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Learning the lingo


The Dad Diary
Edwin McGreal

We all take talking and being able to communicate with words for granted, but it must be a magical feeling for a toddler to be able to talk and finally let their parents know what they want.
Frankie was two in November. In the weeks leading up to her birthday, and every week since, her vocabulary has mushroomed.
Her comprehension of language was very good before that. For instance we’ve been saying ‘Are you going to beddies?’ for months, and Frankie will drop everything and rush excitedly towards her bedroom. (Long may that last.)
Back then, though, she was not always able to tell us what she wanted, so more often than not, she would forget about it and move on. Now it’s a different story. With her increasing vocabulary, Frankie reckons she can tell us what she wants and get it pronto.
Unfortunately, it does not always work like that. She will roar ‘Phone!’ when she sees either of us with ours. We have to resist and put our phones out of sight, but that doesn’t always go down well.
Other times she will talk jibberish when making a request, perfectly confident that she is imparting the message correctly, and then get very frustrated when we have not a clue what she’s saying.
It’s a similar story when she says ‘We go walkies?’, oblivious to the fact that it’s raining cats and dogs outside.
But mostly it is lovely to hear all the words. She can name most of her toys and everything she likes to eat. The first attempt at naming food was ‘nana’ for banana. She has now progressed to ‘wanana’. It sounds much cuter than the proper word.
She will gleefully repeat words when you prompt her. Trouble is, she will be even more likely to copy you when you say something she should not be repeating.
My viewing of football sometimes comes with a swear word or two. These utterances can be doubled by the time Frankie is finished. So now I have to behave myself, and if I forget, we have to pretend she did not say it, so as not to draw attention to it.
She has also picked up a great Irish greeting, ‘How are ya?’. I might be out shopping and Frankie will greet strangers with the very familiar salutation. It’s earns her plenty of smiles.
The counting has started now as well. If you get ten blocks and place them in a box one at a time, she will count from one to ten. A video of this has been widely shared in family
WhatsApp groups by her far-too-pleased parents.
So too has a video of Frankie repeating the word ‘fork’ to her heart’s content at dinner time. It sounds like another four-letter word, but thankfully Frankie remains oblivious to the joke … for now.

In his fortnightly column, Edwin McGreal charts the ups and downs of the biggest wake-up call of his life: parenthood.