Tagged Sisters

Woof: The Ten Funniest Things The Toddler Said Last Week

It’s time for the Ten Funniest Things feature, and this week there is also a word (literally) from William Wallace, sorry, The Baby.

First, Silly Mummy gives you The Toddler:

1. On ears, not safe
Silly Mummy touches The Toddler’s ear, apparently a more dangerous activity than it appears, as The Toddler yells, ‘Don’t touch it! It’s not safe!’ She does not expand upon exactly why her ear is not safe.

2. On the Tooth Fairy
The Baby is very insistently offering The Toddler a leaflet that came through the door and is now The Baby’s most prized possession. The Toddler is ignoring her eager little sister, so Silly Mummy explains that The Baby would like The Toddler to take her leaflet because she is trying to be nice. The Toddler catches on and takes the leaflet: ‘You give that to me? Thank you, The Baby.’ As is usually the way with small children, of course, The Baby only wanted to loan her prized possession to The Toddler. She is now looking hopefully at The Toddler. Silly Mummy asks The Toddler if she would like to give the leaflet back to The Baby now. The Toddler would not: ‘Not going to have it back. It’s my Tooth Fairy.’ Of course it is. Bloody Peppa Pig and her Tooth Fairy letters.

3. On Mary Poppins, summarising
The Toddler has just got to the end of Mary Poppins (again). As Mary flies off with her umbrella, The Toddler summarises the situation: ‘Mary Poppins she’s got to go and see more children. She’s got to go and fly a kite with her bag.’ Yes, that seems to about cover the end of Mary Poppins, if not correct kite flying techniques.

4. On Labyrinth, also summarising
Other films The Toddler has a perfect grasp of include Labyrinth (which Silly Daddy is inexplicably convinced any two year old would want to see): ‘Where’s the baby? We can’t find it!’ David Bowie appears, The Toddler exclaims: ‘What’s that?’

5. On distrac…fluff
Silly Mummy and The Toddler are engaged in a serious conversation, not that Silly Mummy can remember what it is about, as The Toddler seems to have led the discussion firmly down the path labelled distraction: ‘And then…Oh a bit of fluff there. Just a bit of fluff. It’s there. I get rid of it. It’s gone now.’ (As is everyone’s train of thought.)

6. On porridge, apologising for
The Toddler has been asking Silly Mummy for porridge. Silly Mummy is about to make The Toddler some food, and seeks to confirm whether porridge is still desired: ‘Do you still want to have porridge?’
The Toddler appears to feel Silly Mummy’s question implies porridge making is a particularly onerous task: ‘Yes, I do. Sorry about that. I’ll get it myself then.’

7. On her name
The Toddler is misbehaving. Silly Mummy informs her she is a little monster. The Toddler knows Silly Mummy gets confused, and patiently corrects her: ‘I’m not a monster, I’m The Toddler!’

8. On saying ‘woof’
The Toddler is saying ‘woof’. For no particular reason. This is a little odd. She’s also giving a running commentary about the fact that she is saying ‘woof’. This is more than a little odd. ‘Woof. I say woof to The Baby. I’ll say woof to you. Woof. Do you like woof, The Baby?’

9. On kettles, boring
Silly Mummy is asking The Baby to fetch her various items (to see what words The Baby understands, not because The Baby is Silly Mummy’s slave). Silly Mummy asks The Baby if she can find the kettle from the toy tea set. The Toddler has an objection and interjects: ‘You can’t have the kettle – it’s very boring.’

10. On sharing
The Toddler has been rooting around in the games cupboard she is not supposed to go in. Playing cards are now all over the floor. Silly Mummy is picking them up. The Toddler is protesting Silly Mummy’s seizure of ‘her’ property. Silly Mummy points out: ‘Those are Mummy’s cards.’
The Toddler is feeling generous: ‘I’ll share them with you.’

 
 
A word (just the one) from The Baby
The Baby has broken into the restricted (for toddlers and baby toddlers) dining area. She is very pleased with herself. She dodges Silly Mummy and manages to grab a pen before she is apprehended. As Silly Mummy approaches her, The Baby waves her pen in the air, Braveheart style, and issues her war cry: ‘Booooooop!’ You can take The Baby’s pen, but you’ll never take her bop! (In all fairness, ‘bop’ is a more rational war cry than the one William Wallace uses in that film. I’d go so far as to suggest that the course of Scottish history could have been very different had the Scots waved their pens and yelled ‘bop’ at the army of Edward I.)

