I’ve never considered myself fluent in any other language than English. In college, studying voice, I learned to translate and pronounce Italian, Latin, French and German. I can carry on an elementary conversation in Spanish, with phrases such as:
“Donde esta el bano?” (Where is the bathroom?)
“Tu bebe es muy linda!” (You’re baby is very pretty!)
“Quiero el numero vente y dos con refritos, y no arroz, por favor.” (I would like number 23 with beans, and no rice, please.)
And no, I did not look these up before posting today!
Just recently, I realized I am fluent in a foreign language. I can speak perfect Toddler-ese! My toddler, I call her Litttle Pea, after the Princess and the Pea, completely understands everything she says, while no one else has a clue. So, I find myself translating often. Here are a few entries in my Toddler-to-English Dictionary.
bubby: (n.) Baby, poopy, boobies, bra, or pacifier. You must recite the list back to her until you get a nod. (Don’t ask me why she would want a bra, but one time I found her waddling around with one around her neck like a scarf.)
wah wah: (n.) Water, juice, milk, or any other liquid suitable for drinking. Actually this also applies to moldy juice or congealed milk left in the car for any number of days.
nana: (n.) Banana, crackers, pinto beans, yogurt, or any other type of food. Banana was the first “food” word she said, so now she thinks all food is “nana.” Reciting the list of plain-view foods is the only way to decipher this word.
nnnnoo!!: (adv.) no, used to express refusal, denial, disbelief, emphasis, or disagreement. She picked up on this one very quickly. Go figure! (And yes, I did have to look up the part of speech for “no.” Well, did you know it?)
huh me: (full sentence) hold me. Beware, if this request is not accommodated, it will be repeated at ever increasing volumes until satisfied.
duh doo: (sentence) thank you, love you, or maybe tattoo, I’m not really sure?
“Ah ba bubby de da wah-wah do dah nana” This passage is open to interpretation. Some common translations include:
“The baby wants some juice and a banana.”
“I threw your bra in the toilet water with some crackers.”
“I poopied in the bath water because you fed me too many pinto beans!”
As you can see, Toddler-ese is very subjective and takes years to master. I hope this has given you some enlightenment in the area of this dialect. You may just surprise your friends by understanding their toddler’s ramblings.
Buh-Bah! I mean, bye bye!
Originally posted at Real Life, 6/24/07