My Three-Year-Old to English Translation Guide

Do you ever look at your child and say, “You’re really cute, but I have no idea what you are saying!” I have several of these moments with my almost-three-year-old. After a spectacular and well-witnessed incident, I decided she needed a Seven Quick Takes completely devoted to her developing language skills.

  1. What’s in a name? She calls herself Mah-nie, though Maddie would be a more cIMG_1792orrect short form of Madilynn. She calls Dietrich “Dee-Dots” – I love that she’s made his name plural. This is when she isn’t calling him “diet” because Peter often calls him Diet-Rich to be silly.
  2. Toys and Television. First the story behind the post: while hanging out with our church friends, she kept whining “hun-ghee ma-mals” at me. Several minutes this continued. Finally, she dragged in a Hungry Hungry Hippos game, and I understood. Another expression that took me awhile “Echoes Bared” while means “Legos
    Two words that make little sense in Madilynn-ese are FaLas and LaLas which are Princess and Mario, respectively. Her favorite shows are Sunshines or IMG_1612Little Einsteins (this one also took me a little while to figure out) and Doc Hah-mas, Doc McStuffins.
  3. Restaurants and food. Chichen Press is Chicken Express, Chicky Racecar is Chick-fil-a because the play place has a racecar, and Sockick is Sonic where she orders a pupull frushy (purple slushy). If she should tell you she wants a “brape” that would be a grape.
  4. Basic pronunciation. Some words are simply shortened, like exercise is simply “size” and hello becomes “LO!” C’s often come out with at T sound – I “tan” do it. “Tat” meow; R’s and L’s typically have an adorable W roll. “Sit wap now” means she wants to sit on my lap.  Friends becomes Fwends, Pray and Play IMG_1806are both “Pway.”
  5. Context is everything. As in the example above or this one: “Chi-chen” can be chicken, except when she says, “Chi-chen wuhld” which means “Jesus loves the little children of the world.”
  6. Beebins are penguins and afants are elephants.
  7. Everyday phrases (for us). Sit on ouch (couch), pi-pitch cheese (take picture/say cheese), Choon is a spoon, Puddles are cuddles/snuggles – which often occur on my “wap” sitting on the “ouch.” If she says “monkey back” that means she wants a piggyback ride. This came about because I asked if she was a monkey on my back and she said yes. Since we have a pharmacy in our house to fight the allergy/asthma situation, she nightly asks for mem-ness, her medicine.

This is a quick reference guide and likely not everything you need to understand Madilynn-ese. What funny words and phrases do your children use as they develop their language skills? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!


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