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On Being Boring

I moved from London to Brussels with my husband nearly 10 years ago. When I told people we were moving, the news was greeted with bemusement: why did we want to move to a city that was possibly the most boring place on earth? Ten years later and I can honestly say that I've had more fun here than I ever did living in London. It might not be the most exciting city in the world but it is a fantastic place to live. It is full of hidden treasures that you probably never get to see as a tourist: wonderful shops, amazing food, great museums and galleries, beautiful architecture, a forest (yes, a whole forest), and so much more... And if that doesn't convince you, well, get on a train and you could be in Paris, Amsterdam, Cologne or, yes, London in no more than a couple of hours... Which other city can you say that about?

The Charlie Lexicon

Charlie talks a lot. He always has done. He will babble on incoherently for hours if you let him. Especially if you’re lucky/unlucky enough to get him on the phone (and believe me, if you call, he will insist on talking to you). A few months ago, we started to notice that some actual words were getting mixed into the noise. Things like “hello” and “bye” and “thank you”. Since then, the speed at which new words have been adding themselves to his lexicon has been quite astounding… These random sounds slowly crystalising into comprehensible sounds. I don’t remember this with Amélie. She was much later talking and even when she did, progress was much slower and more hesitant. Probably because she was learning French and English at the same time (with a bit of spanish thrown in at nursery… In fact, we think her first word may have been “patos” for shoes… Zapatos is spanish for shoes). Charlie has never been to nursery or day care. He probably does hear French when we’re out and about, but little enough for it not to get mixed up with his main language and confuse him. And so he hears words and he repeats them and refines them until we understand them and he gets what he wants. He must think it’s magic: for months he would have to cry and scream for ages before we’d figure out that what he wanted was a drink. Now he just has to say one word (oh alright, maybe two) and we’re off to find his bottle.

I wanted to catch a snapshot of his repertoire right now so, a couple of weeks again, I started writing down the words he was saying on a regular basis. And I kept on writing and writing and writing some more. And every time I thought I was done, out would come a few more words. Today, I realised I would never be done. I’d thought he’d have his few words for now and that would be that for a couple of months. But Charlie is not playing along. He’s decided he’s going to be bossing us around in full sentences before Christmas. So I’ve given up. I’m stopping here. This is it. Or at least this is what I managed to get down. Charlie would probably be horrified at the number of words he’s saying that I’m just too dense to understand. My only regret is that you can’t hear him talking. Because I promise you he manages to make every single word he says completely scrumptions (or hilarious. Especially “oh no” which is said very much in the vein of Bruce from Family Guy. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, click here. Yep. Almost exactly like that).

