The DragonMonkey has been slow to “speak”.
Well, let me rephrase that:
He speaks all the time. The problem is that he has been slow to enunciate. He’ll say a word perfectly one time and then lose all interest in every pronunciating it correctly again.
“Mama. Purple,” he says, reaching out a chubby hand for the purple crayon I’m coloring with.
“Purple! Very good, DragonMonkey! That’s right, this is purple! Can you say it again?”
I wait for a second, before realizing that’s all that forthcoming.
“Can you say purple?”
Well, duh, Mister Literal, I want to say, but I bite my tongue and try again.
“Say ‘purple’, DragonMonkey.”
He shakes his head no, and continues coloring mutely. I sigh. Yes, he CAN say purple, but NO he won’t do it on command.
I’d worry about him being behind the curve, seeing as how he is over two years old, but the reality is that he comprehends language beautifully. He understands complex sentences in both English and Spanish. He follows detailed directions, and he’s meeting all his milestones. And it’s not like he’s not speaking… No, that’s not the problem.
The problem is that he mumbles. To make matters worse, he mumbles in a strange concoction of half-English, half-Spanish.
While my friend’s toddlers are running around, clearly enunciating (“Mama, no jacket. Me hot. No jacket, please. Sarah want more juice, peez.“) in easily understood sentences, The Bean and I are left playing a strange kind of guessing game in order to figure out what our son needs.
“Zschoop ow. Doh-Owdide.” The DragonMonkey stares up at us expectantly.
“Zschoop ow. Zschoooopppp. OOOOW.”
The Bean and I stare at each other, both shrugging. “You want soup?” I venture as a guess.
“Nyeeeeet.” The DragonMonkey shakes his head in frustration, using his own strangely grammatically-correct version of a Russian “no”. “Azchooop ow Dohowdide.”
“Aschooop ow Dohowdide. DOWHOWDIDE!“The DragonMonkey stares at me in frustration, wringing his hands, and suddenly I’m left feeling like I’m the one who is stupid.
“I’m sorry, babe, but you need to learn how to speak clearly. I have no idea what you’re asking me.” I raise my hands in surrender.
The DragonMonkey heaves a strangely adult sigh, spins around and trots down the hall. He emerges seconds later with a pair of his shoes, and thrusts them into my hands. “Aschhoooop. SCHOOOP,” he repeats slowly, as if speaking to an imbecile.
The light begins to dawn. “OOOOOh Shoes! Zschoop is shoes?”
“Yeah,” says my son, nodding once. “AZSCHOOP OW.” He raises his foot and wiggles his toes at me invitingly.
“Shoes on?” I guess again.
“Yeah,” says my son again, in an approving tone. I find myself absurdly pleased that I’m breaking through the code.
“I figured out another one!” I holler out to the Bean. “‘Azschoop ow’ means ‘Please put my shoes on.’ “
“Well, of course it does. Why didn’t we guess that before?” the Bean hollers back in an amused tone.
I find some socks and tie the laces on his chubby toddler feet. The DragonMonkey glances down and grunts once in approval.
“DoOwDide.” He stares up at me, awaiting my response.
I stare back at him blankly.
My son heaves another heavy sigh, and grabs my hand, dragging me behind him to the front door. “DoOwDide. OwDIDE.”
Once again, my dim little light bulb flickers. “Go outside?”
“Yeah!” says my son happily, apparently thrilled at my learning curve.
And so on, and so forth.
Why can’t he learn to enunciate?
Even now, as I’m typing, he’s standing beside me, trailing out a line of gibberish that’s completely uncomprehensible to anyone but him.
Ma joop = Mas (spanish for more) chips
Agua= (spanish for water)
Doggie = (fairly obvious)
Bobo= Globo (spanish for balloon)
Mama bubuu bubuu bubuuuuuuuuu= Mother, would you like to join me in the bathtub?
Dat = Cat
Doh = Go.
Eeeheeeeeheeeee! = Horse (that’s the sound they make when they neigh, after all.)
Yeah = Yeah
Da Pooo! Da POOO! = Look! Feces! My favorite thing to get excited about!
Da BOAT!= Look! Bolt the movie! It’s on.. and gee, it’s only the 346 millionth time today. Yaay!
MINE= How odd that this is one word he doesn’t have ANY trouble enunciating.
Awa Ot= Mother, I would like up. Would you lift me up, please?
Mome = Cell Phone
Owgo = Jugo (spanish for juice)
Baboon = Candy/cookies
Papoh = Popcorn
Ow Dah = All done
Awa Dow = I want down
Ada = Alla (spanish for over there.)
The list goes on. He’s speaking, but I have the strange sensation he’s the one who is teaching us HIS language instead of the other way around.
“Ma? Ma? Ma Baboon. Aww Deh? MINE. Ma! Ma Baboon! Aww Deh? MA! Awa Ot. Owgo? Owgo? DOGGIE! Ba Ma! Bah Ma! Doh! Nyet! MINE. MINE JOOP. Bah! MINE! Mama! Awa Ot!
Translation: “More? More? More cookies. All done? But they’re MINE! I want up. Juice? Juice?”
At this point he looks over and notices Max has found the little bowl of veggie chips he set down on the ground and is greedily inhaling them. “Doggie! Bad Max! Go! No! MINE. MY CHIPS. BAD! MINE!”
Having chased off the dog, he returns to his previous cajoling. “Mama! I want up!”
Kid, you’re killing me.