Deciphering preschooler speak: what they say; what it means

by Melissa Jaramillo

preschoolersMoving past the toddler years, suddenly you're met with an extremely vocal child. You'll probably hear plenty of whys and how comes interspersed with did you knows.

Along with the questions, your child has become increasingly able to share their feelings, discoveries and adventures with their ever-growing vocabulary.

There's one problem. Some of the words may not mean what you think they mean. Parents need their own dictionary to decipher a preschooler's true meaning!

The ultimate preschooler phrase decoder

Do you run into difficulty decoding your preschooler? We've pulled together common phrases that you may hear from your 3– or 4-year-old and unlocked what each could means.

Your child says: "I hate you!" Secret code for "You did not give me what I want right now, so I'm going to say those three little words that will shred your heart to pieces, stomp on it, chew it up and then spit it out. Now, do I get my way?"

Your child says: "I am going to marry you when I grow up!" Secret code for "I love you soooo much that I can't imagine loving anyone in the world more!" or "You gave in when I said I hate you and I'm happy I got what I wanted!"

Your child says: "I'm STARVING!" Secret code for "I haven't eaten in a whole hour, mom! Please feed me before I waste completely away!"

Your child says: "I need to go potty!" Secret code for "You should have taken me a half hour ago. You now have 20 seconds to get me to the nearest bathroom."

Your child says: "I'm thirsty" (typically heard at bedtime). Secret code for "I need another excuse to get up and out of my room."

Your child says: "I'm not sleepy/tired." Secret code for: "I know that you have something really exciting planned after I go to bed and I don't want to miss a minute of it!"

Your child says: "I'm boreddddddddddd." Secret code for "The 2,000,001 things that you have suggested -- toys, coloring, play dough, books, crafts, games, playing indoors or out, etc. are all unappealing. What I really want is YOU!"

Your child says: "Tom's bothering me!" Secret code for: "He is breathing my air, invading my space, or the worse offense -- looking at me!"

Your child says: "I promise that I'll take care of that [fill in the animal]!" Secret code for "I won't feed, bathe, or clean up after it but I will cuddle, pull its tail, play too rough, try to give it treats that it shouldn't have and attempt to sneak it in my bed every chance I get."

Your child says: "I want a candy bar" Secret code for "Give me the candy bar or I'll pitch a fit until your cheeks turn so red they will burn off your face!"

Your child says: "Mommy, my tummy hurts." This one can be difficult to interpret. By paying attention to facial expressions, we've narrowed to two most common meanings:
1. "Grab a shield quick! I'm going to hurl 1000 feet with enough force to knock down a sumo wrestler."
2. "I really feel fine, but want you to take off work and stay home with me today. Then we can play!"

Your child says: "I'm tired!" Secret code for "You don't really expect me to help clean up those toys strewn all over the house, right?"

Your child says: "I hate meatloaf and green beans!" Secret code for "Mom, can I just eat dessert first. I know I'll like it much better."

Your child says: "I don't know." Secret code for any and all activity they do not want to 'fess up to.

We could keep going -- kids come up with the most amazing things. The true meanings are even more hilarious -- or frustrating -- depending on your point of view in "the moment."

We're certain that you have plenty to add to our list. Share them below!

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.