Toddler words

21 months Obiwan

Obiwan is a bilingual Cantonese and English speaker. We speak Cantonese as much as we can to him but he’s hearing more and more English as NN speaks more English, now thanks to preschool, plus we’re using more English with her as our Cantonese vocabulary for more complex expressions and emotions is getting limited. He also hears us speak to each other in English. We’re going to try to hang onto this bilingualism as long as we can. It’s harder when there’s no grandparents present to speak to them. Here’s the words he’s saying now:

  • Family titles : Mommy, Baba, jeh jeh (big sister), yeh yeh (paternal Grandpa), mah mah (paternal grandma), gung gung (maternal grandpa), poh poh (maternal grandma), Yee Yee (maternal auntie), goh goh (older brother), mui mui (younger sister), dai dai (younger brother, and also self reference)
  • Vehicles : Cheh Cheh (car), bah bee (should be “bah see” for bus but he can’t make s sounds yet), bay day (should be “fay gay” for plane but he can’t make f sounds yet either)
  • Body parts : baybay (nose), an-an (eye), yeeyee (ear), papa (should be “hapa” for chin), ngah (teeth), tao (head), sau (hand), momo (eyebrows/lashes)
  • Boh boh (ball)
  • Animals : gok gok gaii (chicken, including the clucking sound), ma (horse), moo (cow reference bc he can’t say “ngow” yet), wohwoh (dog, but also refers to squirrels), mao (cat, but also refers to rabbits and bears), behbeh (bear, though if cuddly he’ll call it a mao), yiyi (should be “Yu” for fish), hai (crab), ngap (duck), bibbit (should be “ribbit” in reference to frogs)
  • Momo (dust, hair, loose thread, string, fuzz, feather)
  • Baby
  • Fruit : Behby (berry, in reference to anything berry size), jiji (should be “tai ji” for grape), Apple, yang yang (should be “chahng” for orange), jiujiu (should be “herng jiu” for banana)
  • Snacks : nak (snack), nupnup (reference to seeds and nuts), cheese, fi-bar (fig bar)
  • dok (read, a request to read a book)
  • up-see (a request to help him climb up)
  • poe-poe (a request to be picked up)
  • hi/bye bye
  • peese (please)
  • jehjeh (thank you in Canto, different tone from the word for big sister)
  • doe (as in “goh doe” for directing you “over there”)
  • poo poo (sometimes to tell us he needs to poo, sometimes as a tactic to get out of his highchair at meal time)
  • NO
  • moon
  • baba (should be “fafa” for flower….again, the f sound)
  • mut mut (socks)
  • hai (shoes)
  • All done

A decent list I think. He hasn’t started to put words combinations together yet. We’re working on colors next. It’s pretty amazing to see how he’s absorbing two languages. He understands most instructions in Cantonese and when NN tells him something in English, he also responds to it. I do feel having two languages to sort out makes his speech a little slower to develop and at an age when his emotions and thoughts are forming, it’s frustrating for him to not be able to voice it. Anyone else with bilingual households? How are you and your kids handling it?


Want to know how cloth diapers work at my house after baby started eating solids?

6-16 months, Obiwan

The poo gets much stinkier. Much. Stinkier. Especially after the introduction of meat. But thankfully, Obiwan continued his cue from pre-solid days of grunting and getting all red in the face when about to go, usually during every meal, so we can get him on the toilet in time. Cloth diapers became a breeze. Nearly 95% of his poos went into the toilet. I didn’t have to worry about “wasting” a diaper because it’d be washed and back in use in no time.

His diaper change schedule is something like this:
8am – diaper with big insert
Noon – diaper with big insert
3pm – diaper with big insert
5pm – diaper with small insert
630pm – diaper with small insert
8pm – disposable

Around the one year mark, his cues became more stealth. He didn’t grunt as loud and he stopped going during the meal. He’d go after a meal, while playing, somewhere, out of earshot. And I’d find him in, literally, really sh*tty situations. He didn’t produce patties you could shake off. Nope. It’d be a jar of Nutella, or peanut butter mixed with whole pieces of fruit, corn, peas, grains of rice smeared all over his bum, squished up the front, and out of the legs. (I have to say however, that cloth diapers kept blowouts from going up his back, which disposables cannot do.) Oh how I wanted to just throw the whole thing away….but couldn’t because a single cloth diaper is $25. So I’d scrape everything into the toilet with a plastic spoon, throw the spoon away, and then wash the rest out before putting it in the pail. I’d say 50% of poos were in his diaper. Rough days I tell you.

