Taye Diggs: My Ridiculous Dad Vocabulary

10/25/2011 at 11:00 AM ET

Two-year-old Walker Nathaniel isn’t the only one learning new words in Taye Diggs and Idina Menzel‘s household. The Private Practice star tells PEOPLE that he has taken on an entirely different vocabulary since becoming a dad.

“The most ridiculous thing I have heard myself say is, ‘Do you want your pop-pop, your banky or your baba?’ Translation: ‘Do you want your pacifier, your blanket or your bottle?'”

The actor, who recently wrote his first children’s book Chocolate Me!, says “zerberting” — a.k.a. blowing raspberries — is another popular term at home, as is “nakedy time,” which is when Walker runs around the house sans clothes prior to his bath.

Courtesy Taye Diggs

Another language the two share is music. Diggs and his wife — known for her powerful pipes on Broadway and Gleeย — are constantly in tune with their toddler.

“I sing him an assortment of songs,” Diggs, 40, tells PEOPLE. “We made one up just for him called ‘Sleep Walker Sleep’ and we sing random songs from musicals in a really slow go-to-bed tempo.”

But Walker’s favorite singer at the moment appears to be none other then Beyoncรฉ.

“His favorite song is ‘Single Ladies,'” laughs Diggs. “He really gets down to that one.”

— Mia McNiece

FILED UNDER: Exclusive , Kids , News , Parenting

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Showing 53 comments

Paula on

What a beautiful photo of father and son!!

Olivia on

I know so many toddlers who love Single Ladies. I don’t think Beyonce knew she was writing a children’s song, lol.

CTBmom on

I know I say this on every post about them, lol…but I love Taye and Idina! He is just a hotty and she is lovely and they both are so talented. Walker is so cute!! I think he favors Idina =)

mary on

Yummy! I could listen to both Taye and Idina all day!

stephanie on

You right he does favor is mommy all the way.

Elisa on

This charming little guy makes daddy looks even hottier hehe.

Seriously, look what a little human being make a grown man say! The magic of the fatherhood.

juill on

Is that an amber teething necklace?

Abbie on

Such a beautiful family!!!!

Lady on

It’s so funny how all babies LOVE Single Ladies lol…never get sick of seeing babies dance to that!

anon on

Walker is gorgeous, such a wonderful mixture of both Taye and Idina’s features!

A on

He’s got his mama’s eyes (shape) and ears but the rest looks like a combination of the two. He’s adorable!

Katie on

What a beautiful baby boy!!! So handsome just like his hotness father!! LOVE PRIVATE PRACTICE AND SAM BENNETT!!! You can do surgery on my heart!! YEAH!

kendrajoi on

LOVE seeing pictures of Walker- it’s been awhile, and he’s so big and cute! Love this family!

Robyn on

Beautiful man, beautiful baby…

Amy on

Beautiful picture of a beautiful dad and son.

Belle on

“Nakedy time” must be one of those like father-like son things. There are stories of Taye running around the Niederlander Theater in the buff during the early days of Rent as well. :~)

They’re a gorgeous, talented family.

Mary on

The pop-pop, banky and baba line had me LOL…The baby talk happens to everybody, haha…What a beautiful picture-you can see the love!

Much happiness to this beautiful family….

mary on

‘zerberting’- that was invented on the Cosby Show!

Sam on

Simply precious. That’s all. Simply precious.

Grace2 on

Gorgeous pair!

Ella on

Gorgeous! Oh, and Walker is super adorable too. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Monica on

That is one of the most beautiful pictures I’ve ever seen! Gorgeous family! What a sweet little boy.

DaisyMoon on


Terri on

That’s hilarious. Adorable little boy!

Ashleigh on

Juill – yes it is an amber teething necklace. Good to see them getting a little more exposure!

Kat on

I just love this family… they waited and wanted this so much and are totally relishing their roles as parents. I am sure Walker is one very happy toddler.

Dawn on

It will be interesting to watch Walker as he grows up and if he decides to be an entertainer. That in one SERIOUSLY talented family. Taye and Idina are amazing. Can’t help wondering what little Walker is going to bust out one of these days!

Dawn D on

Hey Taye, You and your son are adorable. I love you on Private and other works you have done. But I never understood why parents don’t talk normal to teach their kids the proper way to talk/call items there names. JMHO

Amanda on

@ juill looks like an amber teething necklace. I have a bracelet for my son. I love them.

Maria on

Cute dad and cute kid- and I know what he means! I have a 19 month old and we also say funny things all the time!

