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Quotable Moments From My Toddler

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I was reminded by my family last weekend that I haven’t yet shared the weird pearls of toddler philosophy that my daughter has been imparting to us since she learned to talk. Frankly, I haven’t written down nearly enough of them, because life is too busy and my memory for details is shockingly short.

Another reason I haven’t really delved into this is because, at two-and-a-half, AB is so verbal it’s almost scary… and although I’m insanely proud of her, I don’t take credit and I don’t want to sound like a braggy mommy. E was like this too, where complete strangers would hear him talk, ask his age, and express disbelief at his vocabulary – but it’s even more so with her. Of course we’ve encouraged their language in the ways we know how, but I figure it’s at least 90% genetic luck – being linguistically inclined, but also having no hearing issues to interfere.

Sometimes I forget, when I haven’t been with any other 2-year-olds in a while, how advanced her language is. It has all flowed naturally from the context of her learning to say “Hi” aptly at 8 months, and producing sentences like “That’s a ball,” and “Come here baby!” at 13 months. With her, I think it has happened faster because she’s a people person. She wants to relate, and language is an effective tool for that.

Looking at the notes I’ve taken, it makes me smile and sigh to remember the things she was saying a year or more ago.

  • She used to press the button to make music on her doll stroller, bounce her knees and say, “Happy happy happy!” You just had to grin your face off.
  • When she first learned to say Please (or “pease”), she soon changed it to “Pease-awwww,” mimicking the reaction of people hearing her new nicety.
  • She had two words she made up that she used regularly with consistent meaning – and I’m sure it was very frustrating how long we took to figure them out: “Bacca” meant “Give that to me” and “Abodee” meant “Open this.” (Obviously.)
  • I noted her word “Mecumber” once I figured out that when we talked about “cucumber” she thought we were saying “you-cumber” – so if it was hers, it was “me-cumber.”
  • In February of last year, I wrote down her attempt to count just like her big brother: “Two four fie sick weven sick.”
  • Around the same time, she was showing some bossiness, trying to get me to join nap time: “Lie down. Close the eyes.”
  • Sometimes, especially when sleepy, she would gently touch and admire me: “Like a hair, Mama. Like a hand.”
  • She also tended to use words she remembered that were wrong-but-close-enough: she called green beans “green pants,” occasionally substituted “elbow” for “eyebrow,” and (my favourite) referred to the Bambi book as the “Zombie book.”
jerd7
Yup, I guess that’ll do all right.

 

  • Other cute substitutions: “Up-a-size” for exercise (“Mama, looka me up-a-size!”), “wriggly” for regular (“I want wriggly milk”), “olives” for overalls, and “acalulu” for ukulele (she still uses this one sometimes).
  • When we got her undressed for bath, she’d run around saying, “Got my naked on!”
  • Because I so often said to her, “Hi, sweetie,” she began to respond with “Hi seedy!”
  • On March 25th of last year, I noted her saying, as she gathered some items together, “Where’s the boots? Where’s the coffee? Goin’ to work.” (These days she likes to pack her backpack and put on her rubber boots and sit on the hall bench, which naturally transports her to school.)
  • Shortly after that was my first note of her using the word “actually” – “Ackshly it’s MY ball!”
  • She loved to do grown-up things like talk on phones – since almost anything can be a phone – and read Trivial Pursuit cards. (Just not usually in English.)
  • For many months now, she has made a habit of running up to whoever arrives at our door and yelling “SURPRISE!!”
  • She began to express compassion right around 18 months. I will never forget the time I was having a rough evening trying to get the kids to bed by myself – they just kept needing me and not sleeping – and at one point I sat on the edge of the bed and rested my head in my hands in frustration. She looked at me for a moment, then put her little arms around me and said, “I give a big hug, Mama. I see you cry.” I almost fell over.
  • She’s still good at this. She gives hugs and kisses when we’re upset or hurt. And as frustrating as her tantrummy side can be, she is good at thinking it over, and after a short while saying something like, “Mummy, I’m sorry I screamed and hit you.” Without fail, it completely disarms me.
  • Speaking of screaming, last summer I wrote down this charming conversation:

AB: (Screaming about something.)

