“Huh?” — the grunt that asks it all

I’m still learning the nuanced language of toddlers–the repetition to confirm the listener’s understanding, the consonant sounds missing from both the front and end of words, the mushing together of all other sounds and the frequent use of the response “no.” But of late, a new “word” (for lack of a better term) has entered the vocabulary: Huh? Regardless of whether I’m asking a question or simply making an observation, my toddler has gotten in the habit of grunting this word endlessly.

But be frustrated no more weary interpreters! I think I may have broken the code on this one. Our little home-growing natives seem to want to speak sparingly so they can conserve their energy for more pressing matters, like running about causing havoc to all other members of the household for example. So they use the question “huh?” to encompass all of their questions. Some of our past conversations with my recently discovered translations:

Me: Would you like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or cordon de bleu for dinner?

Toddler huh? (Mother, could you please explain the latter option as I am unfamiliar with the French language?)

Me: Well, it looks like there is more road construction, again.

Toddler: huh? (Mother, could you please direct my line of sight towards this? Your seat is obstructing a large portion of my view. You know how much I adore large machinery.)

Me: Please stop chasing the chihuahua-mixed with-whatever-is-the-other-most-annoying-dog-breed with your toys?

Toddler: in mid throw huh? (But, Mother, why would I stop? This is everyone’s favorite game!)

So there you have it! And best of luck in the language department in your home!


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