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The Ten Stages of Toddlerhood in Words

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Tracy McArdle: From "Dada" to "Don't," the joys and snares of toddlerhood.

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1. Dada -- He spoke! Yes, it would have been nice if the first word was "Mama," but hey, at least it wasn't "goddammit." This is a happy word. Delightful, wondrous stage lasting until first co-ed sleepover.

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2. Hi! -- Now the world is expanding. Sometimes accompanied by a wave, often directed at self or inanimate objects, animals and unpleasant strangers in grocery stores. Never uttered on command.

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3. Truck! -- Soon to be followed by Car! Backhoe! Excavator! Fire engine! Cement Mixer! and my favorite, Front End Loader! You will find yourself exclaiming these words in rushes of sudden, uncontrollable excitement when driving by construction zones by yourself.

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4. Mine! -- This is the beginning of a life-long battle against the ego. Nothing you can really do except counter every utterance with "Share!" Particularly difficult to oppress when younger sibling and loud, obnoxious, toy musical instrument is present.

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5. Gimmee! -- See # 4 above.

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6. No! -- This quickly becomes the favorite word of all time, and the favorite stage of all toddlers. Like an episode of "Mad Men" for you, they simply never want it to end. Advanced "No!" techniques include combining the "No!" with a wicked grin, and immediate flight into another room.

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7. Why? -- This stage continues well into the teen years -- at least I think it does. It has not stopped since some unkind relative of mine shared this evil, evil word. Used as a response to nearly every request you will ever make as a parent.

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8. Please! -- Unfortunately not heard nearly as often as # 7, and never without the phrase "What's the magic word?"

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9. Don't! -- A powerful command, usually reached earlier with the presence of an aggressive, curious, teething younger sibling.

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10. Ow! -- Usually immediately follows # 9, and is quickly re-fashioned as a negotiating tactic, i.e., "Ow! Henry bit me -- can I have a cookie?"

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4 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous November 10, 2009, 11:04 AM

It will soon be “he’s looking at me!”

Andria November 15, 2009, 3:45 PM

Followed by, “He’s touching me!”

anonymous November 29, 2009, 9:17 AM

Be thankful your kids talk, mines autistic and is just now starting to speak at three… I love every word that comes out of his mouth!

Ten Tees January 9, 2011, 2:53 PM

Interesting post! Nice to read. There is one observation to submit about tee shirts.

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