Using his words.

My poor two year old. He has so much to say but so few people understand what the hell he is saying. It is as if he is living in a country where he understands the language but, no matter how hard he tries, he can’t speak like the natives. We have taught him some sign language, which has helped a lot. But his thoughts are more complicated than the few limited hand gestures he knows. He wants to talk like a big boy. And he is trying his damnedest too. He comes at us with his big open cherub face, blue eyes gleaming “woog ah mee da!” (translation: “Look at me, Dad”) My sweet boy, he’s trying so hard.

Every afternoon, I pack C. into the car and we drive a half hour over to T.’s school to pick him up from kindergarten. They are still “tweaking” the car pick up line (apparently) and the wait tests both of our patience. This afternoon, 15 minutes ahead of school dismissal time, we pulled up to the endless double row of cars, found our spot in line and I turned off the engine. It’s Florida, in August. The sun is hot. The parking lot’s tarmac is just as hot. I rolled our windows down for some breeze and texted my husband. It was then I heard a little peep from the back.

“I wan doy.”

“Um hmmm, one sec.” texttexttexttexttext…

“I wan doy.”

I turn around. “What do you want, hon?”

“I wan doy!”

“Toy? Which toy?” And I scan the crap on the floor of the car from something special that caught his eye.

‘No. DOY!”

“Not toy??? How about a book?”

(Sharp yell of frustration.) “DOOOOY!”

“I don’t understand honey. How about some milk?”

“AHHHHHMMMMAAAAAHHHHHHAAAHHH (high high, VERY high pitched squeal ensues.) DOOOOOYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

He’s purple now, mad. Straining against his car seat straps. Pointing at something in the center console.

“Well, honey” (and I can’t believe I said this) “You need to use words. Screaming is not going to get your way.” And with that, I turned back around and dialed the school’s office. T. would be late to school the next day due to a dentist appointment and I wanted to be sure they knew. Better not to give this tantrum any reinforcement, right?

Well. Stand back. A full throttle, kiss my grits and call me Sally, 2 year old, practically epileptic FIT wound into high gear in the backseat of my car. He thrashed, screamed, squealed, “DOOOOY!!!!! DOOOYYYYYYY!!!!! DOOOOAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!” He was frothing at the mouth, the car was rocking ever so gently, he was pointing at my console and kicking the utter crap out of the seat in front of him. Meanwhile…

“Yes, This is Caroline, T.’s mother. (“BAAAAAHHHHAAA DDOOOOOOOOOHHHHYYY!!!!!”) I would just like to (WAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH) let you all know (WAAAAAAAAAAAAH) that T. will (MAAAAAAAHHHH DDAAAAAHHHH) be late tomorrow due to (EEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAHHHHHHDDDAAAAHHHH) a dentist appointment. (EEEEEEEEEEEEE…. – can’t hear it any longer but I swear dogs are barking in the distance at this point.)

Eventually, I start the car, I am sweating like a mad woman and crank the A/C. We inch up. The tantrum doesn’t slow one teensy bit.

“Oh hon. WHAT?!!!! WHAT! IS! IT!” (EEEEEEEEEEEE) Seriously, I was going to loose my mind. What. The. Hell.


And as I was moving along the car line, slowly but surely, annoyed mothers all around me, I glanced down at the center console. There sits a dime.

“C. Do you mean a… coin?” And I hold up the dime.



And a smile explodes across his face – seriously, its one like you’ve never seen. Utter, pure, joy, relief, even ecstasy. A Doy. A COIN. Cripes.

So, while he chants “DOY! DOY! DOY! DOY!” from the backseat, I hand over the dime. And he could not be happier. Just like that, all was solved. He talks to the coin, he has a full blown conversation with it. Don’t you dare tell me it’s a choke-able either.  (I’ll show you a %$&#@! choke-able…) And grateful, relieved for the peace at last, I pay him off with a variety of coins from that center console. I hear “Dis lillwwwew doy” (translation: “This is a little coin.”) and “Dis BEEEG (gruff voice) doy!” (translation: “This is a BIG coin.”)

Doy. You gotta be kidding me. My poor baby IS using his words, I just need to figure out how to hear them.



Filed under Children, Communication, Educating myself, Guilt and motherhood, Language, Talking, Teaching kids

8 responses to “Using his words.

  1. And a pretty complicated word at that–not just “money” but “coin!”

    Wait until he starts earnestly talking! Sounds like he’ll have a lot to say : )

  2. Awww. Most people don’t understand my 2 year old, but I do…most of the time. And than I am baffled when others don’t. Like “you don’t know that obacus is octopus, what’s wrong with you?”

  3. LOL. Great story. Isn’t it frustrating when THEY know what they are saying and YOU don’t have a clue?? Doy. Love it.

  4. No matter how good we think we are at translating Totenies we always miss a few words

  5. I know how frustrating it is to understand but just think how much you’ll miss that sweet talk when the boys are teenagers and stop talking to you all together. My little Deal is a chatterbox, so he was babbling and making up words on the last leg of our flight today. The next thing we know, he’s chanting CUNT while thrashing his markers around like they’re conductor batons. Totally random because I SWEAR we don’t talk like that around here.

  6. Morningside Mom's Mom

    I remeber it well. Your brother had a frustration yell that could shatter glass.

    One day I was helping my sister struggle with a university level nursing lesson on child abuse to a group of fine, young, non-mothers. They just couldn’t understand how a mother could possibly lose her temper and even touch her child in anger. Now your brother was in the room with us, age 2, he wanted to go ourside. After about an hour, my sister said, We did this all wrong. We should have taped your son and simply played it for the length of the lecture. By the time his yells reached ear damaging range, about to become nurse would have a much better understanding and probably be ready to throw the tape recorder out the window.

    We both gave up at that point took your brother for the walk he wanted outside the house.

  7. Mary

    You had me cracking up. Almost peed my pants. Being that there are SEVEN years between my second child and my third, I do appreciate this little reminder of what I have to look forward to! I’d nearly forgotten, but all my friends are certainly anxious to remind me of all the trials ahead.

  8. Great story. That one had me laughing out loud…until I remembered that my little man was sleeping. Shhhhhhh. 🙂
    Alex has many, many words that I have yet to figure out. I try very hard to understand and to see exactly where he’s pointing. It’s tough, but at least it can be funny at times….after the fact, of course.

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