Mummy: You don’t have to freak out about it…

AB: I AM freaking out!

E (mimicking her): I AM freaking out!

AB (to E): NO! You’re not freaking out, I’m freaking out!!

Then there’s the kind of out-of-the-blue, imaginative conversation she has when she’s getting sleepy and talking in bed, like this one last August:

AB: I wish had a boat.

Mummy: You wish… you had a boat?

AB: Yah. A sailboat. A sailboat.

Mummy: What would you do with your sailboat?

AB: I passed the boat… in the water… and the ducks on the boat, and the geese… in the river.

Mummy: Wow, that’s really cool.

AB: I had snacks with Emi. And I had snacks with Mummy.

Mummy: You had snacks… on the sailboat?

AB: I don’t have a sailboat. I have… a ladder… umm, a donkey-horse… two donkey-horses… and, umm… tomatoes… and, ummmmm… CHEESE! And… a sailboat.

Since last fall, there seems to be nothing she can’t say. I love that she still says things like “I goed to bed,” or “I maked a mess,” because it’s so toddler-y. She also, when reminded to ask nicely, still says “Can-I-may please have some water?” And she went through a long period this past winter where any statement she would make would be followed with a bizarre indication of whom she was addressing, like this: “I need some different pants, Ass-Mummy,” or “Can you read me this book, Ass-Daddy?” It seemed vaguely narrative. We eventually figured out she was meaning to say “ask,” even though the ass-prefix could be used with any sentence, not just questions. She just had it in her mind as necessary.

She also seems to have genetically inherited the language my sisters and I used to speak together (called Oody-Funka). She sings beautiful, unintelligible syllables a lot, and sometimes translates the books she “reads” into Oody-Funka as well. And she uses her elastic toddler-brain to give names to a lot of random things:

  • She once named the fingers of one hand Madeline, Miss Clavel, Matracita, Maca, and Fen;
  • For a short while, she had imaginary babies named Nollie and Kernie;
  • She has told us about her pet sharks named Mixery, Globby, Glicky, and Loast;
  • And she has expanded on what she told us about the school she goes to “under the water in North Canada” to let us know that her teachers are fish, and they are called Packo and Lala.

Here are a few other fun quotables from the last few months:

  • “I’m hugging you to my bones!”
  • “These Os are techally mine.” (I’d just told Sean, after a snack dispute between the kids, that the Cheerios were “technically” not E’s; she clearly got my meaning.)
  • To her big brother: “You can kiss my hand. Not off my hand, in my hand. That’s a good boy.”
  • When I found her curled up in someone’s abandoned snow fort at the toboggan hill: “I’m just sleeping in this hole, in this little rock home.”
  • While drawing a “picture” of me with a baby in my tummy: “She’s crying because her little brother leaved with her mom. Now the baby’s all covered up with grossness.” (Yikes, wha?)
  • When I asked, after she’d been horsing around with Daddy, if she would like some breakfast: “I already ate Daddy’s nose. I had breakfast.”
  • Just last week, at lunch one day, as she made up a random story about a doctor – who was also apparently a driver of some kind: “The driver didn’t do anything. He just sailed away, as faintly as a breeze.” (Where does she get these turns of phrase??)
  • The other day, when I asked her if she was all done on the potty: “I… am… precious.” True, but doesn’t answer my question.
  • And just this week, she started enthusiastically using a word that it took Daddy a while to decipher: hypothesis. Eventually he gleaned that she’d gotten the word from the Dinosaur Train show.

She told him, “Daddy, I have another hypothesis.”

“Oh, really? What’s your hypothesis?”

“Umm… It’s in the bathtub.”

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Kindergarten Quotables Variety Pack

I realize it’s been ages since I talked about the cute stuff my kids say, and it’s not because they don’t say cute things.

Okay, sometimes it’s because they don’t say cute things. At five and two years old, respectively, my son and daughter both have a tendency to freak out about seemingly minor incidents, and they both spend quite a bit of time screaming. This doesn’t leave quite as many opportunities in their schedules for adorable sound bites.

