Thank goodness for American Sign Language and the fact that it has given me the ability to give my children the ability to interpret their toddlerese into words I can comprehend.
Many parents of toddlers know that JUICE and SHOES are top of the list of favorite things. And it just so happens that the sound of J and the sound of S let alone SH are challenging for toddlers to make so those two words JUICE and SHOES sound an awful lot alike coming from the mouths of babes.
I'm not sure how many times over the course of parenting 3 little ones I thought my child had said juice and it was in fact shoes or vice versa, but it was a lot. Enough that I knew to share with parents in my classes that these are words to consider listening for and looking for and bother teaching their baby/toddler the signs for to avoid a common frustration in communication breakdown.
Sometimes it ends up being words that rhyme that sound alike (but not always), so as my toddlers vocabulary grew and ZOO and BLUE were added, those became words I would at times need to ask "Can you sign it?" Usually that was after they had said JUICE cup for example and I thought they were asking for the BLUE cup. Silly things like this result in tantrums in many households where they don't have a tool to navigate the words that are being misunderstood. Many times I could just pause and ask my children to "show me" what they wanted. In our household "show me" could either be 1) show me the sign OR 2) show me the item --- and then I'll show you the sign so we avoid future communication breakdowns.
Stay tuned for more stories of words that sounds alike coming from the mouths of babes ; )
Joann Woolley is owner and instructor of Sign4Baby in San Diego teaching parents how to communicate with their pre-verbal baby using American Sign Language. With her in depth knowledge of ASL as her first language she takes you beyond just the basics in signing, also filling your parenting tool belt with parenting tips and tricks coupled with signing as a great boundary teaching tool for toddlers. Want to know which signs most parents start with but gets them stuck in the mud? I'll send you that hundred dollar tip for FREE.