While cleaning such poo-nami’s off, I’d repeatedly tell Obiwan he has to communicate when he needs to poo. He could already sign “please” and “all done” so I suggested fisted hand signals with a loud grunt to him. My hubs would shake his head and tell me he’s ready to go back to disposables. But I hung on and tried to watch for cues better, also asking Nessness to tell me if Obiwan ever grunts while they’re playing. This helped us get up to 75% of poos making it into the toilet.

Then last week, he grunted and said “foo”. I looked at him, “Do you need to poo?” He grunted again and said “foo”. So I took him to the toilet and he went!! I thought it was coincidence but he did it several more times. And sometimes he’d grunt, say “foo”, and then go to the toilet and pull his potty seat while I followed him. We’re back to 90%! Imma pretty proud Momma. ūüôā

I’m hoping the cloth diaper will help in toilet training for pee as well since more moisture can be felt compared to disposables. We’ll see how things go.


Want to know how cloth diapers work in my house?

1-6 months, Obiwan

I wanted to start cloth diapers with Nessness but being the first born, and possibly because we were renovating a house right after her birth, I never got into the head space to research/purchase/use cloth diapers with her. But I wanted to considering how quickly the disposables were flying out of the boxes we were constantly buying. And considering how she tended to poo right after I changed her.

With Obiwan, a friend just sent me a Craigslist post for a set of cloth diapers and after calculating that they would be paying for themselves after 6-9 months of use, I jumped in.

Brand: Funky Fluff
Number of Covers: 24
Number of Inserts: 18 long, 18 short
Number of days to use up the diapers: 5-7 days

I still used disposables when going out and for overnight. But otherwise, I’m only doing an extra load of laundry once a week.

Before solid foods:
I didn’t use the cloth diapers until after Obiwan had passed out all the dark, gooey¬†meconium poop. While I’ve read that you can just put the yellow goopy diapers into the wash, I really didn’t like the idea (real or imagined) of residual poop being in my washer and possibly getting into the next load of laundry. I rubbed and rinsed out all the diapers, whether just wet or soiled, before putting them in the wash. It took 30 extra minutes.

At the 4-5 month mark, I started toilet training with Obiwan, putting him on the toilet for five minutes after every feed. This saved a couple diapers from getting soiled. Then I noticed that he would fart and grunt when about to deliver solids so I’d wisk him to the toilet and catch it all there. So for a while I barely had any poo diapers to rinse. It was lovely.

I also decided rinsing out pee diapers weren’t worth the extra time so I set up a rubbermaid diaper pail under the sink and all the wet stuff went straight in. Of course anytime I opened it, a wall of putrid stink threatened to overwhelm me, especially at laundry time, but I’ve gotten good at breathing through my mouth. Small price to pay for less washing. And for keeping diapers out of the landfill!

Cloth diapering after introducing solids in the next post.



3 yr 6 mo, Nessness

This “threenager” thing is real. The two’s presented some challenges but the three’s….I feel it’s harder than the two’s were. It’s infuriating. Maddening. And will probably make me a better person if I figure out how to deal with it properly. Whatever that means.

As I was instructing her on something, she says, “blah blah blah blah blah”.

NN: I don’t want to stand in front of the mirror!
Me: Why not?
NN: <in tears> My hair looks bad.
Me: <Serious?? It starts now??>

Me: Here, eat these vegetables.
NN: No I’m good.
Me: I’m not asking you. Eat the veggies.
NN: No it’s okay. I’m good.

Me: NN, you need to apologize.
NN: I’m not talking

NN: Read this book!
Me: I need to put the dishes away first.
NN: No read first then you can do whatever.

Me: Okay two more minutes and bath time for you
NN: Okay how about 10 more minutes?
Me: Two.
NN: Okay six more minutes. Six okay?
Me: Two.
NN: Five minutes.
Me: Two.
NN: No, five more minutes.
Me: Two. Or nothing.
NN: Okay okay two.

NN: Stop talking Mommy. I’m not listening.
Me: <wtf>

Me: Are you listening to what I’m saying?
NN: No. I’m not paying any attention. You talk but I don’t care.

