What I Say Vs. What My Toddler Hears

by Christina Antus
Originally Published: 

If Men are from Mars and women are from Venus, then toddlers must be from a completely different solar system. I often wonder if my toddlers and I are speaking the same language. We’re not, but when I have 45 seconds to myself I like to waste it by pondering about things I can’t do anything about.

The translations between my toddlers and I are a little fuzzy. It’s like visiting France and asking for a glass of water in Gaelic. For all I know, the French person I’m speaking to thinks I just asked them if I could buy a horse with a pink fedora. And really, who wears fedoras anymore?

Here are a few examples:

What I say: Please pick up your toys.

What my toddler hears: Let’s play cars and dump the whole bin on the floor.

What I say: Please eat your dinner.

What my toddler hears: Drive your broccoli and carrots around the table, up your arm, and over your forehead. Then meow like a kitty non-stop for four whole minutes.

What I say: Get Dressed.

What my toddler hears: Nothing.

What I say: Please stop touching that.

What my toddler hears: Please keep touching that.

What I say: Don’t jump off the stairs.

What my toddler hears: That. Was. AWESOME! Next time, tuck and roll as you come off the stairs into a full somersault. Then roll right into the dining room table.

What I say: Please share with your sister.

What my toddler hears: Never, ever give her that toy. Guard it with your life. Like it’s the last toy you will ever have.

What I say: No.

What my toddler hears: Ask me thirty more times.

What I say: Please put on your shoes.

What my toddler hears: Take off your shirt and put your pants on your head.

Maybe I’ll just go live on Venus. If there is any life over there I’m sure the translational challenges won’t be much different than talking to my kids. At least over there I’d expect them to continue asking me the same question thirty times. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see them wearing pants on their head and pink fedoras on their feet.

Related post: 50 Reasons Your Toddler Might Be Awake Right Now

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