Is there anything more endearing than a toddler’s perspective on the world? Yes, my twin girls are big kids now at nearly nine years old, but a few blinks ago, they were toddlers. There are certain observations of theirs that live in a special vault of joy in my memory. I pull them out and look at them on occasion. This is one of those.
Meet Antelope, pronounced “Aninam” in the 23-month-old edition of M&J-ese. Antelope, along with 5 other animal hand puppets, was a gift from my high school English teacher when I found out I was pregnant. (Yes, I had awesome teachers. Who else not only stays in touch with former students in adulthood, but sends them gifts from continents away?)
On the drive home from daycare, then 23-month-old M and I had this conversation:
M: Sissy Kwirro.
Sadia: Yes, J has Squirrel and you have Antelope.
M: Aninam nose.
Sadia: Yep, Antelope has a nose, just like you.
M: Aninam eyes. Ooooone, twoooo eyes. Two eyes. Ears. Aninam oooone, twooo ears. Nana.
M: No. Nana!
M: No! Nana!
M: Yeah! Aninam nana!
Allow me to clarify.
When the word “horn” has yet to enter your vocabulary, “banana” will do just fine. This sort of creative usage of the words at your disposal is common to first language learners and adult second language learners alike, and is called circumlocution. Another great example is a toddler saying “wall on the top” when they haven’t yet learned “ceiling”.
What memory of toddler confusion brings you the greatest joy?