I really didn’t want to go to the race. The last thing I wanted to do was sit outside and watch my kids while my husband tested his mettle in a 5K out in the middle of nowhere.
But then the kids melted my heart. They played in the playground and cheered for their daddy. I became reacquainted with totish — toddler English.
My 2-year-old son has been expanding his vocabulary. His new words include:

  • ma momo — motorcycle
  • lahwn momo — lawnmower
  • bar bar — granola bar
  • boo boo — cut, anything not out the normal
  • H-copter — helicopter
  • Aye-man — A superhero

While I’ve figured out most of his language, there are times when I’m just befuddled. These times cause the greatest frustration.
But then, we don’t need words. He often tries to push me out of my seat to get what he wants. He enjoys playing name the thing in the cupboard, where I point to everything inside the cupboard trying to figure out what he needs.
Then there’s the times were he curls into a ball against my chest and falls asleep. He shakes his fist and says, “Bad, bad,” when I discipline the kids.
He just smiles and laughs when I scold him for dismantling a sibling’s piece of art could be bad. After all he was using it to make his own art (see above wind chime.) It still looks great.
And as I unravel this limited vocabulary, I come to find how limited my body-speak is.
I’ve been dealing with a mild case of shin splints. It felt better on flat surfaces that are crushed gavel. Hills and asphalt were bad, as were the short heels I wear at work.
As I tried to find the words to describe my pain to another runners, it was like I was speaking a foreign language. I just couldn’t describe the pain adequately. It was pain near the front bone in my leg. It hurt when I ran. That’s all I could come up with. And I use words as part of my job. Why was this so hard?
In the end, I was advised not to do hills for a while. I did them anyway.
In an interview during a “Ben Greenfield Fitness” podcast about a book called “Becoming a Supple Leopard,” they suggested that many cases of shin splits are due to heel striking, landing on the heel of your foot when you run. I’ve adjusted my stride and haven’t had a problem since. I also noticed that I’m able to maintain my speed for longer periods now.
Slowly but surely, I’m making strides to better understand my kids and myself.