Posted by on Feb 24, 2012 in letter to my son, letter to my toddler, toddlers and communication, toddlers and learning language | 0 comments

Dearest Ryan,

It would be great if you could do Mommy a favor and learn a couple of key definitions.

First and foremost, that awesome “more” sign you perfected? Just to review, “more” means that you want additional quantities of something you’re already consuming. For example, if you’re eating Cheerios and decide you would like a few additional Cheerios, you might choose to sign “more.”

If you’re not currently consuming something, I have no earthly idea what “more” means. I don’t know when it means you are hungry for only yogurt and nothing but yogurt. I don’t know when it means you’re not hungry at all but are, in fact, thirsty. And I certainly don’t know when “more” means you want milk out of the blue sippy cup and not the red sippy cup. You’ve got to be a bit more specific.

Furthermore, nodding your head means you AGREE. Shaking your head means you DISAGREE. Shaking and nodding are not interchangeable. They do not take on the meaning of whatever you happen to want at any given moment.

For example, if I ask you if you want milk, and you nod, I will assume you want milk and I will give you milk. Do not then look at me like I’m an ax murderer who is luring you into a dark alley. I am not trying to trick you or force milk on you. You. Just. Told. Me. You. Wanted. It.

While we’re in learning mode, I think it’s time we added a few key words and phrases to your vocabulary.*

Milk. It’s your favorite thing in the world. How many times have you heard the word “milk” in your life? A million? Two million? You should be able to say this. You can’t tell me that you’ve figured out how to yell at the cat in the same tone that we do but you can’t figure out how to voice desire for the one thing that makes your life worth living. That’s just illogical.

Banana. Sometimes this is all you want – whether we have any in the house or not – and it takes me upwards of 10 minutes to figure that out. That may not sound like a long time, but it’s an eternity when you’re yelling “AAAAHHHHH” and swiping your arm frantically back and forth through the air. Other acceptable pronunciations include: bana, nana, nan, anan. Just something in the ballpark would be great.

All done. You sign it if we sign it first. You say it if we prompt you. But how ’bout you take a little initiative and say it or sign it when you’re actually all done, rather than suddenly and forcefully throwing your sippy cup to the floor or slamming your hand down on a spoonful of applesauce. We’ve given you the tools to communicate when you’re ready to move on from mealtime and we’re happy to oblige. Let’s not resort to violence.

Love you to pieces,

* “Belle” and “bye-bye-bye” are cute but a tiny bit worthless if we’re talking about communicating with any real substance.