believe that my in-laws still would on occasion use the baby word their daughter had had for fork almost twenty years later. It drove me nuts when my sister-in-law and her husband would refer to things by the baby words my niece and nephew used. It is a good thing that I only complained to my husband about these things though, because I've had fewer people to apologize to and fewer people to make fun of me for my change of heart.

I love the creative pronunciations and completely different words my children have for things when they first learn to talk. As they grow bigger and speak more clearly, I miss the toddler-speak.

My son is very well spoken. He no longer calls bananas "gomanas," backpack isn't rendered as "hatback" any more and he asks for balloons now and not "gaboons." One day after he learned to read, he looked at a tag on some gloves and realized that they weren't called "glubs." He can read and say just about anything. The kid asked for "a reprieve" from the time-out chair the other day. The last vestiges of baby words that he has are calling lasagna "plasagna" and pot pie "hot pie". I'm sure those will disappear soon.

My two year old talks all the time now. A lot of what she says like, "I won't!" isn't all that cute, and a lot of her baby words are disappearing too. She still mysteriously refers to music and singing as "why-o" but she's also started asking to "ding dongs in the dongbook." As soon as her pronunciation gets better I bet we'll never hear about "why-o" again. She's already saying "Be-a-rix" and not just "Bee-rix" for her sister's name. In the past, her favorite animal was the "hippomanus," but yesterday she said it "hippodominus" which sounds like the Latin for the über horse, but really she's starting to notice all the syllables and pay more attention to how one really says hippopotamus.

As with many other things, I want them to grow up. I wouldn't want to see one of my children go off to a job interview talking or acting like a toddler. However, I miss these words -- symbols of babyhood -- as they get bigger and forget them. I wish I had recorded all the funny ones. I'm holding on to all the words I can remember now -- and chances are in twenty years I may pop out with one of these words that no one else remembers. I know it will make me smile.


Hmmm, Hippodominus.

Sounds like a great name for a rock band. Or a weird pagan cult.

Posted by: skinnydan at November 17, 2004 10:52 AM

Jonathan's newest one was one he came up with last night: "cardigated." As in "cardigated cardboard."

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at November 17, 2004 01:56 PM

LOL about not having to apologize. Before children, I held similar views to yours regarding baby talk. Now, I still call leggings "smooth pants" and Christmas decorations "Decornations". My kids no longer say these things, but I can't seem to let them go.

Posted by: Bronwyn at November 18, 2004 06:56 AM

Well, who can resist referring to toothpaste as "pooptaste"? (really! no kidding!) "BapuWapu " will forever be a mystery, however.

Posted by: Caroline at November 18, 2004 01:25 PM

In my family we still call airplanes "peepahs" and we pick up people from the "peepah port", chewing gum is still "kiki", and these have always been fond memories of when my brother and I were kids, the interesting thing is that it is mainly my mother and I that still use them. I think it is a maternal thing.

When I was little we had to travel through Miami (FLA) whenever we came to the US and we always had a discussion with my brother who always complained that "It isn't your Ami, it is my ami".

My mother wrote down most of the adorable/wise/strange things that came out of our mouths, I was touched when I found it last year. I plan on trying to do the same.

Posted by: Blair at November 21, 2004 02:54 PM

My neice coined quite a few words that my extended family still use.

Donkey - Dink honk
Helicopter - Hoppidoctor

As for my kids, we still use some of their words. I still haven't figured out how the wrinkled skin on her fingers after her bath became "Kool Aid" for the EAC, though.

Posted by: LittleA at November 22, 2004 11:42 AM

I have a small book I try to enter these jewels in ..
My son was counting foxes: One foc, two focs, etc. And my daughter used to sing the I love New York jingle as "I love you nork!"

Posted by: Katrinka at December 5, 2004 08:59 AM