The year I got fluent in Toddlerese
Updated: Apr 26
The pearls of wisdom from a 2 years old, my (almost) 2 years old daughter
You adults take everything so seriously.
In your grown up world, you do your grown up things. You wake up, go to places, work work work, run run run, eat whatever and sleep. You are so serious, upset, sad, mad...
When it comes down to answers, you act like you know it all. I get it, you have seen it a lot. You complain about stuff. Your jobs, bosses, life…
I feel like "knowing it all" doesn’t help you to be more wise or happy sometimes mommy. I want you to remember some things that I discovered from my first two years.
I may have been around for a little while ( 2 years to be exact!) Yet I think I know some things by heart and before I grow up and unlearn them, I want you to know these secrets:
Listen up, I have couple of wisdom to pass by.
1- Good play means good sleep mommy
I know they asked you about my sleep, mommy. Your family, neighbors, a complete stranger on the street...
"Does she sleep?" and "How does she sleep?"
Well, you know, it took me a while to sleep through the night. 9 months to be exact. I needed my milk at 3am for the first 9 months and thanks for being so patient with me!
and once I was one year old, I started sleeping very well at night.
Well, sometimes I still struggle with my naps during the day and I still can't tell you what is bothering my exactly. It can be my teeth, (yeah, you always put so much blame on teething for enigmatic sleep regressions, right?) my diaper or an empty stomach... who knows? sometimes I can not soothe myself to sleep...even though I need to sleep. I know it can be hard to figure out it mommy, yet with daddy, you always do!
I just want you to let you know something that I discovered mommy; that could be very useful. When I play well during the day, when I spend time with my toys and with you or daddy, I sleep much better.
It doesn't have be long, perhaps 15-30 minute of your time.
But I want that time mommy, I need that play. It shows me how much you care and love me.
I just love playing with you and daddy. You are my best play friends (for now!)
I love going through my books with you,
I love when we sing "heads, shoulders, knees and toes" with you...
I love building block towers and listening to songs from my guitar dog...
I also love when we listen to the Mulberry Bush song on Netflix...
I mean, so many options for us to choose... so let's make this clear mommy, good play means good sleep.
I think it is a fair deal! I can't promise that I will not go through another sleep regression or teething again... or have a mystical cry, yet I can guarantee you most of the time, I will go down smoothly and happily if I feel like it was a playful day.
So, my advice to you mommy, if you want me to sleep well, please spend sometime with me during the day. Let's play together and I will sleep much better.
2- Randomness means purposeful – look at me closer mommy
Lately, I have been doing a lot of things mommy you know. I have been babbling more, running more, reading more...
Sometimes I see you watching me and I feel like you are confused, perhaps wondering what am I doing and why. I just want to let you know that nothing I do is random mommy.
I need to listen a song five times to get it right.
I need to go up and down the stair for fifteen times to make sure I am feel confident.
I need to press all the buttons of my guitar to find my favorite song ( did you realize that I have favorites?)
I sometimes try risky and quite dangerous things mommy, but I need to do them to see what I can do and what I can not.
At meal times, I don't feel like eating much so I do not touch my food. That is not a coincidence mommy. I do it on purpose. That means I am full!
I look into my books as if it is random, but sometimes I am looking for a particular object. Listen to me closer mommy, like you did the other day. I was looking for balls in my books and then I found my red ball under the ottoman? Did you see that smile on my face that day? Yes, that was not random mommy!
After every bath time, I need you to hug you mommy, while daddy dries my hair. I guess I am still getting used to the noise of the blow dryer and I need you close to me.
And if I cry in the middle of the night, that is not random as well. That means I need you. (Please come fast.)
The bottom line is mommy, if you can not make sense of what I am doing, that means you are not looking close enough. Please slow down and watch closer, then you will know the purpose behind my actions.
3- Learning takes time mommy - be patient with me
Oh, mommy this one is so important. I need to take my time to get used to new situations, new things at home. Because mommy, learning is a process.
I know you want things to happen fast and the way you want sometimes. But things can not be rushed especially when you are learning something new. I know you know this...
I am little and I am learning a lot of things new:
I am just learning to eat with a fork and a spoon,
I am learning to tell you have a wet or dirty diaper,
I am learning to talk ( both n English and Turkish - hey, that is tough!)
I am learning how to climb stairs all by myself,
I am learning not to do certain things like putting my hand in the toilet or in the cleaning bowls...
I am learning that the cleaning robot is harmless... and slowly playing with it.
I am learning that I need to be close to you when we are outside so that I don't get lost...
It is just a lot to learn mommy so, if I am slower than what you expect me to do, please be patient with me. I will get there. Trust me. And even if I may not be fast, please love me as I am.
Also mommy, I wish you were patient with yourself, too. I mean you might be a grown up but don't you get tired of running around, when no one is really chasing you? You can slow down and take your time (a nice American saying that I like, mommy!)
I want you to be there when I learn new things and smile back at me. Would you be always there mommy?
So mommy, if you slow down, I think you can see the beauty in more things. Perhaps we can enjoy small things more with you and learn better. I love doing things slowly and so many times. That is how I learn. Will you help me learn ,mommy?
I imagine these would be the things Eleanor would say, if she were to talk. Some of them are of course my imagination yet, I feel like she has grown so much during the last year and she passed me so many wisdoms during this year.
I try to slow down and reflect once in a while about my relationship and my parenting. I try to understand her so better that she can grow up to be an outspoken, confident and adventurous young woman. I hope to have a close relationship with her as she grows up.
She gives me the power to accept me as I am and find delight in you as she is. Be proud of her as she is. Always look into what I am doing and make it better. Every single day is another opportunity to be there for her.
For me, knowing it all Kumsal, sometimes it is the hardest thing to slow down and listen to her. Sometimes it is the hardest thing for me to admit that I have done something wrong
More I speak her language, more I commit to understand her, more I try to change and grow.
and as small as she is, she never shies away from "educating" me, showing her way...
and I am grateful for her speaking to me in Toddlerese. Telling me what she wants.
Before I was a parent, I knew it all. Parenting...How much it humbles you. Now that I mess up almost every day couple times, and see how hard it is to be a good enough parent, I feel so grateful to this journey and my daughter...
I may not get her all the time,
yet I do my best every single day,
and that's good enough.
Happy second birthday Eleanor! I love you so much.
Keep growing, keep talking, keep letting us know who you are becoming. We are so happy to learn and grow with you. I am so proud to be your mommy.