Rebecca Gamble has spotted a few alarming coincidences...
To the untrained ear, your toddler emits a range of unintelligible noises - and you feel like the little boy in Lassie who has a wondrous ability to decipher their beloved pet’s paw-pointing and whining when you can work out what your little one is saying.
When you hear your child babbling, ‘Ru-ro unni’, you find yourself asking them, ‘You want to find bunny? And watch the Gruffalo? OK!’. And somehow you can understand ‘You want to go to the park and play on the swings? Got it!’ from ‘Arc ings mama!’ Kudos.
Give Us A Clue
But unfortunately, it’s not *always* that easy. Sometimes you can be in the right ballpark but just not work it out, and you end up feeling like you're Lionel Blair in Give Us a Clue. Hungry? You’re hungry? Yes. But what do you want? Banana? No! Not a banana. Toast? No, it’s not toast, I think I was closer with the banana. Pear? Yes it’s a pear! But how do you want it, steamed then mashed? No? Cut up? Yes!!! Nailed it.
And there are the times when it’s just downright impossible. Your toddler is in your face earnestly chatting to you, trying to tell you something that seems very important to them, but to you, it sounds like that adorable clay speaking penguin. You’re half expecting that seal or clickety-clackety lobster to pop up.
Learning to speak is very exciting for little ones and they like to practice their new words – a lot. A trip to the shops soon turns into a game of Catchphrase, using Roy Walker’s famous phrase ‘Say what you see’: ‘door!’, ‘baby!’, ‘car!’. And it’s brilliant when they spot daddy and shout ‘dada!’ Although it’s rather less good when they point to the man on the supermarket checkout and say it….
Or any show about divas to be honest. All toddlers have their entourage, OK, maybe it’s just you but heaven forbid you miss something off their rider. ‘You brought me to the park and FORGOT TEDDY? This is unacceptable mummy! And you think I’m going to eat mashed carrots? Maybe last week mummy but things change. Bring me something new, now! And no I actually don’t know what I want – just make it work.’
Ideally you need more than two players to really recreate this TV show so it’s best done at the weekend, usually about ten minutes before you need to leave the house to go to a christening/ BBQ/ birthday party and realise you can’t find ‘Bunny’.
You’re on the ground while your other half is in the control centre (kitchen) doing research and issuing advice. ‘Have you looked under the sofa? I think I saw her with him in there earlier? Actually, forget that, I’m looking at clue and she has her dolly with her, so it could be in the toy box dolly lives in in her bedroom’….And repeat for a good half an hour (by which point you’re late but at least your little one has stopped crying, win!).