ClaireSamsmom on

Private Practice is one of my favorite shows…love Taye on there! What a beautiful picture of him and his little boy!

Susan on

Dawn, I completey agree with you. The speech therapist in me cringes when I hear people do this. Yes, yes, many kids turn out just fine, but you’d be amazed at how many are in therapy because parents thought this type of speech was “cute” and never corrected it. Gotta say, too, love the pic! Both of them are gorgeous! Love Taye with the facial hair!

Anonymous on

your son is s beautiful – he have your eyes – his mother is also a great beauty

Janna on

@Susan… I have never met a 10-year old still using baby speech. I’m sure their son will be fine.

Mia on

He looks exactly like his mama-but a nice complexion of both his parents.

Although dad vocab is cute-Isn’t it usually recommended to use full words to increase kids vocab?

megan on

I didn’t think it was possible to love Taye Diggs even more!! and his son is adorable!! I really hope they let his fro grow out, I love little kids with fros!

Tara on

thanks for the info mary! never heard the word before. my boyfriend used to “zerbert” me and i thought it was a swedish thing, cuz he’s from sweden. haha gotta ask him if he ever watched the cosby show!

Shelly on

The man is just gorgeous! I have a feeling Walker will be taking over Daddy’s position as “Heart Throb” in the near future! Taye and his wife make a beautiful couple so it’s only fitting that their little boy is just adorable. Great article.

amyelizabethsmith on

What an ADORABLE pic! Love that little Walker is wearing a teething amber necklace too ๐Ÿ™‚

Marisa on

I’ve always like him and thought he was a very good actor, his son is so cute!

Traci on

Oh my gosh Taye is “HOT”. Walker is adorable.

ToniMP on

Although a beautiful family and baby, I really cringe when people use baby talk. My daughter is two and she says funny things like adding an “s” to words (ie. Make-ups rather than just make-up). I think it’s adorable when she says it but I always use the correct wording so she will eventually say it correctly. I don’t reinforce the wrong words, especially things like babas or whatever. I don’t speak to her in baby talk and and I don’t repeat her funny baby talk words. I know someone who’s 7 year old still says bobo for bottle…any bottle. It’s crazy!

Jamie on

I really hate when people feel the need to judge the way other people parent. YOU parent your kids the way you want to and other people will do the same. Taye Diggs chose to share a little tidbit about his son and instead of just reading the article and moving on with life, people feel they need to judge his parenting style.

It just seems to me before anyone judges another, they should take a look at their own parenting and see if it is perfect. Until any of us are perfect parents we should not judge the way others are doing the job.

marija on

Every toddler loves Single Ladies! My 23 months old included ๐Ÿ™‚ Such a lovely family they are! I can sense how happy and loved this boy is.

Tracie on

I don’t get the big deal that he is talking to his two year old that way. I don’t remember having long intellectual conversations with my parents when I was a toddler. I think Walker will be just fine.

Gorgeous, gorgeous little boy. He is a great mixture of Taye and Idina. I hope they have more children, though I know they started very late.

Dee on

Oh man I just love this pic…I haven’t seen him since he was born.

I know where he is coming from with the baby talk but I try not to do it. I speak to my son in full sentences but our family does the opposite which drives my hubby nuts.

So auntie would say, “ta ta mommy” meaning give it to mommy and my hubby would get upset and say no, “give it to mommy” and he would come and give whatever it was to me.

kim on

He is SO smoking hot!!! love it. They make such a beautiful family, what a beautiful little boy ๐Ÿ™‚

Toad 73 on

Toni needs a laxative.

michelle on

I’ve loved Taye Diggs since “Rent”, and the short lived “Kevin Hill”…which, if you ask me, was a huge shame. What a great show that was..and I sure wish they’d release it on DVD.

Idina I didn’t know very well beyond “Rent” until her stint on Disney’s “Enchanted”. Her role was such a good one in that, too.

(Not a fan of Glee, so…)

Either way, I love this story.

Debbe on

This little one is so cute, he looks so much like his mom. I see her eyes….

Sophia on

wow what a nice picture of son and father… he is cute little man,adorable~

Arima Trinidad on

I have been in love w/ Taye Diggs ever since I saw him in “How Stella Got Her Groove Back” then watched him on his first tv show in which he became the “Dad” to a lovely little one named Sarah. Wish that was still on it was a great show.

His son is beautiful and if he ends up looking like his Dad he will be one lucky little boy.

guest on

It’s the baby that Rent made!