The Toddler’s Alphabet (part 4)

T is for thank you. Often missing from a toddler’s vocabulary until much haranguing has taken place. Or T for tomorrow, which toddlers have absolutely no concept of whatsoever: “Are we going swimming today, mummy?” “No, tomorrow.” “This day?” “No, after you wake up.” And you can forget the concept of time beyond the next 24 hours. I nearly broke E’s brain trying to explain that his birthday was eight months away.

U is for uh-oh. Learnt early on, it can be applied in a multitude of circumstances, but is usually uttered slowly by a toddler just after they have broken something of yours that is valuable. And quite probably irreplaceable. Like your will to live.

V is for very, used to compensate for a lack of vocabulary: “It is very, very, very, very big, mummy.” “Is it huge?” I reply, trying to give him an alternative word to replace his repetition. “No, it is very, very, very, very big.” So there.

W is for why. Oh my god, the why question. I am sure this is used alongside water boarding and sleep deprivation by the military. Oh, and with it’s almost as irritating alphabet-mate, whinging.

X is for xylophone. The only reason this instrument has not been confined to the pile marked ‘firewood’ is that no one knows any other word to teach a toddler for X. And quite frankly, X-ray is just bloody cheating.

Y is for yukky. Can apply to almost any substance or circumstance. Often: “Mummy, you smell yukky.” Well, it takes one to know one.

Z is for Zebra. The only Z word you learn, along with zoo and zip, until the age of 26.

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