Home Maryanne's Tales Family Kitty is Talking! Here’s his Vocabulary

Kitty is Talking! Here’s his Vocabulary


Kitty is 13 months old now and continues to achieve baby milestones. One of them is his speech, which has been showing great improvement of late.  He has graduated from the oohhhs and aaahhhs and babbling here and there, and now he actually utters some real words. Totally melts my heart. So far, he has 9 words to his name. And they are these ones, in historical order:

1. ‘mama’ – which he said at 5 months (and no, I haven’t rigged).

2. ‘tata’ – It means ‘sasa’ and he says it no less than 1,000 times a day. When you go to the kitchen for 2 seconds and you come back, he greets you. When he goes for a brief walk to the next room and returns, he says hello again. And he won’t stop saying ‘tata’ until you tell him ‘fit!’. He can be quite insistent about it by the way. Oh and he also greets people in the TV. Especially those reading the news. He keeps telling them ‘tata’ but unfortunately they don’t greet him back :( so the boy keeps chanting ‘tata’ throughout the news bulletin and only stops when the news ends.

3. ‘coco’ – from around 8 months. We have tried deciphering the meaning of ‘coco’ but we still have no idea. He just keeps chanting coco all day long. Maybe one day he’ll tell us and I’ll be sure to let you know.

4. ‘tetty’ – this is how he calls his daddy.

5. ‘nyou-nyou’. For nyonyo. Goes without saying.

6. ‘mbo’. Now, when I granted Kitty his first teddy bear, I told him it’s called Mickey Mouse. And he repeated after me by saying ‘mbo’. Okay, take two.

“Kitty, this teddy bear is called Mickey Mouse.”

He repeated after me by saying ‘mbo’.

Take three. I repeated it again and slowly said meee-keee-maoss. And he repeated after me slowly saying ‘m-b-o’. I gave up and just let it be. Mbo has become his constant companion as he carries him everywhere he goes. Though on the first day he chewed half of mbo’s nose away. He also ate his bowtie. He’s now been attempting to eat his eyes. Poor mbo.

7. ‘pepi’ – for baby.

8.  ‘toto’ – for ‘toto’. That’s what he calls all his peers when they’re hanging out together.

9.  And now his latest word is: chisss. Meaning juice. There is this bottle of juice in a plastic bottle which he loves carrying around while chanting: chisss, chisss, chisss. It has become one of his favorite toys.

Other than saying these random words, Kitty sporadically has long sentences saying things I don’t understand. Sometimes he’ll talk for about a minute and then hold his head at the end of the sentence. Then walk away.

Sometimes he’ll talk and then put a question mark at the end and expect an answer. Which I promptly give him.

Other times he’ll speak then laugh at the end of his sentence. I guess he laughs at his own jokes. When I ask him what’s funny, he responds in a line or two before hurriedly walking away to look for chisss while holding mbo.

And that’s how our conversations with Kitty go.



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Maryanne W. Waweru is a Kenyan mum raising her two sons in Nairobi. A journalist, Maryanne is passionate about telling stories and hopes that through her writing, her readers learn something new, feel encouraged, inspired, and appreciative of what they have in their lives. Maryanne's writing focuses on motherhood, women and lifestyle. "Telling stories is the only thing I know how to do," she says.


  1. I think coco comes from conversations with his grandma. Kukhu is the Lunje word for grandma. A grandma will always call the grand child based on this relationship. Since he has been called Kukhu all the time, he say coco especially when the grandma is nearby. Thats my take

    – tetty

  2. wow, he’s grown so much. i love ‘mbo’. Azizi had a ‘doggie’ which he also chewed up and still sleeps with it at 12 yrs old. i’ve sewed it and patched it up thru the years even tried to replace it of which he wanted nothing to do with the new ones. I wonder if he’ll take it to university with him?! lol.

  3. @Tetty yeah, I guess that explains the coco. He hears alot of that from his Kukhu.

    @Mama Azizi he still sleeps with it at 12 years? Okay! Clearly not only will he take it to university with him, but maybe he’ll carry it into marriage and pass it on to his kid!


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