Now that our son can make complete sentences and tell stories that last for 10 minutes, you’d think we’d be able to understand him all the time. But no. He has recently decided that “real” words were overrated, and he frequently reverts to invented words to answer to our questions, “bougou” being his favorite. I don’t know if he makes up words when he doesn’t know the real ones, but I doubt it. It seems to be either when he’s frustrated (like when we ask him to do something he doesn’t want to do) or when he wants to be funny that he will answer our questions with intelligible blabber. In the first scenario, for instance if I say it’s time to change his diaper and he doesn’t agree, the blabber is usually accompanied with some “I hit you” gesture – he doesn’t actually hit us, but he pretends to hit us while shouting “bougou”. This behaviour tends to increase our own frustration, therefore provoking a “I’m serious, stop being silly” response that probably only reinforces the behaviour. Kids know how to push our buttons.

But why, oh why? We’re talking about a child who has been able to explain what he wants to us, using words, since he’s about 18 months. Sure, sometimes we’ll have to ask him to repeat several times or rephrase before we can understand his pronunciation, and sometimes he doesn’t know a word and he’ll just say “that” and point, but in general, his language skills are amazing for his age. We’re not used to not understanding him! But he finds it tremendously funny. So I guess we’ll bite our tongue and wait…

And bougou to you!

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