An incomplete guide to Zoespeak

03.04.09 | 3 Comments

Monday Zoe and I went to her two-year-old checkup at the doctor. She is 35 inches tall, weighs 25 pounds, and has a healthy head circumference. I do not know the exact measurement, as it was taken during what I will call the oh-my-god-mom-the-world-is-ending-how-could-you-let-this-happen period of the visit. We waited nearly two hours, watching The Lion King and other patients, and Zoe was a model citizen who entertained child and adult alike with her sweet nature. The minute we went back with the nurse, Zoe became a screaming, crying, clingy, miserable child who appeared both sick and tired. She carried on until it was just the two of us in the exam room waiting for the doctor. Her three immunizations received little more than an angry frown. Frankly I’m still a little confused about it.

When the doctor asked the developmental questions, I was proud to report all her advanced milestones. “How many words does she know?” stumped me. All of them?* I couldn’t even estimate how many she says, let alone how many she knows. I have been working on compiling a guide for posterity (perhaps someday parts of this blog can contribute to a scrapbook or something for her).

Some of these are obvious; often times it is so clear what she’s saying that no interpretation is needed. This guide is in no way complete, but below are the highlights. Maybe I’ll add to it. I just love how expressive she is. I tried to go roughly chronological – she has been saying some of these things for a year.

Nilk peez, which became nopee nopee nopee It is time for me to suckle, now, please.
Ihodeyoome? or I hugyoome? Pick me up and hug me tightly.
ifinedankyoo, said after a cough or sneeze and having been asked if she’s okay I’m fine, thank you.
Yoo’kay? said after someone else coughs or sneezes (your response followed by, “Good.“) Are you okay? I am concerned for your health. And I am happy that you appear to be fine.
Ihabitpeez Give me that thing you’re holding or to which I am pointing.
Beebeem (said sweetly and with a smile after a burp) Excuse me.
Kibo way! That damn cat ran off while I was trying to strangle her! What gives?!
Bpinkeen or bankin blanket, usually important to know because Sarj bankin! means That damn dog is on the blanket I want, and he won’t move!
Messh! I see a mess, or I have just done something that requires a cleanup on your part.
ABCs? Will you sing the ABCs with me?
Pudjle puzzle, easily confused with
Paydjoh Play-Doh
Carpgo! helicopter, her newest fascination
Pane, I see pane! Shee-it? I see a plane in the air! Do you see it? (Sometimes there is no plane, but she’s bored in the car. Perhaps it’s wishful thinking. Also, Sham-pane! = ???? I’m still trying to figure this out. It could be “where’s plane?” but it doesn’t always make sense when she says it.)
Peeno? Would you read me the ¡Hola, jalapeño! book?
Guys, guys! Stop what you’re doing (usually singing).
Yeh-yers letters
No I dohnyike it, battime/yohgit/whatever you just suggested I don’t like bathtime/yogurt/whatever (even though I totally do) because it wasn’t my idea.
Dibbledibbledap! (said really fast and accompanying an item, usually a book or a puzzle piece) Do something with this thing I just handed you.
And my personal favorite, usually accompanied by a hug, I luffyoo! I’m the sweetest kid in the world and I like making your eyes water and reminding you of the meaning of life.

*Though I truthfully could have, I did not offer that she has all the powerhouse swear words down pat.

Believe me: I’m embarrassed. And we’re all working on it. But I’m also as impressed as I can be (as well as sincerely flattered) that she has mastered what I have taken my lifetime to perfect in a mere two years. Sometimes words are just words, said perhaps to impress or shock, especially when from the mouths of babes. But other times there is such artistry. With the proper delivery you can actually feel the frustration and immediate relief at the release of foulness from the body. Her tone, inflection and timing are just impeccable. I think we all can appreciate that small consolation until, hopefully, we extinguish the behavior, or at least postpone it through elementary school.


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