If you’re a new mom, there’s a big adventure awaiting you. This adventure will be the most exciting, exhausting and challenging adventure you’ve ever embarked upon. One of the best things about this journey is getting to watch your child grow and learn. But guess what? You’re going to grow and learn too! When your child starts talking, it’s the cutest thing ever. And then it’s the most annoying thing ever. Because at first, you enjoy figuring out what they’re saying and it makes you so proud. Then they say it over and over and over again, and you start Googling “muzzles for children.”
I’m about to make your life a little easier. I’ve been at this mom thing for almost five years now, and I’ve learned to decipher some of the most common phrases said by children, and what they actually mean. So now, when you hear these phrases come out of your child’s mouth, you’ll be ready to respond appropriately, instead of feeling unprepared to handle the adorable, yet annoying, thing known as “child speak.”
1. “Mom, Watch This!”
In my house, I generally hear this when my little guy is jumping on the couch. It’s my cue to watch as he practices his own style of toddler gymnastics. In kid terms, this simply means, “Watch me do (insert trick of choice here) 50 times, even though every single time it will look exactly the same. Keep your eyes peeled on me and don’t even blink until I say it’s time to stop.”
2. “I’m Hungry”
Children and food aren’t always the best of friends. When it comes to their appetites, children are fickle. If you hear “I’m hungry,” what it really means is “Mom, can you get me something to eat? Make sure you peel/chop/cut it up really well, and put it on the red plate. Then I’m going to take one bite and decide it’s gross. Then I’ll want something else to eat. But this time, don’t cut it up, and put it in the blue bowl instead.”
3. “I Need to Go Potty”
You’ll hear this phrase often during those wonderful potty training years. And what I’ve learned is that it’s really not something you want to hear. Because what your child is really saying is “I already went potty. In my undies. And on the kitchen floor. Oops. I thought ‘I need to go potty’ meant to tell you once I’ve already had an accident.” And when you hear this, you’ll pray that by “potty,” your child means #1 and not #2.
4. “Look Mom!”
Our children know that we love watching them impress us with their skills and talents. But sometimes they think they’ll impress us by doing something they shouldn’t be doing. Whether or not they do it intentionally, I don’t know. What I do know is that this two-word phrase means trouble. It means, “I’m making a complete mess with a substance that is a bitch to clean. And I’m making the mess all over the place because I think it’s hysterical!” You might also hear another variation, “Mom, look what I did!” which is just as bad.
5. “I Want to Do It!”
Once a toddler discovers he is able to do something, he wants to do it. Whether it’s tying his shoes, putting on his clothes, feeding himself or helping you make dinner, if a toddler says he wants to do it, you better let him do it. But then, expect him to get upset, because “I want to do it!” also means “I want to try and do it, but once I get frustrated, I’ll need your help. And when you start to help me, I’ll be pleased for about two seconds before I start proclaiming ‘I want to do it’ again.”
6. “Will You Read Me A Book?”
This child speak phrase is one you’ll probably hear every night. And it’s one you’ll probably battle your child with at least every other night. Because this translates to “Will you read me my favorite book? And then read it again? And then read it five more times? Make sure you use the right voices for the characters. Now let me read along with you. You’re reading too fast! Start over.”