But! These little gems do still turn up. And I could argue it’s even more important to remember them when they’re not as common.

E with the class bear
E has learned to play Pokémon, with rules and everything. You should hear the lingo he and Daddy toss around.

These are E-quotes, from approximately the past year – so he was four years old for some of them (he would want you to know that). I’ve organized them by theme, for your convenience.

Big New Words To Try Out:

  • “There aren’t a lot of places to hide in this particular house.”
  • “I distinctly don’t want square crackers… I specifically said circle crackers.”
  • “The orange juice is essentially yellow.”
  • “This is a really unusual contraption.”
  • “Is it just me, or am I disintegrating?” (NO IDEA where he got that word.)
  • “Marcia has a whole bunch of Play Doh colours, and I’m assuming they all came together.”
  • “A millimeter isn’t even a thing. I made it up.”
  • “I hurt so much of myself! I hurt both my toes and my philtrum!”
  • “You have no idea how mad I am!! I’m googleplex hundred thousand mad.” (As you can probably tell, sometimes we teach him the more obscure words just ’cause it’s fun to hear him say them.)
  • “My finger deflected it into my mouth.”
  • “I’m really good at rhyming. I’m pretty good at homonyms – well, I haven’t mastered homonyms yet… but I have mastered snapping!” This is true. He was in the car, demonstrating from his booster seat. Yes, he does know what a homonym is. And he can snap his fingers like a boss.

Turns Of Phrase That Are Pure E:

  • The morning after receiving some new Lego, seeing the mess he’d made: “Well, it’s another Lego excitement day.”
  • Asking the name of his grandparents’ street: “That’s something my brain lost sight of. I suddenly didn’t know it.”
  • As I explained how we were going to tackle cleaning his room: “You mean, all this great big bellowing mess will be cleaned up?”
  • As Daddy reiterated our policy (if a parent cleans up a toy mess without E’s help, that parent gets to keep said toy): “Daddy! Just lose that feeling!”

Regarding His Little Sister:

  • On seeing baby AB’s arm flailing around: “Maybe she’s like an antenna.”
  • In a passionate defense when we took away something AB was destroying: “DON’T! RUIN! MY SISTER’S! FUN!!!”
  • After she’d learned to whack him when he was getting in her space: “Biting me isn’t her only defense.”
  • After I’d asked him to keep an eye on her while I went to the bathroom, then found him doing something completely else: “I’m keeping a very slight eye on her.”
  • At a predictably nose-running moment: “I think her weapon is snot.”

Regarding His Brother/Potential Brother:

E: Mummy, when are you going to be pregnant? I want another Sebastian. I don’t even know what he looked like.

Mummy: Umm… I’m not sure if I will be pregnant again, sweetie. And if I did get pregnant, we can’t choose whether we have a boy or a girl.

E: Can you control whether you’re pregnant?

Mummy (mentally squirming a little): Well… yes. It has to do with what time of the month it is… and your activities.

E: Can we pick a boy or girl if we decide NOW?

Regarding His Mom:

  • When I was making my own lunch instead of attending to his every whim: “Mommies don’t serve themselves. They serve other people than themselves.”
  • One of the times E was freaking out about having to pee really bad, in response to my dry comment, “Maybe if you cry enough tears, you won’t have to pee so much,” he shrieked: “MUMMEE! Don’t say random things!!!!” (Parents, you know sometimes you have to say things just to amuse yourself. But those comments can rebound on you.)
  • While trying to control his world: “Mummy, tomorrow I want you to be the one to pick me up from the bus, okay? Just keep that in mind.”
  • When I explained that when you have a sleepover at a friend’s house, your parents don’t come with you, and that’s part of why it’s fun: “But, if you weren’t there, it wouldn’t BE any fun!” (Awww. <3)

Deep Thoughts and Life Philosophy:

  • “I just need so much help, in this world. I want to move to a different planet. This one is just too tricky.”
  • “Does snot have protein? Does it have veggies?” (Hmmm. What IS the nutritional content of snot?)
  • “Does the world have a stem? Can you slice the world?”
  • “There’s almost always poop in your body, and one mode is saveable, but the other is unsaveable.”
  • When I explained that his balloon animal would not last very long: “So… balloon animals are just like paper airplanes and flowers and piñatas.”
  • After I’d explained some of the traditions associated with St. Patrick’s Day: “But Mummy – what if my teacher makes me drink beer??”
  • Discussing the older kids on the playground, when E was in JK: “For some reason, they think I’m a LITTLE kid!”

