It would seem that Lilly has decided it is much more efficient to communicate using homonyms. Mommy and Daddy are left to figure out her meaning based on context, tone, and body language. She manages to get all her needs taken care of based on surprisingly few words. Anyone with a toddler will tell you that it really is a second language. I studied Mandarin in middle school and Vietnamese in college. It would be kind to say that I was not particularly stellar in either of them. I find tonal languages very difficult, so if Lilly keeps this up she may have to fend for herself more and more. Luckily I have managed to keep up with her so far. Here is a smattering of “English” from Lilly’s perspective. We’ll call it Linglish. I have compiled a Linglish-English Dictionary. Then if anyone else is going to watch my kids I can simply refer them to my blog and understanding Lilly will be a breeze.
kah-kah – can mean both “cracker” and “thank-you.” Tone is particularly important here. Kah-kah? Means ‘May I have a cracker?’ while ‘kah-kah!’ Means ‘thank-you!” However, when body language is involved, that trumps tone every time. “Kah-kah!” stated while pointing to the cupboard and stomping her feet means she is simply going to die of starvation if she doesn’t eat a cracker NOW (and will always find her cracker-less until she finds her manners!).
‘siu’ can mean either ‘soup’ or ‘cereal.’ This can be a tricky one to decipher…Generally time of day is the best indicator of which meaning she intends but she does snack on cereal sometimes in the afternoon so this is somewhat guesswork. Just show her the cereal. If she cries, she meant ‘soup.’
‘go’ can mean ‘milk,’ ‘yogurt,’ or ‘gross.’ However when it means ‘milk’ it is accompanied by the sign language for ‘milk.’ When she means ‘gross’ it is always preceded by ‘eeeewwww’ and she generally has a mess all over her hands or is on the changing table. By process of elimination a straight up ‘go’ means ‘yogurt.’
‘beebee’ means she either wants her baby doll or berries. If it is said in a super screeching panicked way, it means her big sister has taken her baby doll away from her.
‘poopie’ means she either has a dirty diaper, OR “I know you always pay attention to me when I say ‘poopie’ so I’ll say that so you come over to me.” If you’re in the middle of making dinner it’s a pretty good indicator that it is the latter.
‘ho’ While it’s not used as a homonym, I thought I would include the fact that if she yells ‘ho!’ at you, she is not name calling, it means she needs ‘help.’
‘nigh-nigh’ – Either means she is tired and wants to go to sleep OR she wants to pretend to go to sleep. It is currently her favorite game to play. Just lay her on the couch, snuggle a blanket around her, and she will commence fake snoring.
This wraps up our Linglish tutorial for the day! I hope grandparents were paying particular attention since Andy and I will be happy to give you some quality time with the girls over the holidays in exchange for a date-night. 😉