Some other posts in the ‘Ten Funniest Things The Toddler Said Last Week’ feature
Week 2: I’ll Tell You What, Mummy
Week 12: Undone, Everyone
Week 18: A Spinny Armpits
Week 20: You’re a Good Winner

The Baby’s Snack

Silly Mummy is giving The Toddler and The Baby a snack. They are both waiting on the other side of the child gate at the kitchen doorway. Feeding time at the zoo.

Silly Mummy gets out a snack. The Toddler claims it. Well, first she tries to claim a different snack: ‘I have gingers? You getting me gingers, Mummy? Having biscuits?’ Once she has accepted she is not having ginger biscuits, she claims the first offered snack: ‘Oh thank you, Mummy! Thank you so much!’ The Toddler does not believe in waiting for the second offered snack. That snack has not yet been proven to exist. The Toddler does not risk snacks that may turn out not to exist. Always take the snack that is definitely real.

The Baby has been waiting hopefully next to The Toddler. The Baby is not as food obsessed as The Toddler. She is also used to having her food taken by The Toddler. Silly Mummy is trying to get out a second snack for The Baby. The Baby, however, evidently believes she missed her chance when the first snack was seized by The Toddler. With a sad little look, she toddles off, dejected. This happens frequently. If anyone remembers the old Incredible Hulk series or film, Silly Mummy is thinking that The Baby needs the closing theme music to accompany her on her sad little way. Or The Littlest Hobo music. A fugitive from snacks, always moving on before she gets her raisins.

The Toddler, who already has food, does not leave. There may be more food. Silly Mummy calls The Baby back to get her snack. The Baby does not return. The Toddler leaps into action: ‘I take it? I take it to The Baby?’ Silly Mummy is suspicious of her motives.

I’m So Busy: The Ten Funniest Things The Toddler Said Last Week

It’s Ten Funniest Things time, where frankly it is a miracle The Toddler has turned up at all: she’s so busy.

Nonetheless, here she is:

1. On needing to be on the naughty step
The Toddler has pushed over The Baby (who is now on her bottom, looking mildly confused about how she got there). Silly Mummy tells The Toddler it is naughty to push The Baby, even when you’re playing, and she needs to say sorry or she will have to sit on the naughty step. The Toddler dutifully apologises, and gives The Baby a kiss. Silly Mummy tells her to remember not to push The Baby again because next time she will have to go straight to the naughty step. The Toddler is disappointed by the lenience she has been shown. She feels she needs a hard line on punishment: ‘No, I need to go on naughty step now.’ Off she goes. To sit herself on the naughty step. She reappears when she has suitably punished herself.

2. On her make up, finishing it
Mornings are a busy time for The Toddler. She marches over to the coffee table: ‘I finish my make up.’ (It should be noted that at no point did she start her make up. She is jumping right in with finishing the make up. It should also be noted that she doesn’t have any make up.) The Toddler has forgotten something: ‘I say bye bye Daddy first before I finish my make up.’ Silly Daddy dismissed, The Toddler returns to putting on her make up. Which appears to involve moving soft building blocks from the floor to the coffee table. The Baby wanders over and sits down in all the building blocks. The Toddler is scandalised: ‘My make up! The Baby, you’re on my make up!’

3. On herself, so busy
The Toddler has been told to apologise to The Baby for aggressively snatching from her (The Toddler’s sisterly skills appear to have been questionable this week). Unfortunately, The Toddler, who is lining up a tea set, is having some scheduling issues: ‘I’m too busy. I’m going to say sorry. I’m so busy. Say sorry in a second.’ (In a complete disciplinary fail, Silly Mummy falls about laughing at this point, instead of enforcing the apology. Oops.)

4. On taking photographs, the wrong way
The Toddler has Silly Mummy’s phone, and she is taking pictures: ‘I do photo. Oops, I did it wrong way! I did button wrong way, didn’t I?’ This could indicate anything from turning on the front camera and photographing herself, to inadvertently calling for an ambulance.

5. On the cheese, looking at it
The Toddler asks Silly Mummy, ‘Do you want to look at the cheese now?’ She has not organised an inspection of the cheddar. She wants to show Silly Mummy the photographs she has taken/ambulance she has called on Silly Mummy’s phone (‘say cheese’, you see).

6. On the dog, not allowed to wake up
The Toddler is at Grandma and Pop’s house. Grandma and Pop’s dog has been sleeping under the table, but is now getting up. She has not obtained the appropriate permissions from The Toddler for this behaviour, and The Toddler puts an immediate stop to it: ‘Dog, go back to sleep! Now!’

