Baby Soups an’ Plip Plops

Imagine waking up one day and discovering that everyone around you only understood German—and you didn’t speak German. Everything was as it was the day before, except no one understood a word you were saying. You understood them, but your words were completely lost on them. That must be what it is like to speak Toddler Speak.

Toddler Speak is that peculiar language created by developing young minds that don’t have the grasp of abstract ideas nor the coordination to truly control their mouths and tongues as well as they would like. Toddler Speak is different from Baby Speak because speakers of Baby Speak don’t expect to be understood. They really don’t know what they want beyond food, sleep and less smelly bottoms. Toddler Speakers know exactly what they are talking about and what in blazes is the matter with you, Dummy, that you don’t understand them?

Toddler: “I want an apple with the skin cut off and I want it in the blue bowl, please.”

Foreigner: “You want to wear your boots? We’re not going outside yet, Buddy.”

Toddler: “No, I want an apple with no skin in the blue bowl, if you don’t mind.”

Foreigner: “You have to go potty? Okay, come on over here and I’ll take your pants off.”

Toddler: “Don’t touch my pants. I just want an apple. An apple! NOW!”

Foreigner: “Now, now, don’t start a tantrum. That won’t do you any good.”

Toddle: “Then get me the blasted apple! All I want is an apple and I will be happy! Is that too much to ask? What is wrong with you? Why won’t you get me an apple? Oh, great. I just wet my pants.”

This example demonstrates the source for the Terrible Twos. Apparently, it’s the parents’ fault. It also demonstrates the benefit of having the parent who can best interpret Toddler Speak be the Stay-At-Home while the kids are growing into their mouths.

My wife is better at translating Toddler Speak than I am. In fact, I’m not very good understanding German, either, even though I studied it in college and purchased three different “Teach Yourself” programs since then.

When I hear, “blah gobbledy goo goo blah,” my wife hears, “I want a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.”

Once, at a hotel at Walt Disney World, both of our two-year olds were having meltdowns because Daddy had no idea what “I wah baby soups an’ plip plops” meant. I understood the “I want” part of the demand, but the rest was a blur of poor enunciation. We were preparing to go to The Magic Kingdom when the clash of cultures arose.

“I wah baby soups an’ plip plops! Baby soups an’ plip plops!” they screeched from their tantrum positions on the floor.

“I don’t know what you are talking about!” I bellowed back from on high.

My wife walked in. She bent down and quietly said, “We aren’t going to the pool today. We are going to Mickey Mouse’s house. You can wear your bathing suits and flip flops tomorrow.”

We all stopped crying.

I asked my wife if she would consider staying home for a while, say eighteen months, while the girls grew up a little and I learned how to speak German.

©2009, Mark Phillips

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 Women, it's true, make human beings, but only men can make men. - Margaret Mead

Mark Phillips is a Stay-At-Home-Dad and freelance writer. Along with raising his four children, he is developing a franchise called “The Vacuum IS a Power Tool.” It is designed to help SAHDs maintain that which makes us men, instead of hairy Mom-substitutes. He earned a B.S. in Communication/Theatre Arts and teaching certificates in English, public speaking, and psychology from Eastern Michigan University. After six years as a high school English teacher and Director of Dramatic Arts at Powers Catholic High School in Flint, Michigan, he changed careers and became a Stay-At-Home-Dad. or E-Mail

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