Introducing the Toddler-to-English Dictionary

“Guk! Boa guk!” my toddler shouts, commanding me from his throne (high chair).

 

A few seconds later, his tone softens as he smiles. “Seeyo? Seeyo?” he sweetly suggests, eyes open and innocent. (He really knows how to play mama good)

 

Most people would have no freakin’ clue what he’s trying to say. But I’m not most people. I’m his mom. And through months of arduous practice, I’ve fumbled and forged my way to fluency. Yes, I’m proud to say that I’m now proficient in toddler (at least my son’s dialect of it). So what did my son say, you ask? Well, first he demanded “more milk” (boa guk), and then asked if he can have “cereal” (seeyo).

 

While this new language acquisition may not earn a spot on my professional resume, it does enable me to actually semi-engage in a two-way conversation with my 21-month old. Sure, we may not be able to wax poetic on politics or global affairs, but we have finally graduated from the world of wacky hand gestures, incessant pointing, and  interrogative yes/no questioning.

 

I recently realized that, while I may be fluent in toddler, those who babysit him may not be. Therefore, being the word nerd and content strategist that I am, I decided to catalog his current roster of words—particularly their phonetic pronunciations and definitions.

 

Not only does this custom dictionary help grandma/grandpa and daycare, but it also gives me a written account of his adorable pronunciations before they morph into the correct ones. If you have a toddler yourself, I recommend generating your own custom dictionary of his/her words. 🙂

 

Toddler-to-English Dictionary (Hendrix Edition)

 

A-cup [AY-kup]

noun

  1. Uncle Jake/Jacob
  2. No, this is not a jab at the size of your jugs

 

adun [ahh-DUN]

phrase

  1. “All done” (often repeated incessantly at the beginning an undesirable act, such as changing a poopy diaper)

 

agen [ahh-GEN]

adverb

  1. Again
  2. Also see: moa

 

ama [ahh-ma]

noun

  1. Grandma Dianne

 

apa [ahh-pa]

noun

  1. Grandpa Jim
  2. Grandpa Jeff

 

baba [bah-bah]

noun

  1. Bottle

 

beedo [BEE-doh]

noun

  1. Noodles (one of his current food obsessions)

 

boa [bow-ahh]

adjective

  1. More
  2. Also see: agen

 

bokin [bow-kin]

adjective

  1. Broken

 

bubbo [buh-bow]

noun

  1. Bubble bath (not just the bubbles, but the act of taking a bath itself)

 

Bugga [bug-ahh]

noun

  1. “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” – a television series in which the main character says “Ugga Mugga” at the end of each episode

 

bupps [bupz]

noun

  1. Puffs (one of his snacks)

 

choo-choo [choo-choo]

noun

  1. Train (generic)

 

cookie-cookie-cookie [KOO-kee-KOO-kee-KOO-kee]

noun/phrase

  1. Cookies (often repeated incessantly until cookies are presented)

 

dada [dah-dah]

noun

  1. Daddy (Tim)

 

dakow [DAH-kow]

phrase

  1. “It’s dark out” (usually said in early morning or after sunset)

 

Daydie [DAY-dee]

noun (plural)

  1. Sadie (one of his favorite daycare teachers)

 

deedee [DEE-dee]

noun

  1. TV/television

 

deesh [DEE-shhh]

pronoun

  1. “This” (generic pronoun for anything he doesn’t know the word for yet)

 

Dim [dim]

noun

  1. Tim
  2. Also see: dada

 

duk [duh-k]

noun

  1. Truck (most often this)
  2. An actual duck

 

Gee-Gee [ghee-ghee]

noun

  1. Great-grandma Irene

 

guk [guh-k]

noun

  1. Milk (most often this)
  2. Truck (also see: duk)

 

keys [keez]

noun

  1. Cheese

 

mama [mah-mah]

noun

  1. Mommy (Rachel)

 

 

Monnie [MAH-nee]

noun

  1. Bunny (generic)
  2. Bonnie (one of his daycare teachers)

 

moo-baa [moo-bahhh]

noun

  1. Sheep (generic)
  2. Specifically, his stuffed animal sheep that projects constellations onto the ceiling when turned on

 

Nana [nah-nah]

noun

  1. Grandma Linda

 

ny0k-nyok [nee-yahh-k-nee-yahh-k]

phrase

  1. Knock-knock (on the door)

 

okay [oh-KAY]

exclamation

  1. “Yes” (usually said in a way that suggests that you came up with the idea, not him)

 

peepee [pee-pee]

verb

  1. The act of peeing
  2. Not a reference to his or your manhood (not yet, anyways)

 

peeta [PEE-tah]

noun

  1. Pizza

 

poopin [POO-pin]

verb

  1. The act of pooping (often shouted while mama or dada try to slink off to the bathroom)

 

seeyo [see-yoh]

noun

  1. Cereal (usually in reference to Honey Nut Cheerios, his all-time favorite)

 

wawa [wah-wah]

noun

  1. Water

 

wuvvie [whaa-vee]

noun

  1. Lovey (his BFF and sleeping companion)

 

yah [yahhhhh]

adverb

  1. “Yes” (often said either very quickly, or long and drawn out with a strong Midwestern accent)

 

Yoze [Yoh-zzz]

noun (plural)

  1. Rose (his favorite daycare teacher)

 

 

 

2 Comments
  • Barbara Gibson
    March 12, 2016

    He makes perfect sense to me and I think he is precious and very brilliant.

  • Sarah
    April 20, 2016

    This is hilarious! I wrote something like this in my son’s journal. And just recently told my husband that I’m fluent in toddler. I have… A very specific… Skill set…

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