Having spent the last few days visiting my twin sister and her family has been more like taking a vacation in the fascinating world of toddlers, thanks to her son. We call him Charlie-gato because of his propensity for crawling on all fours and rubbing against your leg like a cat. If he's feeling particularly chatty, you'll even get a whole conversation in mews. Cat whimsies aside, Charlie has actually developed quite a knack for verbal communication. Just a few months over the age of three, you would have a hard time believing that only a year ago he couldn't put more than a couple of words together. Add to that the ambition his mother has set forth in raising him bilingual and it's even more impressive. Learning two languages at one time can be tricky - the way Mama says things sound different from the way Daddy says them. And sometimes both kinds of words come together in Spanglish, making for very interesting repartee.

I know it's not exclusive to my nephew. Cosby most notably capitalized on the brilliance of children when given the opportunity to speak. He advocated their little voices, enticing more adults to listen. I've urged Claudin to keep a notebook of all her son's quips but I'm inclined to dedicate an entire page here on this blog to Charlie-isms because I just can't help myself. I'll be darned if this kid isn't one of the most quotable toddlers you've ever met. I swear I'm not biased. In fact, I'll share a few stories now -to whet your appetite. You be the judge:

Oh yeah, you can milk anything with nipples
Charlie's little sister, Ada, was born a little less than a year ago and when he saw his mama nursing her the first time he asked what she was doing. Claudin explained in Spanish "esta chupando leche" (she's drinking milk). So a few days later when Charlie's daddy gave Ada his finger to suck as a means to pacify her, Charlie tells his mama, "Ada's chupping leche from Daddy's finger". Apparently, the gerund form of a Spanglish verb also only requires an -ing.

Snake, it's what's for dinner
Charlie has recently gotten into watching Man vs Wild with his daddy. It's become their thing. One night, after the show had ended Charlie was particularly excited to share the adventures of Bear Grylls with his uncle so together with his daddy they give Andy a call. "Uncle Anny, we watched Bear Grylls catch a snake on the show. Yeah. He took off the snake's pantalones and ate him!" To a toddler, what else would the snake's skin be if not an article of clothing?

So much for citronella candles
The mosquitoes are ruthless during the summertime in Raleigh. It doesn't matter how much repellant you put on, they'll get you. One afternoon while playing out in the lawn, they launched an especially cruel attack on poor Charlie. Claudin had already scheduled for the exterminators to come and reassured Charlie that "the men are coming tomorrow to kill the bichos (bugs)". Charlie asked why they couldn't come that same day and Claudin explained that it was because they were doing their trabajo (work) at other people's houses. So he clarified, "the men are coming to our house tomorrow to do their carajo?" (look it up in an urban dictionary - this is a family site!)

Stay tuned for more Charlie-isms... who knows, if they generate enough interest, we may make them a regular feature here!


Katie F said...

Too cute!

Teresa said...

...Another great post with such a wonderful photo. I am sure that more stories will come, to treasure them forever. Now that my children have children, they hear with more attention to their "ocurrencias"(witticism) of my toddlers and my younger siblings as toddlers. They are priceless and if they would not be told, as you do it here, they will be gone, lost in the river of memories. Thank you for making this subject available in your blog. I look forward to your writing even if you skip a couple of days.

andrea said...

i love spanglish in toddlers. nayrita is just starting but oh i love each instance, like when she say 'balloones' - well, sure! the plural of balloon is balloones, baby girl! ;D

Jennie Powell Norton said...

So cute! I speak Spanglish very well myself.


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