Winter Language: 17 New Words and Phrases My Toddler Is Learning

It is getting hard to remember a time when my toddler did not talk non-stop. Just one short year ago, I was watching some old family videos yesterday and marveling at him just grunting and babbling with very little direct communication. We used to be able to keep track of the words he knew, and we’d celebrate with each new one. These days, we’ve moved on from words to sentences. He literally never stops talking (I swear sometimes he even talks in his sleep), and half of the words he knows I have no idea how or when he learned.

He’s a sponge, and he retains new information almost instantly at this age. So it’s always fun to realize when there are opportunities to teach him new things and new words. New seasons, and particularly holidays, are a great time to introduce all sorts of new ideas and words to toddlers. In the past few weeks, Cullen has regularly started using most of these — check out all the new words we’re using during this winter season!

  • Icy and Slippery 1 of 17
    ice-and-slippery

    Our back deck has a thin layer of frost coating it on most mornings these days. And because we go out the back door (and across the deck) to get to our car each day, it's important that Cullen understand what it means when something is "slippery." He knows what "icy" looks like, so he can look out the door and tell ahead of time if he needs to be slow and careful. So far we haven't had any big spills, and I hope it stays that way!

  • Baking Cookies 2 of 17
    making-cookies

    We don't bake much in our house year-round, mostly because I have zero willpower for sweets (typed as I polish off a delicious gingerbread chocolate bar). Cullen and I have baked together here and there, but he's never really gotten that into it. Last week, we made gingerbread cookies together, and for the first time he was super excited about it. He learned all about the mixer, the cookie scoop, and all sorts of other things, and of course we both ate quite a bit of cookie dough. 'Tis the season, right?

  • Mistletoe 3 of 17
    mistletoe

    Now that he's two, kisses aren't given out quite as regularly as they used to be. I will use any excuse I can get to plant a big kiss on his chubby cheeks. I make sure to catch him under the mistletoe at least once a day!

  • Ornament 4 of 17
    ornaments

    Last year, I decorated the tree while Cullen toddled around, tossing toys here and there and showing absolutely no interest in my holiday festivities. This year was totally different. He was so into it and we had a blast putting all our ornaments up, and telling him about each one. He placed all his favorites (the ones of the dogs, naturally) down low where he can see them easily.  We haven't had any ornament or tree destruction yet, so I'm hopeful the three might survive to see Christmas morning.

  • Puffy Coat 5 of 17
    puffy-coat

    Silly, but I laugh every time I hear him say it. Cullen and I both have big black puffer coats, and he's at an age where it's still fun to do things "like mommy." He loves going to our hall closet and choosing his coat for the day.

  • Santa 6 of 17
    santa13

    Okay, this isn't a picture of Santa, but we haven't made it onto his lap quite yet. Cullen has an expert eye for spotting Santa, and he shouts his name and points whenever he sees one. It's so fun to watch and see him get so into something that I know will be fun for many years to come.  

  • Snow 7 of 17
    snow

    We haven't had any snow yet this year, but I'm hopeful we'll get at least one mild storm. Snow is a huge pain to drive in, and it turns all mushy and slushy after a few days, but that first day of glorious white powder is so much fun for little kids. I hope we get a chance to throw snowballs and maybe even go sledding!

  • Snowman? 8 of 17
    snowman

    It's probably too much to ask for, but I can't even imagine the fun of building a first snowman with my kids. I'm grateful to live in place with typically very mild weather, but I can't help but hope for one or two big wintry storms.

  • Star 9 of 17
    star

    Cullen has known the shape "star" for a while, but it took on new meaning once our ornament box was unpacked. I had told him days before that he would get to put the star on top of the tree, and of course his amazing little memory held onto it for days and days. As soon as the top came out of the box, he started jumping and shouting to put it up top. He points out the stars on top of every tree we pass!

  • Stockings 10 of 17
    stockings

    We've had no reason to use the word "stockings" prior to holiday season arriving, so this is definitely a new one for the little guy. Knock on wood, he hasn't tried to pull these down yet, which sort of feels like a miracle? That might change after this year, when he realizes that sometimes they are filled with goodies...

  • Vest 11 of 17
    vest

    The only thing cuter than a toddler in a puffy vest is a toddler asking for his puffy vest. Cullen loves wearing his vest because it has pockets, and he stuffs his hands in them as soon as he gets it on. Way too cute!

  • Reindeer 12 of 17
    reindeer

    His baby brother has been wearing this reindeer onesie all season (pictured above on baby Cullen!), and he shouts "reindeer" now every time Graham is wearing it. I'm looking forward to future holiday seasons where Cullen can learn more of the Christmas stories and songs, and we can watch all the holiday movies!

  • Advent Calendar 13 of 17
    advent-calendar

    We've been doing our advent calendar every morning, and Cullen is way more into it than I thought he would be. I explained to him that Santa will come and we can open all our presents when Santa reaches the 25, so naturally he tries to move St. Nick to the 25 every morning. Oops! We are still working on the concept of sequence ...

  • Gloves, Coat, and Bundle Up! 14 of 17
    bundle-up

    Besides puffy coat and vest, there are so many other new things to talk about when we leave the house. Long gone are the baseball caps and tubes of sunscreen. These days we are armed with gloves, fuzzy hats, scarves, blankets, and baby brother's fuzzy bear suit. 'Tis the season to bundle up!

  • Christmas Cards 15 of 17
    christmas-cards1

    Cullen loves to identify the "mailman truck" as well as anything that comes from it. He likes to help me check the mail and see what gifts we've received every afternoon. He carries Christmas cards around the house, and talks about familiar faces and photos of friends and family. I love keeping them on display so we feel surrounded by all the people we love.

  • Christmas Lights 16 of 17
    christmas-lights1

    This is probably the highlight of this year's holiday season for Cullen. He cannot get enough. We have holiday lights on our house, and many of the other houses on the street have them up too. He points out every house with lights as we drive around town — a great way to pass the time on long car rides!

  • Christmas Tree 17 of 17
    christmas-tree

    Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree — my toddler sure does love you. I am the biggest sucker for Christmas, and I look forward to the holiday season all year long. There is nothing more fun than seeing my toddler fall in love with it, too!

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