If you live in the USA and your native language is not English, you’ve probably experienced this: You take a phone call or have a conversation with another person in your native language, in front of a third person who doesn’t speak it. After you’re done, you look at that third person’s face and notice an awkward smirk of utter perplexity and they tell you: “All I heard was ‘glahhhrahh-glahhhrahh-glahhhrahh-glahhhrahh-glahhhrahh'”.

Photo by Tyla'75

Photo by Tyla'75

I’ve experienced this many times and I think it’s endearing. And if the person hearing the “glahhhrahh-glahhhrahh-glahhhrahh” is respectful, it makes me feel special to posses the key to a code that other people find mysterious and fascinating (or annoying). But I never expected to run into this situation in the sanctity of my home, and in somewhat of an inverse way.

My son has taken a three-pronged approach to immediate verbal fluency:

1. Spanglish: Like I’ve mentioned before, he’s pretty good at using Spanish words with me and English words with mom for the same things, but with increasing frequency, he’s starting to mix the languages.

2. “Dah-Dah”: I had also mentioned that he’s filling in some blanks with the word “dah-dah”….probably our fault for treating him like a baby. I’ll probably have to address this seriously when he’s 22 and still living in our basement.

3. Yodeling: Perhaps due to his German heritage on his mother’s side, a yodeling gene seems to have activated itself in my boy. So I’ll be changing him and blathering away like I always do, and my boy will start going on rants that go like this:

“Yudl – Ay – EEE, Yudl – Ay – EEE, Yudl – Ay – EEE, Yudl – Ay – EEE, Yudl – Ay – EEE…..papá” or

“Yudl – Ay – EEE, Yudl – Ay – EEE, Yudl – Ay – EEE, Yudl – Ay – EEE, Yudl – Ay – EEE…..perro” or

“Yudl – Ay – EEE, Yudl – Ay – EEE, Yudl – Ay – EEE, Yudl – Ay – EEE, Yudl – Ay – EEE…..silla¨…

You get the idea.

And it is this third approach that leaves me as perplexed as that third person unfamiliar with the language, feeling like all I heard was “glahhhrahh-glahhhrahh-glahhhrahh”.

It is fun to see the boy mock-stringing long sentences together by throwing in here and there some of the words that he knows and filling the rest with yodling. It shows resourcefulness, creativity, the fact that he has his daddy’s tendency to cut corners and do as little work as possible, and it is the cutest thing to watch. Oh, and it humbles me to witness a conversation where all I heard was “Yudl – Ay – EEE, Yudl – Ay – EEE, Yudl – Ay – EEE”

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