Nellie’s vocabulary is starting to amaze us as well as a lot of people who meet her and find out how old she is. At her two year appointment, her pediatrician told me that her vocabulary is advanced by 6 months to a year.

This post isn’t about me bragging about my kid. I mean, it’s not TOTALLY me bragging about my kid. Promise.

Anyway, some of Nellie’s favorite words include “Spider-Man”, “Tangled”, “Princess”, and the most recently added, “Mine”. She can be heard demanding, “I do it!” or “Nellie do it!” when you attempt to get something for her, do something for her, put something on her or take something off of her. You get the picture. She’s independent. The other day, she was leaning into the bathtub trying to reach a toy mermaid inside. She was standing on tiptoe in nothing but a diaper, wiggling her little fingers as she tried to grasp the elusive red-headed seamaiden. She finally uttered in frustration, as clear as a bell, “I. CAN’T. REACH. IT.”

And I did a double-take, wondering when the hell my once 7 pound 2 ounce infant learned to express herself using clear, fully-formed sentences.

I attest Nellie’s prowess in all things lingual partly to the fact that Josh and I are always talking to her. When we shop, I talk to her. “Look at this apple, Nellie. Is this apple red? No, it’s green. Mommy needs to find some oatmeal. Where do you think the oatmeal is, Nellie?”
I talk to her when we drive. “Do sharks swim, Nellie? They do! What else swims? Do elephants swim? No, they don’t!”
One of the things I do every single day when I pick her up from school is ask her how her day went, and what she did at school that day. Generally, the conversation goes like this:

Me: “Nellie, did you have a good day at school?”
Nellie: “Mmm hmm!”
Me: “What did you do today?”
Nellie: “Ummm… I color. I paint. I play with Rocco.”
Me: “You colored, and painted, and played with Rocco? That’s awesome! Who else did you play with?”

Sometimes, I will ask her what she ate for lunch. Her response is usually, “ketchup”. Yum.

The other day I went by to pick her up as usual. I was walking out the door with her on my hip, asking her my routine questions.

Me: “Did you have a wonderful day at school?”
Nellie: “Uh… Yeah!”

We reached the car and I opened the door.
Me: “That’s great, Nellie! What did you do at school today?”
Nellie: “Cocaine.”

I’m sorry, what?

I froze midway through climbing in the car to get her into her seat.

Me: “I’m sorry. What did you do in school today?”
Nellie: “Cocaine! Cocaine mama!”

I looked at my little girl for a moment. I contemplated what to do. Should I go back in the school, demanding to know where exactly I signed in my enrollment paperwork that my child is permitted to have illegal substances with her milk and cookies? Should I go straight to the police? Should I have her admitted to a drug rehabilitation facility? She was acting more hyper lately. Maybe it was because of all the blow she was doing at school.

Me: “Nellie, WHAT did you do at school today?” I asked a third time.

And there it was. My daughter wasn’t in danger of becoming the next Charlie Sheen at all. No tiger blood ran through her veins, and I could rest easy. She just has a penchant for playing with pots, pans, and pretending to cook. Food. Not drugs.

Me: “OH. COOKING. You cooked. You played with the kitchen.”
Nellie: “Uh, yeah, mama.”

Duh, mom. I mean, really.

Repeat After Me

Nellie never ceases to amaze me with her vocabulary. I’ve tried to count how many words she knows but get lost somewhere around 50. Some of her most recent favorite things to say include:

  • My-Mahhh! (Spider-Man)
  • Kulk! (Hulk)
  • Seeeoooww (Thor)
  • Lo-lee (Loki)
    Seeing a pattern yet?
  • Ma MA!!
  • Bye ‘coo! (Bye school!)
  • Ni-nigh (night-night)
  • Shoow? Shoow? (paired with the sign for “more”, this is her word for more)

Today, she also learned that when I say, “Who wants to go to Gran’s?” she enthusiastically responds, “Ah do! Ah do!” This also works for:

  • Who wants a million dollars? (ah do!)
  • Who wants some cheese? (ah do!)
  • Who wants to sniff daddy’s feet? (ah do!)
  • Who wants a booger pie? (ah do!)

Toddlers are fun. You can make them say gross stuff and they don’t even realize it. It’s pretty much the best ever. We’re having a lot of fun with her growing vocabulary and miraculously, she still hasn’t repeated her first swear word.

What kinds of fun things does your toddler say that cracks you up/makes you smile/makes you gasp and want to change your name and join the Witness Protection Program?



Nellie’s vocabulary is exploding. I began trying to count her words the other day and got to about 35 before I couldn’t think of more words. Later in the day as she chatted away, I remembered words I’d forgotten that she can say. Some of her favorites include:

  • Juice
  • Pop
  • Cat
  • Down
  • No
  • Hot dog
  • Bye
  • Daddy

She doesn’t quite understand the difference between “yes” and “no”, so she pretty much says “no” anytime you ask her a question. One of the cutest things she does is when you say, “Nellie need a night-night?” she shakes her head and goes, “Nooo. No nigh-nigh.” She also informs you when she’s pooped by saying with surprise, “I poop! I poop!”

When she started eating solids, I was diligent with signing “more” to her. When she’d finish a bite I’d make the sign for “more” and say, “more? More?” It never really stuck, so I ended up giving up after about two months. The other day, Josh gave her a couple of small marshmallows as a treat and after she finished her last one she padded into the kitchen, pointed up on the counter and bumped the fingers on both hands together, making the sign for “more”. I missed the whole thing, but Josh was right there. He did the sign himself later and asked me if that was the sign for “more”. I told him yes, and he told me what had happened with the marshmallows. I thought it was cool and didn’t think much else of it until I saw it for myself tonight.