7. On being a bit older
The Toddler has wandered over to a box of toys and is staring at it contemplatively. She has reached a conclusion: ‘I’m a bit older.’ It is unclear whether she is a bit older than she was last time she played with the toys (about an hour ago), or a bit older than the toys and asserting her authority over them, or simply philosophising.

8. On dressing gowns, lovely
The Toddler is feeling very complimentary towards Silly Mummy: ‘Your dressing gown has spots on there. It’s lovely.’

9. On wands
The Toddler has a wand (well, a drumstick), and she is using it to put a spell on a troll on the TV. She is not letting the fact that she has forgotten both the word ‘spell’ and the word ‘wand’ stand in her way: ‘I shoo it away with my witch!’

10. On The Baby, book related behaviour
The Toddler has one of Silly Mummy’s books. The Toddler no longer tries to eat or rip books, and can be trusted with paper books. The Baby cannot be trusted. The Toddler knows this. However, she would like The Baby to join her for a bit of pretend reading. She gives The Baby very clear instructions as to the expected standard of behaviour for this activity: ‘The Baby, you come and read this? We’re not going to eat it, The Baby, just read it. You come here and read it with me. Don’t eat.’

Some other posts in the ‘Ten Funniest Things The Toddler Said Last Week’ feature
Week 5: Don’t Do It
Week 12: Undone, Everyone
Week 13: I’m Not a Hufflepuff
Week 16: Ooh I Say

Speaking for The Baby

This is a blog about children’s language. Specifically, my children’s language. Mostly The Toddler’s language, The Baby’s vocabulary currently consisting of ‘cat’. I have noticed something about The Toddler’s language (hey, it’s only taken forty odd blog posts about The Toddler’s language for me to notice something about it.) What I have noticed is this: the times when The Toddler chooses to speak for The Baby are quite interesting.

Mostly, you see, The Toddler does not speak for The Baby. Much of the time, she leaves The Baby to her own babbling, shouting or fussing devices. She appears to accept that this is what The Baby does, and does not intervene. Sometimes, The Toddler is interested in what The Baby is saying, and will join in with baby talk. Very occasionally, she will try to translate (which is to say, she will make it up). Other times, she pays no attention at all.

However, when The Baby’s noises show an emotion, particularly a negative one, The Toddler will usually get involved. She will report The Baby’s feelings to Mummy: ‘The Baby is sad.’ She will offer reassurance to The Baby: ‘Don’t worry, the Baby!’ She will be on hand to assist The Baby: ‘I’m coming, The Baby!’ She will try to cuddle and kiss The Baby. She will offer dummies, water and toys.

Most notably, when something is being done to The Baby that The Baby does not like (nasal aspiration, when needed, has never been popular), The Toddler will speak for her. She will be outspoken and very insistent: ‘No! Don’t do that! Stop doing that! The Baby doesn’t like that! Don’t do it!’

Likewise, when The Toddler believes The Baby wants or needs something, she will voice the need on The Baby’s behalf: ‘The Baby want more food. Get her more food, please.’

It appears that The Toddler recognises that The Baby does not have the words to tell people how she feels or what she needs (‘cat’, as it turns out, is not the most useful of words). The Toddler uses her words on The Baby’s behalf when she believes The Baby needs help.

What does this behaviour demonstrate? It suggests that The Toddler has some understanding of how important words can be as a means of expression. Certainly, it shows that The Toddler is able to recognise emotions in others, and has learnt some appropriate responses. Perhaps there is also empathy there. Maybe The Toddler is already showing an ability to empathise with her little sister. Probably a little. She has an innate human ability for empathy, and she is starting to learn to develop it. However, at her age, it seems unlikely her understanding of others has developed to the level of true empathy yet, not empathy as adults would understand or display it. One thing I believe The Toddler’s behaviour is absolutely indicative of, is how completely she has accepted The Baby. The Baby is hers, a part of the world The Toddler views as hers. The Toddler looks after what is hers, simply because it is hers. Perhaps, then, she is protecting her sister more than understanding her, at present. Or maybe it is a little of both.

Whatever the motivation, The Toddler instinctively speaks up for one who cannot speak for herself. Adults often develop inhibitions that prevent them from speaking out, even when they feel that they should; for a toddler, nothing stands in the way.

Soon, of course, The Baby will have her own words. She will speak for herself. However, I have no doubt that there will still be times when she will need her sister to speak up for her. Just as there will be times when she is needed to speak up for The Toddler. I hope that, no matter how old they are, my girls will always understand when the other needs them. I hope they will each always have the words to fight for their sister when she can’t do it for herself.

 
 
What do you think? Are two year olds capable of showing empathy? How do your children relate to each other? Do they protect each other?