Toddler L’s Growing Vocab At 21-Months Old

At the start of the year, I wrote a post about Toddler L’s first words. As a 16-month old, she’d started vocalising a couple of things which could be classed as actual words rather than just random baby noises. Considering how much Toddler L’s communication, vocab and understanding has advanced during the last few months, I thought it warranted another update.

I rarely compare Toddler L to other kids or seek ‘advice’ to tell me what she should be doing at what point. To me, all kids are unique and develop at different rates, so what’s the point of getting stressed if they walk later than usual or aren’t yet holding a fork? We have enough to worry about as parents without getting unduly concerned because our kid isn’t doing things by the book. Rant over!

Having said that, I did quickly Google to see what ‘the authorities’ say when it comes to the amount of words a kid the same age as Toddler L *should* be saying. According to this post from BabyCenter, “Between 18 and 21 months, children seem eager to imitate the words they hear around them. A typical 20-month-old has a spoken vocabulary of about 12-15 words, though many children have far more.”

Toddler Vocab Boss of everything t-shirt

At 21 (and a bit) months old, the sprog is slightly older than the 20 months cited, but it serves as a useful comparison. As a record of how her vocab has come along, I decided to try and list all of the words that she currently says. I’m pretty sure I’ve got everything, so she’ll probably start saying a new word today to spite me. Bloody toddlers. Here goes:

  • Dad – “Dada”
  • Mum – “Mama”
  • Dax – “Dack”
  • Car – “Caaaar”
  • Bike – “Beeeek”
  • Door – “Door”
  • Sock – “Shok”
  • Shoe – “Shuuu”
  • Eye – “Iiiiiii”
  • Teeth – “Teeeeth”
  • Garden – “Gargan”
  • Spoon – “Schpoooon”
  • Fork – “Fooooork”
  • Plate – “Plaait”
  • Tea – “Teeeeee”
  • Cheese – “Cheeeeez”
  • Tree – “Tweee”
  • Ball – “Borrrl”
  • Book – “Buk”
  • Hat – “Haat”
  • Bum – “Bum”
  • Baby – “Baybeee”
  • Dog – “Dog”
  • Fish – “Fshhh”
  • (All) Gone – “Gom” or “Gorl Gom”
  • More – “Moooor”
  • Mine – “Myyn”
  • Down – “Down”
  • Walk – “Waaak”
  • Kick – “Keek”
  • Yes – “Yeah”
  • No – “Nooo”
  • Hello – “Hyyyy” or “Hehwow”
  • Bye – “Byyyy”

By my count, that’s 34 proper words in her vocab. In addition to this, she also has a number of ‘words’ for things which don’t quite make sense, but we recognise what she’s trying to say. Either because she always uses the same word or because she makes a sound related to it, rather than actually says the word. I can’t list all of these as the list above took it out of me, but to give you an idea, here’s a few:

  • Grandma / Grandad – “Gangang”
  • Batman – “Bapbap”
  • Water / Drink – “Gwaaak”
  • Ketchup – “Dap dap”
  • Dinner for the dog – “Dindins”
  • Train – “Choochoo”
  • Duck / Bird – “Kwaaak”
  • Cat – “Owwww”
  • Dinosaur / Lion / Tiger – “Waaaaaw”
  • Cow – “Boooooo”
  • Boat – “Row, row”

Obviously all of this is pretty mind-blowing as it doesn’t seem that long ago when she was a useless, lazy newborn. However, the thing that I find proper crazy is her understanding. Particularly over the last month, it’s felt like she’s gone from a toddler to an actual kid in terms of her comprehension.

For instance, if the missus and I are chatting to each other and Toddler L is entertaining herself, she’ll often randomly chime in if she hears a word she knows. So if I say something like “should we take the dog for a walk?”, the sprog will start shouting “waaak, waaak”, then move on to saying “shuuu” as she looks around the living room for her shoes.

Toddler Vocab Toddler Walking Dog

One of my favourite things is when we’re out and Toddler L is in the baby carrier. It’s astounding just how much she knows. Even though she can’t necessarily say the word, she can point to things like the sky, sun, moon, plane, canal, light, boad, road and grass.

It’s even got to the point where we can ask her things and she’ll do it – for instance, “can you put the wrapper in the bin?” or “can you pick up the red block?”. I guess I’ll have to make the most of her listening to me and doing what I ask – being the strong-minded kid she is, I imagine she’ll be ignoring me and defying my wishes pretty soon.

So that’s the extent of Toddler L’s vocab at 21-months old. I imagine the next big step we’ll see is when she starts putting certain words together to make sentences. What was your kid’s first word? How did their vocab and understanding develop? Are any of the words on Toddler L’s list the same as for your sprog? Let me know below!

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  • RachelSwirl

    It’s amazing to watch your little ones learn their words. It is also sooo quick and before you know it they have words popping out constantly!

  • So this doesn’t make me jealous at all! Toby’s first word was “dada” and he then moved on to “hello” and “clock”. At around 18 months his speech all but halted, went backwards even. We’ve found out recently, as in this April, after numerous attempts to get referrals and people to listen to us, that he has glue ear in one ear which has contributed to his speech delay. As it stands, we’re waiting for a second hearing text next month, which will confirm if he needs surgery to drain his ear and have grommets. Secondly, we’re waiting for another referral to the speech therapist which is a 10 week wait, yay! In the meantime we’ve been using Makaton sign language! Although, to be fair to Toby he is really trying with his speech and he now has a vocabulary of around 60 words! He’ll be 3 in August. I just want him to talk!

    • Hi Jade. Just wanted to say try and not worry . He is still so young. Both my boys had speech delay. My eldest didn’t say anything at all til 3.5 years and even then it was very basic.. We had all the gubbins therapy wise and now I can’t shut the bugger up! It won’t be long before you are saying the same!
      My youngest is 4.5 and he is very shy and hardly speaks. I’m just happy that I know that he understands me. That’s the main thing and I know he will come around in his own time.
      And Dave, not long before she’s asking you for money and telling you that you smell weird. Trust me on that!?xx

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