My son has been using the word, "ahnuhdah" frequently. He can't yet make "l" or "r" sounds. His vowels are sometimes a little off. It's similar to the newspaper's funnies page puzzles - switch some letters around, insert an "r" here or there. Hmmm. Still can't figure that one out.

When I can't understand his words, I do one of the following:

"Show me a "ahnuhdah." Can you point to "ahnuhdah?"

Sometimes I get lucky, and he shows me exactly what he means.

Other times, he points to me. "I'm "ahnuhdah?" No, he nods. I sigh.

Then again, he might smile and nod, yes. "I'm "ahnuhdah?" He smiles again. I sigh, no closer to deciphering the verbal cuneiform.

Yet another outcome is that he might point to a picture or an object. I query, "A car is "anuhdah"?" No. "A truck?" No. "A vehicle?" No. I sigh. "OK."

Or, I might raise my eyebrow, nod, and smile emphatically as though I were conversing with a kindly person in a foreign country, like my husband's Hungarian grandmother.

Today, Beren and I walked through the Spring Street Garage on the way to the Princeton Public Library.

"Boo," he said pointing at a blue car.

"Yup, a little blue car," I replied stupidly.

"Yed," he pointed at a neighboring red car.

 "A little red car," I said.

"Yed," pointing at another red car.

"Yes, that's red, too," I said.

"Ahnuddah," he said pointing to a third red car.

My mind slowed by two nights of crappy sleep - my son has yet ahnuhdah cold featuring a cough and sniffles. I mean another...wait. Ahnuhdah?

"Yes, that's another red car," I said and kissed his temple.