7 ways learning to talk can catch parents off guard
Starting to talk is one of the biggest steps that our small kids make in life. It’s also awesome as parents to hear them suddenly string a sentence together that seems longer than anything that’s ever been published in The Sun. But before we get too excited, let’s remember that there are two sides to this picture. Here are 7 ways kids learning to speak that can throw us off guard.
1 - Copying the words you don’t want them to (2 years and 3 months)
Two-year olds are excellent at repeating things you say. This is unfortunate when you are used to swearing a lot, or even just a very little bit. My wife an I like to say things like ‘where on earth did he hear that?!’ when he drops is Duplo and shouts ‘sh*t!’. Or, ‘he must have got that from nursery!’, when he tuts mid-drawing a circle to clearly articulate ‘FFS’ (leaving as an acronym in case his grandma reads this).
Truth is, the chances are pretty high that it’s come from one the toddler’s parents when we faced a particularly strong moment of frustration and let our tot-sensitive guard drop.
Advice I was told, listened to, then ignored whilst potty training Little Bear, and was all the happier for it:
January this year, I started looking at toilet training Little Bear. I felt under a lot of pressure to make this work, and was slightly terrified about the idea of having to clean poo off the sofa and mop up endless puddles of wee, especially after becoming a nappy changing pro after the last 2 years.
‘I awake Pappa, Moomin’s awake, I awake, time to wake up, I awake Pappa’
The light starts getting too strong for the blackout blinds and Little Bear climbs into our bed and starts patting my head. I know that any movement will be an admission of being conscious, so I stay perfectly still, and naïvely believe that he will give up after a few minutes and let me go back to sleep. I slowly open one eye.
‘Now you awake Pappa! I awake! Weekabix! You awake Pappa! Mamma look! Pappa awake!’ and the wake up dance and jump on Pappa begins.
Getting out the door with a toddler is never easy. But when they’ve moved firmly into the ‘boundary testing stage’ at 2 and a half, it becomes all the more difficult.
Little Bear was happily riding his bike in the garden at nursery the other day when another kid, let’s call him Steve, started following him. Steve got closer and closer until he started playfully bumping into Little Bear’s bike and giggling. Should I intervene?
Maybe not, Little Bear is getting cross with Steve but no one’s getting hurt. In fact, Little Bear might even be learning some life skills about dealing with annoying people without parents swooping in. Maybe it’s an opportunity for him to learn how to talk to Steve and persuade him to- Wait! Little Bear’s buddy, Suzie, has just stepped in and pushed over Steve’s bike. Intervene? But how?
Suzie then takes Steve’s bike and rides off in victory shouting ‘My turn! My turn!’ Intervene? Hell no.
I'm Dave, dad of Little Bear. Also known as 'Pappa' to the little man as we try and bring out his Swedish roots