A toddler’s conversation is based on things they know, their limited experiences in life. This is to the advantage of mommy or a caregiver as it allows you a small frame of reference to decipher their scrambled sentences and limited vocabulary. I’m the only one in my son’s life who knows almost everything he is saying, or at the very least what he is trying to say because I’m aware of all of his experiences and what ‘stimulates’ his mind.
Abby is the five year old daughter of our next door neighbour, she visits every second weekend and during the summer will stay for longer periods of time. Last summer, before our son was two, he began a strong interest in all that Abby does. If he saw Abby outside, he would talk about her repeatedly, he would want to go to her house to play with her but once they were together, he was star struck and didn’t know ‘how’ to play with her so he was quiet. As soon as she was gone, she was all he would talk about.
Fast forward to now, the weather has been cooler and we don’t see Abby as often as we once did. If we do see her, it is briefly as she goes from ‘Abby’s daddy’s truck’ into the house. In her absence, our topics have involved the latest guest in our home like Nanny, Aunty Njyen, Grandmam or Brumpa. He will often discuss the most recent visitor for several days stating they should come “Home Soon” (they should return).
One consistent ‘presence’ in our lives has been Abby’s daddy’s truck. The truck has a ‘can’t miss it’ muffler. We will be sitting having dinner and our toddler will tune in to the muffler sound stating, “Abby’s daddy home”. When the truck starts in the morning, he says, “Abby’s daddy’s truck on.” We can be playing anywhere in our home and when we hear the muffler he will exclaim, “Abby’s daddy home!” This topic of Abby has now evolved into Abby’s daddy.
Abby’s daddy has become the answer to all questions that start with the word ‘who’.
At bedtime I ask my son who we should pray for, the first on his list, Abby’s daddy!
He picks up his toy phone and who does he call? Abby’s daddy!
At dinner yesterday, after we finished our grace, he stops us to say, “Pray, Abby’s daddy too.”
He picks up the phone and tells me, “Mommy, I talk to Abby’s daddy.” “Hi Abby’s daddy, watch potty dance, mommy turn on yellow candle, baby sit in chair. bye Abby’s daddy.”
I tell you today, if Abby’s daddy came knocking on the door, my boy would be too shy to say ‘hi’ despite talking about and to him all day long.