16 September 2010

Conversations With a 2-Year-Old

Talking to a toddler is an experience that is not easy to . . . well, put into words, I suppose. These conversations tend to be lopsided or even one-sided, full of non sequiturs, as well as absolutely absurd asides and tangents. As a person preoccupied with words, who chooses his own very carefully, who takes them very seriously, it's pretty amazing to me to watch the Doozer's language skills develop. To watch as things catch on in his brain, as he examines and experiments with words, inspecting them closely and trying to figure them all out.

For Father's Day, my sister gave me a book full of blank pages interspersed with random quotes from kids, a journal to record all your child's memorable sayings. This is an excellent idea and goes hand-in-hand with my wife and I always saying, Why aren't we taking videos of him? Why aren't we recording that?

Because someday, it will all just be a memory, sadly.

Anyhow, as language skills develop, but true understanding lags slightly behind, the result is some incredible pearls of rhetoric, verbal constructions of such brilliance, that are at once hilarious, surprisingly insightful, and often downright surreal.

Perusing the pages of that book unearths some delicious nuggets of toddler wordplay.

Running under the hose while my wife waters the garden: "It's raining! I don't have an umbrella!"

[Ed. note: The Doozer often skips over pronouns and modifiers, indefinite articles. "I don't have umbrella" is probably more accurate.]

Mimicking his mother's reassurance, when something scary appears onscreen during an episode of Dora the Explorer:

"It's okay, it's just a bear, a jaguar, some flying monkeys, and a witch."

Apropos of nothing:

"Okay, okay, I count the grasshoppers all by myself."

This is one of the rare instances where our son has used the word "I" in reference to himself. Typically, it's "you." Which makes sense, in a way, because that's what he hears from us all the time. "Do you want . . . do you need . . . etc." So we often hear things like, "You want Dada carry you." And of course, he often editorializes and refers to himself in the third person. That stuff is funny.

Mostly you just sit and listen, because you have no idea what they're going to say next. Where their little mind is going to wander, what particular bon mots they will unleash.

Words, words, words. Such wonderful words.

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