Me: Okay it’s time to go home.
NN: No! I don’t want to go home! I’m not going to eat. I’m not going to sleep. I’m not going to play. I’m not going to do anything. I just want to go out!!

Me: How was preschool today?
NN: Good. Where are we going now.
Me: Home.
NN: No! Where are we going?
Me: Home.
NN: No! Where are we going?
Me: Home.
NN: No!! Where are we going?
Me:¬†Answer is still “home”
NN: No!! If you say “home” one more time I’m going to scream loudly!!
Me: <burst out laughing>


I Love…

3 yrs 6 months, Nessness

  • The quirky things she says that reveal her personality a little more, like “this is my hand, you don’t move it for me”
  • When she expresses appreciation without being prompted, like “Mommy, thank you for making scrambled eggs today”
  • Her laugh when we have a tickle fight
  • Her love for places like Costco and Ikea
  • The way her eyes and face light up when she’s excited about something. I hope she will always find things in life to be excited over.
  • When she entertains Obi-Wan and they are laughing together. I hope they will always be good friends to each other.
  • When she says, “Mommy give me a hug!”
  • How she offers to kiss my or daddy’s owies better and pray for us
  • Her eagerness to have a turn at saying Grace at mealtimes
  • Watching her run and scream to the door when Baba comes home from work
  • Looking at “Where’s Waldo” books together. She notices interesting things as she searches for the different people or objects.

I Love…

15 months, Obiwan

  • that he still smells sweet (I hear little boys get stinky eventually)
  • when he rests his head on my shoulders
  • the way he reaches for my hand or arm in order to hug it, or grabs my shirt to pull his face into it
  • his developing sense of compassion. He’ll cry if his sister cries and will go try to hug her.
  • that he’s so chill
  • how he gets hangry and yells for more food, faster during meal times
  • his determination. If he’s set his eyes on something, I can’t distract him from it easily
  • the way he walks like a little drunk man, teetering, stumbling and recovering
  • his big smiles with all eight teeth showing
  • his hearty laughs
  • how he giggles when he farts and says “booot” (boy thing?)
  • how his early vocabulary is so different from his sister’s. First words are “boh boh” (ball), mama, baba, booot (when he farts)
  • the way he pats his own chest when he coughs or chokes on something
  • how he points to himself when we ask “who is Ji Man?” (his Chinese name)….and how he also points to himself when we ask “who is mama?”…and how he points to his mouth when we ask where is nose is. We’re working on it.
  • how he run/waddles and lauches into my arms

Earliest Memories

39 months, Nessness

I wonder what, if anything, Nessness will remember from this period of her life. One of my earliest memories was of trying to find my toy and I was looking in a closet. I can still recall the frustrating feeling in my brain of not being able to recall where I put that toy and how I kept looking and looking. I don’t remember what toy it was though. Another one was of being on my parent’s bed in the evening. I remember the glow of a light above me as I sprawled on my belly. I was probably around three or four.

Nessness mixes up her time periods. She’ll refer to “this morning before nap” as “yesterday”. She’ll also refer to various events in the past as “today” or “yesterday”. But she remembers the event. She recognizes the boardwalk in Steveston that she and her cousin played along when they visited in April. She remembers random places that she’s hidden away a hair elastic when I ask her to grab one. She remembers what she’s tucked away in her plastic Easter eggs and lined up in order on her shelf. She remembers her nanny from a year ago as well as what they played together that one time. She totally remembers if I said I’d take her to the park and failed to do so.

One time I dismantled the gingerbread house she and Daddy built this past Christmas, and put all the pieces in a ziploc bag on the counter. She saw it, went up to the counter, pointed and said, “Who took apart my gingerbread man house?”¬†I replied, “I did.” She furrowed her brows, “I’m not happy. I build this with baba.” I apologized. And then EVERY DAY for a MONTH she’d point to the ziplocked gingerbread house and say, “Who took apart my gingerbread man house? Mommy. I’m not happy about this. I build with baba.” Even after I threw away the stale leftovers, she’d point to that spot on the counter where I last had it. I bet this Christmas she’ll remind me of the time I threw away her gingerbread man house.

I hope she forgets my mommy fails though. The times when I should’ve been more understanding instead of being frustrated with her toddlerness. I’m counting on childhood amnesia to take care of that. I hope to create more times when she’s laughing instead of when she’s upset so she can, if she does, think back and remember there was happiness.

What’s your earliest memory?