What he says   What it means   What it really means
Amie   Amelie   Hey, big sister, let’s go create havoc together.
and-oo thank you Woo-hoo! Got my way again!
ba-bee   baby   Look! Someone smaller than me!
ball ball It’s spherical. I’m going to throw it.
bath   bath   Let’s get water everywhere!
bear! teddy bear How dare you try and walk out of my room without kissing my cuddly toy first?
bed   bed   Let’s pretend to go to sleep.
beep! beep! something beeped/ something flashed This was the most exciting/terrifying thing EVER.
bi-doo   Scooby Doo   Best thing on tv – no questions asked.
bin bin If only you knew the things I’ve thrown in there.
bip   zip   I know you only just put my clothes on, but it’s SO much fun getting naked.
boat boat Bath-time is not bath-time without things that float.
boob!   breast   I keep on forgetting they’re there and then there they are!
book book I will not go to sleep unless I have at least four in bed with me.
boom   balloon   Just one more. Pleeeease!
boot boot I’m going to put them on, then I’m going to go to bed. Promise!
bountz   bounce   I’m about to jump on you.
bread bread A slice? No, I want the whole loaf.
brush   toothbrush   Do not come near me with that thing (see “teef” below).
buggy buggy We must take it with us. But, yes, I will refuse to get into it. Don’t pretend to be surprised.
bum   bottom/poo/fart   Yep, I did keep it in until just after bedtime deliberately. Bwahahaha!
button button Let me press it. LET ME PRESS IT NOW OR I WILL DIE!
bye-bye wiwee   bye-bye willy   See you when the nappy comes off again!
bye! bye I’m off, cheerio!/Please leave now.
daddy   Hanno   Mummy’s being mean again, let’s cuddle.
dantz! dance Woo-hoo! MUSIC! Let’s dance!
doddle   bottle   Get me a drink. Now now now!
dog dog Not as exciting as a cat, but still pretty good (see “tat” below).
door   door   A rectangle of wood that swings on hinges: HOURS of fun.
down sit down Don’t even think you’re leaving me alone in this dark room again. If you try, I will scream all night.
fush   flush   Nope. Not going to wait until you’re done. I’m just going to go right ahead and press the button.
gone all gone Fill’er up again (see “doddle” above).
hair   hair   Let’s make ourselves pretty.
Han Hanno HAAN! Hanno I want something.
hands   hands   I want to wash my hands. Again. Water is fun.
hat hat You call it a potty, I call it a hat. Wanna argue?
hello   hello   How kind of you to ring. And by the way that was the last word you’re going to understand until I say “bye” in about 20 minutes time.
here you go here you go It’s broken. I don’t want it anymore.
hot!   hot   Are you crazy? Are you trying to kill me with this hot food/bath?!
hurt hurt I just did something really stupid and now I’m in pain.
I don’t know   I don’t know   I’m innocent.
keys keys Give me some keys now or I will scream (he’s a bit obsessed with keys).
mama   grandma/Amanda/female other than mummy or Amélie   If I smile sweetly at you, you’ll give me stuff won’t you?
mine! mine Amélie is playing with something I want.
moo   moo   I see a cow.
more! more Do it again. And again. And again (ad infinitum).
mummy   Cass   Daddy told me off so I’ve decided I do love you after all.
nice nice Cuddles are good, aren’t they?
night   good night   I’m going to bed now (or at least that’s what I’m going to let you believe).
no way! no way In your dreams.
no!   no   Not ever. Never. No.
nose nose Are you people stupid? I’ve been telling you where my nose is for at least a year. How can you still not know?
not that   not that   That is not what I wanted at all.
oh no! oh no! I chipped my nail.
on   on   Turn the light on.
one-two-fwee! one-two-three You’ve got exactly three seconds to get over here before I jump and severely injure myself. Woops. Too late.
ouch!   ouch   That didn’t really hurt, but I kinda feel like it kinda should have.
out! out Get me out of this damn high chair now.
over there!   over there   I left my bottle over there. Fetch.
ow! ow! Yeah, that kinda hurt.
pants   pants (English meaning, not American)   I’m not wearing trousers without pants. Nope, a nappy does not count.
paper paper Let’s do drawing!
pee-pee   pee   I’m about to pee everywhere/oh look at that: I just peed everywhere.
peese please Do you really want to make me beg? Cos I will.
phone   phone   The phone is ringing! Quick! Answer it!
pidgin pigeon We live in a city. The only birds I ever see are pigeons. I’m going to chase that one now.
plane   plane   Look! Look! There’s a plane! It’s the most exciting thing in the world ever!
pocket pocket No, I won’t give it to you but I will compromise and put it in my pocket instead.
poo   poo (the brown smelly stuff. Not the bear)   Wow! I really did get it everywhere this time, didn’t I?
pot potty Quick! I really need to pee!
pwitty?   pretty   Do you like my drawing?
run run I wasn’t joking, I really do need to pee! Get me the pot (see “pot” above).
see?   see   Show me show me show me!
shoe shoe Look! I’ve put your shoes on! I know I do it at least three times a day but it’s still hilarious isn’t it?
sleep   sleep   You might as well go to sleep in my bed mummy cos I’m not going to.
ssssh! shush! Just stop, mummy: stop singing! Pleeeease!
stairs   stairs   What do you mean “there’s a lift”? I know there’s a lift. But there are also stairs. And I can do myself much more harm on the stairs. Let’s take the stairs!
tat cat Look! Look! A cat! I’m going to burst a blood vein, it’s so exciting!
tatch   catch   I warned you! (see “weddy” below)
tee-tee-tee! tickle I see feet. I’m going to tickle them.
teef   teeth   Noooo! Not my teeth! I don’t want to have them brushed. I want them to rot and fall out instead.
up up I’m going to climb somewhere really idiotic now.
wait   wait   I have shorter legs than the rest of you, you gits.
weddy? ready? Either way, I’m about to throw a ball at you.
wee-tee   TV   I will behave abhorrently until you turn the damn thing on so you might as well give in now.
weet feet That’s what those things at the ends of your legs are called. Amazing aren’t they?
wet   wet   I’ve just washed my hands. Will you look at the state of the floor/my clothes/my hair.
what’s that? what’s that? what the hell was that noise?!
woe   blow   Please blow up my balloon. Please! Just one more…
woss wash Please can I have some soap? Yes, of course I’m going to use it to clean the same tiny patch of skin on my tummy again. Why?
wot?   what?   Totally wasn’t listening to you.
wragh! monster Definitely not going to sleep now.
yeah/yey!   yeah/yey!   Woo-hoo! I finally wore them down!
you alright? are you alright? I’m actually quite worried about you.
yum yum!   yum yum!   Chocolate!


PS: it just took me about 4 hours to paste that table into this post. And it still looks ugly. Please say something nice to make me feel better.

24 November 2012 - 9:38 AM WSM - He definitely had some sort of word for John with a g in it! This is fun, though.

25 November 2012 - 9:49 AM Amelie - Loved reading through his words and get another glimpse into your life :) Didn't see anything wrong about the table, it looked great here ;)

25 January 2013 - 8:34 AM Gosia Maik - OMG I laughed so hard:D

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