He still knocks my socks off sometimes with the things he says.

One night, just a few weeks ago, as we were tidying up his room before bed, he started reminiscing about his surfin’ days. Except he pronounced it “suhhfin’ dehhs,” which I guess is his surfer accent. To be clear, he’s never surfed, or even been close to a real live surfer, ever. But he maintained the accent and the patter for several minutes, completely deadpan. (I wish I could have got footage, but I was afraid to break the spell.)

As I giggled, I said, “I love you, buddy.” His rejoinder was, “I luv yeh teh, Mummeh… almost as much as I luv meh suhhfin’ dehhs.”

Then, last week, we played chess on the snow day. He had been playing chess for approximately two days, and here he was, saying things like, “I’m really putting you in a pickle here, Mummy!” and “I know the knight’s protecting the queen, so I’m not too worried about her,” and “You’re setting up a good pawn structure there.” Wha??

Crazy, awesome kid.

Next episode: Kid Quotables, Toddler Version.

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Kindergarten Quotables: Smooth Operator

{Agh, “Preschooleristics” no longer applies to my boy! Although, admittedly, a few of these are from the pre-school days.}

My little guy is a smoothie in many ways.

The Salesman

Once when we made cookies this summer, E had one left over. I suggested he put it in a container to keep it from getting stale. The next day he saw that cookie he’d carefully preserved, and winningly offered it to me:

“Hey, Mama. There’s a fine fresh cookie, that if you would like it, I would certainly give it to you.”

The Cover-Upper

While playing with water in the sink, trying to gloss over the fact that he’d gotten the hand towel wet “accidentally” for a second time:

“Mama, I’m absolutely not going to put this towel in the water again.”

The Butter-Upper

Before dinner, when he was hoping for a certain favourite food and discovered I’d already put it on his plate – a surge of gratitude followed quickly by reality:

“You’re the greatest! Mommy ever! ‘Cause you do everything I tell you to… usually… Sometimes.”

The Game Show Host

When we play Trivial (Trevor) Pursuit, we ask E spur-of-the-moment kid-style multiple-choice questions so he’s part of the game. Sometimes he asks us his own questions too, such as:

“When did E turn three in eighty-thirty-nine? Was it after Christmas, before Halloween, or in the middle of Valentine’s Day?”

The Shyster

He had found our container with a couple dozen chocolate Mini-Eggs in it, and asked if he could have one. I said (interested to see if I could trust him), “Sure, you can have one. Thank you for asking so nicely.” I returned a few minutes later to find the number greatly depleted. I said, “Hey, bud. That looks like you had way more than just one.”

“Oh, no, Mummy. I meant one layer.”

The Charmer

At the end of a visit from Skye and baby G last spring, E blew them some kisses, and then invented a blowable hug as well. It’s a gesture with both hands touching his chest and then reaching out like you would with a kiss. It’s pretty fantastic. It’s come into regular usage in our household.

The Casanova

Like most kids, E is typically short-winded when asked “What did you do at school today?” But one day he offered, “We had a kissing competition.”

“Oh? Who were you kissing?” (He told us her name but it has been omitted to protect her privacy.) “How does that work? Is it a race?”

“You’re just kissing and kissing and kissing.”

“Wow. So, how do you know who won?”

“We weren’t even done when recess was over.”

Yikes. I hope it was all consensual. He did mention that the girl in question didn’t want to hang out with him later in the week.

But there is something to be said for his charisma. Here’s a little visual of his power over (very small) women:

e and girlfriend

This is not the one from the kissing competition. This was love-at-first-roll-in-the-grass (literal) at the Cape Cod wedding. Happily, the little lady was not one to waste time being coy. This relationship ran the gamut from hand-holding to steamrolling to wrestling.

