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Toddler talk

Barnaby is well on the way towards talking, and constantly chirrups away with a mixture of real words (“dog!”, “duck!” and “key!”) and nonsense sounds. Our conversations can get quite surreal.

“Dedth!” he cried when I suggested we go out to enjoy some sunshine. “Dedum!” He pointed to the door. “Knock,” he added.

“Would you like to go out?” I asked, knowing full well that he did.

“Dum,” he declared, heading towards the hallway. I intercepted him before he licked the soles of mummy’s shoes, and sat him down to that we could put his shoes and coat on.

“Come on Barney, let’s put your shoes on,” I said.

“Huhgeh,” he responded. “Gootch.”

We walked out to the car, and Barney did his usual thing of pointing frantically at the keyhole and yelling: “Key! Key!” Then, distracted by a passing bird, he pointed skywards and explained: “Duf. Gook!”

I told him he was a cheeky monkey as I strapped him into his car seat, and he joined in, saying “kiki”. Just before I closed the car door, he very clearly said: “Beer. Beee-err.”

We drove into town. Most car journeys are quiet, although sometimes he and I will engage in some simple wordplay:

“Barney, can you say piggy?”

“Giggy!”

“Piggy?”

“Giggy!”

“And Barney, can you say eye?”

“Eye!”

“Eye?”

“Giggy!”

We arrived in town, and headed for the swings, Barney’s favourite outdoor play equipment. As I plonked him in a swing, he made his satisfaction clear with a chuckling “ghee”.

As he swung, he added more superlatives: “Gaddth! Gook! Dayn!”

A broad smile on his face, Barney swung back and forth, back and forth.

“Nookch,” he decided, happily. “Oooll. Bee-bum.”

(12 November 2003)