10 Things Our Toddler Is Trying To Tell Us

Have you ever listened to the gobbledygook gushing from your toddler’s mouth and felt like you’ve moved to a foreign land?

And we’re not talking about a familiar Latin tongue like Spanish or a distant relative such as Hindi. No, this is like stumbling upon one of the lost tribes of the Amazon; a language whose syntax, inflections, and semantics are utterly alien to our ears.

We all spoke this language once but unfortunately we’ve since forgotten how to speak baby. Much to our own baby’s annoyance.

So when should babies start talking? According to the internet, babies start to acquire their first language (or multiple first languages in a multi-lingual family) from birth. Newborns respond more readily to human speech than to other sounds. And from around one month old, babies can spot different speech sounds. Actual words start to appear between the ages of 12 to 18 months and the average vocabulary of an eighteen-month-old is around 50 words.

So babies can understand us before we understand them. They probably pick up the meaning of important words like milk, book, bath, bed (if you’re lucky). It must be very frustrating to grasp what someone is saying to you but not be able to tell them what you want.

I’ve seen Baby B become very cross in the past couple of months as his idiot staff fail to respond to his commands and whims, his logical request for a mid-morning paintbrush which we interpret as wanting a snack or a beaker of water – what fools we are!

At fourteen months we’ve really only heard ‘Dadda’ and something that we think means Panda – his favourite toy, which we do say a lot to him. We are yet to have a ‘m’ or any ‘b’ words, which are the next easiest to pronounce. Of course there are always going to be people who claim their baby was reciting Keats at 6 months but I think there is a lot of parental exaggeration about so I prefer to let my own ears be the judge of that!

Some people say ‘Oh well, boys do take longer to talk than girls’, but although this may be true I think there is a lot of communication going on that can be missed or worse, ignored, because babies aren’t saying recognisable words.

I am not remotely worried about the lack of words at this stage as Baby B seems to have developed his own little language. He will babble at length, using a variety of long and short sounds, rising and falling pitch, and pauses for effect.

He combines all of this with lots of gestures; pointing, waving his hands, waving his whole arm for added drama sometimes, as if he’s conducting an orchestra.

I find this whole process fascinating and I honestly can’t wait for him to say words; I really want to know what his speaking voice sounds like. That’s such a hard thing to imagine, much harder than imagining what it would be like seeing him walk.

For now we will continue to try our best to interpret.

So here is my take on the top ten things our toddler is trying to say:

1. The cat whisperer

B and Bumble

“Wondrous Pusscat. Come down from your perch.

I long to climb upon your mighty back and ride like the wind!”

2. Into the matrix

B and TV

I’m just off to see Abney and Teal, Sarah and Duck, and Iggle Piggle. I’ll be back in time for dinner…

3. The daily grind

B and dishwasher

No! The plates go on the left and the dishes go on the right.

The forks are all mixed up with the spoons. 

Now I’ve got to re-stack everything!

4. Got the X Factor?

B & piano

Am I through to the live finals?

Judge’s houses? Boot camp?

Surely I’ve got four big fat yeses?

I want this soooooooooo much!

5. Secret agent

Baby hiding behind sofa

You ain’t seen me.


6. The magical door

B & cupboard

Shhh. There is a bear in this secret cupboard.

I only borrowed him.

He doesn’t bite.

7. Handybaby

Toddler holding paint brush

Sorry mum and dad – this job is going to cost you a bit more than I quoted.

8. Too sweet?

Baby eating ice cream

Ice cream? THIS is ice cream?! WHY have I not tasted this before?

I want ice cream every breakfast, lunch and dinner!!!!

I’m never sleeping agaaaaaain!!! 

9. The mountaineer

Baby on stairs

What do you mean what am I doing? Going to have a bath and go to bed.

That’s what you want isn’t it?

Some people are never happy.

10. Innocent?

Baby in a cot

It wasn’t me.

It was panda who made that smell.

Too much bamboo gives him wind. Honest.

What was your little one’s first word?

Bye for now 🙂

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25 replies »

  1. My son is taking a lot longer than my daughter did. I am not worried yet (16 months) he will talk at some point. I hope! Great little blog idea very cute . Thanks for linking #wineandboobs – Emma from Handbags and Snot Rags

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  2. Aww love those photos! That’s interesting that M and B are the easiest to say, my 20 month old is quite good with her speech but often replaces letters with B. For example the girls next door are Beebee and Billie (Phoebe and Millie) and Mr Tumble is Bumble. I love this stage and hearing speech develop is amazing. People stress a lot about speech and when they start speaking but it usually always comes eventually and then you can’t stop the flow hehe!! #wineandboobs


    • Thanks for reading and commenting! I think it’s something to do with how you make the sounds. M and B are at the front of your mouth and don’t really involve the tongue or anything complicated with teeth. It’s only when you really think through what you do naturally every day that you realise how hard learning to speak is!


  3. haha! I LOVE the photos that go along side, this is such a great post and I think you’ve got the captions spot on 😉 Thanks for linking up to #TheList xx

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  4. haha this is fantastic! Made me laugh all the way through!

    I do think the saying ‘boys take longer to talk to than girls’ is totally false, my eldest started saying hello at 4 months.. my youngest is 13 months and says 3 words – both boys. It’s definitely in the individual personalities I think as my eldest is a lot more forthright than my youngest, he’s very chilled and isn’t really all that bothered for walking yet.
    I love the photo’s.. great addition! 🙂


  5. Great post! My 16 month old definitely understands a lot, he will do things we ask (and then undo whatever, I.e when he finds his shoes after I ask him to, he then hides them elsewhere!). But he can only say bye bye and hello, sort of…. Must be very annoying for them!!


  6. Love this, I think they definitely have got so much they want to say before they can actually get the words out. I’ve been to sing and sign groups with my baby and she clearly understands some signs and words even though she can’t communicate them herself yet. I can’t wait for the talking to start but think I might have at least a couple of months to wait.

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  7. Love this. My youngest is just about to turn 14 months. He says “hello” all day long, to everyone. But you have to say it back otherwise he will be in your face shouting it until you say “hello” back.
    Thanks for linking up to #FridayFrolics


  8. Great post and I love the translations! My older son didn’t speak for ages but was experimenting with different sounds and tones and won’t shut up now, so it sounds like your little man is well and truly on course. 🙂


  9. Ha, some fantastic photos there, Adrian – you’ve really captured some special little moments. Two of our three were early talkers but Toby (our middle one) didn’t really say very much of anything until he was nearly four. Now, however, there’s no stopping him. Breakfast time in our house is just a cacophony. I long for the days when they didn’t say much and we had to guess what was going on in their heads. (Actually, I don’t. I love listening to all three of them verbalising their thoughts.)


  10. Stanley said “dada” at around 9-10 months….hit 1 year and could say EVERYTHING 😂
    Honestly don’t know where it came from haha! It’s like having a mini adult around the house x

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