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Preschooleristics: 8 (or 10) “Close But No Banana” Quotables

1. “Look, Mama! There’s another digger at the instruction site.”

1b) “Let’s go see Auntie Beth in her impartment.”

1c) “Why do you have a doctor’s impointment?”

2. “I just typed a lot of prepostrophes.”

3. “When are we going to cook something on the barbecube?”

4. “Can we play Trevor Pursuit?”*

5. While playing Kingdom Rush: “We’re going to need some more guys in our infantreat.”

6. Having just run super-fast down the hill: “That was pretty runny!”

7. Regarding a tangled-up headphone cord: “Look at this big discussion!”

8. After I answered for the second time that the toothpaste the dentist gave us was “gentle mint” flavour: “This should be Daddy’s toothpaste because he’s a gentlemint.”

*Between Daddy, me, and Auntie Em, we have taught him to play something approximating Trivial Pursuit. Sometimes we make up the questions, and sometimes we ask real ones but make them all multiple-choice. Today he found a question card out of its box and asked me this one:

“Mama, what’s the answer to the pink question: Is it John Louise, Christopher Hoo-Fonz, or Bird Flack?” I wish you could have heard the eloquent pauses between “Chris” and “topher”, “Hoo” and “Fonz”.

I did not guess right, but he was gracious about it.

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Preschooleristics: 7 Quotables from a Mysterious Brain

Sometimes, the things that pop out of E’s mouth make me think he was some kind of poet-guru in a previous life. Like his words have deep meanings that I don’t fully understand as a regular adult (or have forgotten from my own previous life).

Then again, maybe they’re just random.

1. “You know what happened? All the animals live underground now.”

“What animals?”

“You know. All the animals. Mouses and lions and dinosaurs and ghosts. Like… giraffes and frogs. And turtles as well.”

2. Showing me his drawing: “It’s a treasure map! They’re seeking in their house for the treasure right now.”

“What is the treasure?”

“It’s a big red boot… with a ghost in it.”

3. Brandishing a hula hoop and knocking it against the backyard gate: “This used to be the old-fashioned way of opening gates.”

4. Looking at the sky with Daddy: “There’s a current of birds, flying to a special place in the sun.”

5. As I apply sunscreen to his arms: “Mmm. Smells like a soothing pool.”

6. Playing “I Spy” on the patio of a local cafe: “I spy something [sic] with my little eye, something that is red.”

“Is it something on the table?”

“No, it’s out there, in the deep world.”

7. We’ve told you about the arm-kissing. But we’ve discovered it’s even specialer than that.

“Daddy, I love my arm. It leaves at night.”

“Where does it go?”

“Just out.” Pause. “Daddy, what if it doesn’t come back?”

“Well, buddy, I can pretty much guarantee it’ll be there in the morning.”

**The next day**

“So, did your arm leave last night?”

“Yep.”

“Where did it go?”

“Just exploring. It keeps the night safe for me.”

Perfect.

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Preschooleristics: 9 Quotable Math Moments

Please note: I’ve been compiling quotations ever since the last one, so some of these come from the 3-year-old E, and some from the 4-year-old one. Just to be clear, since four is important.

Recently, we’ve noticed that he’s picking up on learning about numbers, size, speed, and measurement.

1. While playing with his Hot Wheels (every one of whose names he knows): “Retro Active goes infinity plus one and eighty percent fast!”

2. “Daddy, tonight I’m gonna let you sleep eighty-one kilometres.”

3. “I have thirty-nine cars. That’s the highest number there is.” (Actually, he has an embarrassingly much larger number of cars than that.)

4. Looking at our family around the dinner table: “Hey! Boy, girl, boy, girl. We’re a pattern family!”

5. “If the wind was seventy-one strong, it could blow us right out of town.”

