Toddler talk

There are so many hard things about the age Joel is right now (22 months, almost). Where to start…the total confidence in his abilities combined with the inability to do things he wants to do himself (“Da! Da!” which is the way he says his name)…the biiiiiiig tantrums when things don’t go his way (“Noooooooooo!”)…wanting to be held (“Up! Up!”) while I’m trying to make dinner but wanting to get down and run while we’re walking across the parking lot…

But something I absolutely love is the way he’s learning language. It seems like every day, he is adding new words to his vocabulary. And it’s cute how he just comes out and says something, like he’s always been able to.

Last week, he said one of his first two-word phrases. I was changing his diaper, and like I always do, I was encouraging him to tell me that he needed a diaper change. Since he was little, I’ve told him, “Say, ‘I pooped,’” so that some day in the future, he will come and tell me without me having to sniff him out. Yes, I’m already looking forward to potty training this guy.

So, anyway, I was changing his diaper, when all of a sudden Joel said, “I……….pooped.” I looked at him, and he said it again, “I……….pooped.” I congratulated him on telling me, and he continued to proudly tell me, “I……….pooped. I…….pooped. I………pooped.” Over and over and over, he said it. For the next two hours, he would play, and then suddenly say, “I…….pooped,” like he was trying to remember it.

Joel has learned a lot of new words lately, and many are words he used to know as signs: cow (he used to say “mooooo”), bib, cheese (either the food or smiling for a picture, which he likes to do), yellow, blue (although he can’t reliably identify the colors, he likes to say them), his sisters’ names, couch…

He was being so sweet the other day, giving me hugs (“Huuuuug!”) and pats on the back. “I love you, Joel,” I said to him. He looked right into my eyes, and tenderly told me, “I……..pooped.”

One of his favorite topics of conversation is swimming lessons. He likes to tell Daddy about splashing (“Pash! Pash!”), going down the little froggy-shaped slide (“laddle-laddle-laddle” with his tongue going in and out like a frog’s) and how water gets in his ears when he goes under (“Eeeeeer. Eeeeeer.” while pointing to his ears and looking very concerned).

Often, he talks about swimming lessons while taking baths. He likes to blow bubbles in the bath water, and loves it when I pull the curtain over the tub so he and Sydney can splash up a storm. Last night, Sydney was playing with a toy he wanted and he was pointing at it and grunting. “Joel,” I encouraged him, “Say, ‘Can I have a turn?’”

Joel looked at Sydney sincerely, with his eyebrows raised, and carefully said, “I……..pooped.”


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