Sometimes living with a 2 year-old is akin to living with a mysterious foreigner with an indiscriminate accent. It’s a bit like having a tiny Andy-Kaufman-as-Latka-Gravas wandering around your house. Don’t get me wrong, my son’s verbal communication seems to be right on track for his age – the words are clearer, the sentences more complete every day. But as jaw-droppingly impressive as it is to watch someone pick up an entire language before your very eyes, sometimes he’ll start to ramble in toddler-ese and the only thing you can do is smile and nod.
“Flabble glabble cookie!”
“Slumby doo dee juice!”
“Glooby globby Bronson Pinchot!”
I extract the bits I recognize and pretend to know what the hell the rest was all about. His native tongue is an amalgamation of languages – a United Nations of gibberish. Sometimes it sounds vaguely Spanish, other days, more Japanese. There are guttural proclamations that suggest Germanic origins, and wildly emphatic hand gestures that seem characteristically Italian (an inference based entirely upon what The Real Housewives of New Jersey has informed me about the culture – sorry real Italian people). If I should ever find myself on the job market again, I am most definitely listing toddler fluency on my resume. It is a skill worthy of note that I’ve managed to figure out “b-sunk” is Miles-speak for squirrel. I’m reasonably certain that I am the member of our family most fluent in 2 year-old, having to step in for translation on regular basis. But sometimes not even God or Siri can help.
“Mommy, bloo blah blay!?”
“What’s that? You’re feeling blasé?”
“You would like a bouillabaisse?”
“You’re buying a new blouse today?”
I’ll know I missed the mark when he reacts with shock upon ending up at Filene’s Basement. Even though he and I are often frustrated at my lack of understanding, I know I’ll be so terribly sad when the endearing toddler speech impediment is no more. My heart broke a little the first day he said “elephant” instead of his usual, “en-ant”. I breathe a little sigh of relief every time he requests “noo noos” for lunch. Then I try like hell to memorize the moment, just in case the next time he asks for “pasta, preferably al dente, in a light cheese sauce if you please, mother”. I want to take him and all of his goofy, jabbering adorableness, and put him in a time capsule so I can hold on to my 2 year-old “My-woes” forever. If it were up to me, I’d send him off to college with a sippy-cup full of “ahbble juice” – I’m sure it mixes well with Southern Comfort and youthful rebellion. For now, I’m content putting him to bed every night with his “bankie” and his favorite stuffed “jaffy”. Thankfully, I think I have a little while longer to enjoy this – “giraffe” is a really hard word to say.
And now we do the dance of joy!