I am a Translator

I translate things. Both the little jubs are experimenting with language.

Laylee likes to make up words and then tell me that they are Spanish for “I want a cheese stick” or “Where’s the rubber chicken?” She’ll say, “Spanish for shoes is sav-wato or also peek-oo-lee-toe.” I nod and smile. Sometimes I thank her for the lesson and sometimes I respond with some “Spanish” of my own.

Magoo speaks in a language all his own. It has lots of consonants strung together by grunts and its structure is repetitive in nature. You know how dumb English speakers will sometimes yell at some poor non-English speaker very slowly, hoping that the sheer volume and flying spit of their words will trip something in the person’s brain and they’ll suddenly be blessed with the gift of tongues?

Well, Magoo’s kind of like those people, except he gets progressively faster in his repetition, rather than slower. “Ma-pallow, Ma-pallow, Ma-pallow, Ma-pallow, Ma-pallow, Ma-pallow, Ma-pallow, Ma-pallow, MA-PALLOOOOOOWWWW!!!”

He will not switch to a new word until I have successful guessed the current word. All I have to do is figure out that he is saying “marshmallow,” tell him “no,” comfort him as he buries his face in his hands and howls and he’s good to go.

Another fun game of repetitively seeking to be understood is “WOOK.” This game is played by pointing into the back yard, a crowded room, or a large mound of miscellaneous garbage at the dump and yelling “WOOK, WOOK, WOOK!” while vaguely waving your finger at one specific item the size of a dust mite.

To win this game, the parent needs to identify the object, state its name, show an unreal amount of enthusiasm for said object or simply hit herself over the head with a mallet, forcing buddy Magoo to run off seeking a new, un-limp playmate.

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14 Responses to I am a Translator

  1. Awesome Mom says:

    My son Harry (who is about the same age as Magoo) does a lot of those same things. He also yodels or at least that is what it sounds like to me. He will look you in the eye, yodel his gibberish and expect a response. Most of the time his primary form of communication is to simply come up to you, shove something in your face and howl until you do what is it he wants. Fun times.

  2. Melissa says:

    Great post 🙂 My three year old goes on little wordless spurts where she turns into one of those obnoxious mimes. She won’t say a word. Just flails around and sighs a lot at my lame attemps at figuring out what she’d like. I’m guessing that someday soon she will want me to buy her a black and white striped shirt and paint her face…

  3. Amanda says:

    My five year old daughter does the same thing with her “spanish.” Cracks me up!

  4. Kimberly says:

    I suck at the Wook Wook Wook game.

  5. Heidi says:

    Would it work to respond to Magoo’s “WOOK WOOK WOOK!” with a completely innocuous answer? As in, “Wow, that’s really something, isn’t it?” without having to identify what IT really is. A catch-all answer that covers all the bases, good and bad. Now, if Laylee were to be carried off by a Pteratactyl? “WOOK WOOK WOOK!” Obviously bad, but it would still fit in the Really Something category.

  6. Heidi, you’re hilarious. We’ve totally tried that and he just KNOWS when we’re not really wooking at the right thing. We have to say what it is. Drives us bonkers.

  7. Cheryl says:

    Oh, Kathryn! I can relate so well to this –my 2 yr old son is the same way, and I tell you, it hasn’t improved. Now at least we can understand him. He’ll me watching a movie or see something out the window and yell “truck!” or “car!” (from the movie) until we say “Yes, honey! A car! Wow!” If we are talking to other people at the moment, the yelling also intensifies (like Magoo) and if I don’t answer, the tantrum won’t stop. It’s annoying –how come my girls never needed this kind of validation?!?

  8. Farm Wife says:

    This sounds just like B.B. He loves to stand in the pantry, pointing wildly at some thing just out of his reach and squeal, “Dat!! Mama! Dat!!! Right Dare!!!” And I’m stuck taking everything off the shelves until he finally decides what it is he wants…and oddly, it’s usually marshmallows…for breakfast.

    And I can’t tell you how long it took me to figure out what a “way-meal” is. That would be the Larry Mobile from Larry-Boy videos. Duh!

  9. Traci says:

    “Wook” is the worst when you are taking a walk. Sometimes even when it is clear what you are to wook at, it is not enough to identify it, but it must be touched, poked, carried, or examined before moving to the next item of wook, three feet down the path…:)

  10. Ok, so next time I come to Seattle I want (if I may be so presumptions to ask for stuff):
    -Famous DYM Spaghetti
    -Waffle cone
    -Laylee’s Spanish lessons
    -Observe the WOOK, WOOK game (observe, because I’m sure I’m bad at it).

  11. Poppa2B says:

    Isn’t there some sort of child to adult translation dictionary? The WOOK, WOOK game will be my doom. I already know that there’ll be a long conversation of, “Wook, Wook” and I’ll say, “At what?” then it will be repeated and repeated and repeated… I’m doomed, DOOMED I TELL YOU!

  12. Kristi says:

    My daughter informed my son that his name is Latin for ‘dog poop.’ Nice.

  13. Joy says:

    You always make me laugh. I love your blog, but this might be the first time I’ve commented. I can just never think of anything cool to say. Today I can’t either. But my kids totally do this. My 5 year old is always making up his own language. My 1 year old is obssessed with “coo-coo” (cookie) and “andle” (candy) and quite upset when we do not oblige her – gotta love the things they learn by an Easter weekend with grandparents and cousins.

  14. Goslyn says:

    Hey! We play a variation of WOOK called BUTZ! It’s really fun! We’ll be sitting happily reading a book when suddenly – BUTZ! and the waving of hands and pointing in 15 directions commences. Fun times.

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