6. When counting down his crayons, “This one’s the fourth, then the third, then the tooth.” (Or twoth, I suppose.)

7. While discussing the new cup he would get now that he’s four: “Yeah. It’ll be slightly larger than this cup.”

8. Having arranged his stuffies in order: “I made an echo. Look: bigger, mediumer, smaller.”

9. And a conversation with Mommy about upcoming festivities, shortly before his birthday:

E: I hate this!!

Mommy: You hate having a birthday?

E: No, I hate this terrible situation! This situation where three days is such a long time!

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Mommy’s in the Doghouse

“Mo-om.” (In the whiny voice, unsurprisingly.) “Why do you just make me cry all the time?”

I had to laugh. “Dude, I have no idea.” For the past few days, any time I get a little stern with E, he says something like, “Mommy, you’re scaring me!” or “But now you’re really making me cry!” as he dissolves onto the floor.

Usually, this is followed by a tragic “I just want Daddy!”

At the moment, Mommy is simply not the cool one. Unlike Daddy, she is ALWAYS here, which is boring. She is more strict with treats and screen time and pretty much all the fun things. She raises her voice more than she means to, because she never gets proper sleep and is often (for multiple reasons) unable to nap. She is the one likely to silently say Screw it when there’s a meltdown and just scoop up her beloved firstborn and stick him in his room because she can’t listen to more crying. Most of all*, she is constantly saying things like

“I would love to play dinosaurs with you, but I’m changing the baby’s diaper,”** or

“I can read you one story, but then I have to get the laundry started,” or

“You know what, buddy? I’m very, very tired and I would not make a very good monster for the monster game,” or

“Sweetie, I only have the energy for ONE galloping contest right now, okay?” or

“You may not crash your cars right outside the bedroom where the baby’s napping,” or

“How many times do I have to tell you to be gentle with your sister??”

(When I say things he doesn’t like, he’ll fill with wretched indignation: “But… you’re just… INTERRUPTING me!” or “You just don’t UNDERSTAND me!!” Sometimes I’m pretty sure he’s fourteen.)

Anyway, you get the idea. Daddy makes a great monster. He is an expert at car-playing, dinosaur-roaring, tickling, you name it. When he’s working days and can put E to bed, he doesn’t have to keep interrupting things (like Mommy does) to deal with THAT BABY. When Daddy comes home, there’s a sitcom-worthy ecstatic run to the door: “Daddy, Daddy! Finally, you’re home!”

It’s no wonder that the last time E loaded up his Lego car with passengers, he included Daddy, himself, baby sister, and someone called “The Mayor” (WTF?), but there was no room for Mommy.

It’s not that I’m evil. So far, I have not been locked out of E’s room:

IMG_3815
Left: “People who are nice can come in.” (Couple of false starts on the S in “NIS”.)
Right: “Locked for bad people.” (Can you tell which is the bad person?)

And today, he even invited me to an even specialer place:

IMG_3836
“Mom, you wanna come live with me in my clubhouse and sit on my crazy contraption-chair?” Um, YES.

But I had to say no because I was cleaning the effing kitchen. {This kitchen is a giant rock, and I am Sisyphus. It feels like I do dishes ALL THE TIME and somehow my counters are still never clean.}

I can still kiss the hurt places. I can still invoke smiles by making silly rhymes. I can still help with colouring, as long as I use the approved colours. I’m hoping these are the things that stick with him in life, the times when Mommy was fun and full of love.

If not, maybe he can at least remember things like searching for his sunglasses with Daddy and observing, “If only I’d hit something with them, then Mama would’ve put them on the shelf, and I’d know where they were.” Chalk one up for consistent confiscation.

Sometimes Mommy is helpful, even when she’s not fun.

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*E is loving the phrase “Most of all” right now. One day he and Daddy came home from the grocery store and he showed me each item in turn: “Most of all, we got all these cashews! And most of all, there’s triangle crackers! But most of ALL, look! Shreddies!!” It puts pizzazz into the humdrum.

**A friend of mine who also has a little boy and a baby girl once admitted on Facebook that their family was getting a dishwasher so that she wouldn’t be that mom who’s always saying, “Sorry, kiddo, I can’t play with you, I have to do the dishes.” I think of it often because I AM TOTALLY THAT MOM. Sigh.

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