We gave her a few fruit snacks after dinner and when she finished, she looked at me and said “ish. ish”. They were Nemo fruit snacks, so I asked her if she wanted more fish. She looked up at me and signed “more” with a smile on her face.
“More? You want more?” I asked her.
She signed again, and I thought my heart was just going to explode out of my chest. I was so excited! My baby girl was signing! I’m not really crediting myself, because she’s been watching a baby signs DVD at her sitter’s house and apparently it’s sinking in! I need to brush up on my signs to see what else she may be doing that I’m missing.

I’m so proud of my lady. She’s getting so smart, and learning new things every day. It blows my mind, and I am absolutely loving this age.


Boosit and Buhseek.

Nellie’s vocabulary grows each and every day. A few weeks ago, she was toddling around the apartment being adorable when she exclaimed,


*record scratch*

Josh and I whipped our heads around to look at one another.
“Did she just say bullshit?” I asked.
Wide-eyed, Josh replied, “Sure did sound like it.”
“Boosit! Boosit! Boosit!” Nellie chirped happily while trotting behind her little push-toy.
“Surely not,” I said uncertainly, eyeballing my curly-headed cussing child. “We hardly ever say that word.”
It’s true. We don’t. We say lots of other things we shouldn’t, but “bullshit” isn’t really in our vocabulary. Bullshit is kind of a boring and not cool swear word if you ask me. Some would argue that no swear words are cool, and to those people I say, “boosit.”

Anyway, after a little bit of debating, we decided that Nellie was trying to say “push it” because we’ve encouraged her so often to push her toy, to push a button, to push the door closed, etc.

The other day, my mother in law called me.
“You will never believe what Nellie said,” she began.
Gulp. A parade of profanity begun marching through my head, as each and every F-Bomb I’ve uttered in front of Nellie came back to haunt me. The possibilities of what she could have let loose in front of my mother in law were endless. Damnit. Shit. Fuck. Douchecanoe. Jackwagon. Balls. Republican (I kid, I kid! … Maybe. Not really.).

“What.. did she say?” I asked hesitantly.
“Well,” she began, “I was changing her diaper and when we were all done, her little buttcheek was hanging out of the back. So I said ‘Nellie! Your buttcheek’s stickin’ out!’ and then she yelled, ‘buttcheek! Buttcheek!'”

I began laughing hysterically, half because that’s actually really cute and half because I was relieved my daughter hadn’t said ‘asslicker’ in front of her Gran. When we went to pick her up that day from my mother in law, Josh and I prompted Nellie.

“Nellie. Nellie. ‘Buttcheek’.”
“Buhhhseek!” she yelled happily.

I about died laughing. So now my kid can say a lot of different words. Dog, cat, bear, ball, spoon, cheese, and buttcheek.

I’m a proud mama. A proud mama who needs to watch her mouth before my kid really does call someone a douchecanoe.


About two months ago, while I was in the midst of fretting over Nellie’s lack of bipedal locomotion, her vocabulary exploded and she started talking.

I’m not talking soliloquies or anything, but the kid just started naming things. Out of nowhere. She said “dada” on her 6 month birthday, and “mama” way later. She has always been really selective with “mama”. She usually only uses it when she either is mad, or wants something. Excellent.

Anyway. Nellie started to talk. One of the first words I noticed was “dog”. Now, to the average person who isn’t around my child as much as her father and I are, the way she says “dog” would not sound like “dog”. It sounds more like “d’g!”. The first few times she said it, I just responded with my usual non-committal acknowledgment of “Oh yeah?” or “Mmm hmm!”. But then she started pointing at actual dogs, saying “d’g!” and going “woof! Woof!”
And that’s when I realized my kid was actually realizing what a dog was and what sort of noise it made.

For about two weeks, everything that wasn’t a human was, “d’g! woof!”. We would correct her whenever she would point at one of our cats, and she got it relatively quickly. She can now tell the difference between a dog and a cat, and say “woof!” and “eeeoooowww” appropriately. She now can point out an elephant, cow, dog, cat, duck, and turkey and make the appropriate noise for each animal.

It’s absolutely incredible to see her picking up on these things that we had no idea she was listening to. Out of the blue, she began saying “juice”, “ball”, and “down”. I reaaaally need to stop saying things like “fuck” and “damnit” around her because one of these days she’s gonna walk up to her sweet Gran and be all, “Where’s my fucking juice, damnit?” and then I will melt into a puddle of shame.

Another thing I marveled at is how easily I understand her and what she wants. When I’m around other peoples’ toddlers, they’ll stand there and babble incessantly at me and I’ll just look down at them with a blank stare and nod:
Random Toddler: “AAAAAbadad ba fsh pffff baah GAAAAH!”
Me: “……………. Usually only on Wednesdays.”

But when Nellie points and says, “ffffsh!” I know she wants a goldfish cracker. When she looks at me while sitting in her high chair and urgently says, “dah! dah!” I know that she means “down”, even though it sounds similar to the way she says “dad” (“da”). I can tell the difference between “ba ba” (“banana”) and “bah bah” (“bye bye”). It’s astonishing to me that I can understand her cute little babble, even though it technically doesn’t really sound any differently than any other toddler’s.

I guess it’s just one of those things that takes me by surprise and makes me really feel my role as a parent. Even her grandparents don’t always know what she’s saying, but Josh and I do. We can tell what our sweet little lady is trying to say, and it kinda makes me feel all warm and fuzzy and maternal inside.