Parlez-vous Toddler?

I love language. I love analysing the way it’s used, I’m fascinated by how others use it and it’s the reason I got into writing and teaching English.


One of my favourite things is watching D learning to master speech and language. Sometimes he’s baffling and sometimes he’s clever, but I love hearing what he comes out with (except when he’s yelling at me. That’s not so cool.) Often, people comment on his advanced vocabulary, but I put this down to his love of reading and the fact that he has a mother who never shuts up.

Sometimes he says weird things. The other night he told me he wanted to wear my hair as a hat. While this might seem charming and proof that the mother/son bond is alive and well in the Pomfrett household, it struck me as a bit…. Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs. Here are some more gems I’ve had to decipher recently (thankfully less serial killer-esque):


  • One of his favourite phrases is: “I have a idea!” The answer to D’s problems almost always involve copious amounts of pasta. He’s always very proud of me when I guess correctly.
  • On that track, I often get called ‘Good boy!’ and today I was told I was a ‘Really Useful Engine’ and that I was doing good work on my ‘branch line’ (I was burning toast, but it’s nice to have a vote of confidence from somebody.)
  • We have certain phrases that have crept into adult vocabulary in our family- a ‘clockawatch’ is a watch; ‘shoppings’ is either the act of going shopping or the shop itself. ‘Cheesy biscuits’ are cheese oatcakes. We get through a TON of them.
  • D is CONVINCED the rabbit can understand- and play- hide and seek. He was a bit disappointed when I explained this was not the case. In this vein, I have also found myself saying things like, ‘No, love, don’t drink from the rabbit’s bottle’ and ‘Please don’t lick the cat.’

I’m sure I’ll think of more, but I have to stop as he’s running round the house trying to get Bronte to wear the firefighter hat. She’s as impressed as you imagine.


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