I speak Ryan

As the parents of a toddler, my wife and I are constantly amazed at how his communication skills, his vocabulary in particular, are growing by leaps and bounds daily.  Thankfully, he hasn’t caught on to the fact that his parents need to clean up their language sometimes, a mimicry we can do without for a few years yet.

Out of the blue yesterday, though, his new favorite word became “rocket,” but with an F not an R; our outsized reactions to this pleases him so much that he’ll say it to anyone, including befuddled fellow toddlers at the park, who have probably gone home with shocked parents.

Since my wife and I constantly ask each other what he’s saying, I thought I’d jot down a quick glossary of terms.

  • Ah-sum: awesome
  • Appa: Korean for daddy
  • Ah-wu: since he was a year old, he’s used this word for “oo-yoo,” Korean for milk
  • Bitch: he’s actually saying bridge (honest)
  • Boke: broken
  • Come here/come on: a command that he bellows with the volume and certitude of my drill sergeant during basic training
  • Don’t touch: his general tantrum epithet/command, covers the spectrum from don’t touch me, to don’t touch my stuff; usually punctuated with finger pointing
  • Gad: as in “oh God,” which he learned from me when I dropped something – hey, it could be worse
  • Gilla: gorilla, because he likes to yell at the book Good Night, Gorilla while we’re reading
  • Habi: short for haraboji, Korean for grandfather, his name for my father in law
  • Hami: short for halmoni, Korean for grandmother, his name for my mother in law (my mother is Grandma, which cuts the potential confusion)
  • I say: reminder of what he just said to me, usually “no”
  • Mine: used in conjunction with don’t-touch
  • Mo’ Elmo Slide: you need to play the DVR of that song for the millionth time or I’ll have a tantrum
  • No: absolutely not, you need to consult my attorney before continuing this course of action
  • No tank: no, thank you, I won’t be having/doing that
  • Night night: I’m pretending to go to sleep, but ha-ha, you can’t make me; I’ll just lie here and sing the alphabet song out of sequence, or poop, or cry, to prove that you’re not the boss of me
  • Omma: Korean for mommy
  • Otay: okay, and not because we watched reruns of Eddie Murphy as Buckwheat
  • R car: our car
  • Wats dat: what’s that, which he’ll ask about just about everything he sees
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