Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I Guess It Would Depend on How Much They'd Had To Drink

Like a lot of preschool-age kids, Hank substitutes the /w/ sound for /r/ in many words.  So he says:

fwog
pawade
Wichard Scawwy book

And my favorite, a spell in the Harry Potter game:

"Weducto!" 

I'm not in the least worried about it, as I know that kids can take until age 7 or so to get their articulations sorted out. This website says that a four year-old should be "100% intelligible even if they continue to have articulation errors," and he is, so no big.  Laura had the /f/ and /th/ substitution into Kindergarten, I think.

But I don't even correct him.  I relish it when he says, "Not a pwoblem," or "Wock n' woll, baby!" I mourn for the early childhood speech patterns as they go away.  Do you feel that way?  I remember this with Laura too.  I think that my interest in words combines with my sentimental streak to get me kind of fixated on my children's language use.  I track their assimilation into adult patterns of speech with the mingled fascination and regret of an anthropologist watching a lost Amazonian tribe as they put on Reeboks and take up smoking. 

I have actually shushed people for correcting the kids.  I never want Hank to figure out that the grocery store is not called "Plublix."

So the other day Hank called out to me, "Hey Mom, could a team of winos bash down a wall?"  That made me pause, confused.  It wasn't so much the idea of winos suddenly turning violent that was confusing, it was the idea that they would get organized into a team or stay together long enough to accomplish such a difficult feat.

Then I realized he was watching the old cartoon movie of Robin Hood. In which the king's guards are rhinos.  Rhinos, ah.  Yes, they could do it I think.  Winos, probably not.

I am mourning the passing of this stage of his development even while it's right here in front of me.

19 comments:

Kelly said...

I loved teaching preschool for that exact reason. I swear it makes kids even cuter....and I bet the winos could do some serious damage to that wall ;)

delaine said...

How precious! Very heartwarming post.

My Kids' Mom said...

When my son began talking he wished my sister a "Happy Burpday" over the phone. She told me to enjoy that year because it wouldn't last. But then my other son did it too and we've been celebrating Burpdays now for nine years. And counting.

Kid 1 also substituted a "f" for "tr" making fire trucks... um, interesting.

Michele R said...

So cute. And please order the children’s book Hooway for Wodney Wat!, if you don’t already have it. My kids love it. Yes, I still read children’s books off their bookshelf to them.
My middle son used the W sound for “R” --only on words with R in the middle or end at age 4. Too, too often with a straight face I’d ask him to tell me again the name of the animal outside, just so I could hear the word “squirrel” in all his 4 yr old glory.
We asked our SIL, a children’s speech pathologist, who assured us how normal this is for his age and that there was no need to do anything or worry, as it would change once he was in kindergarten class and sure enough it did. He is in 7th grade now and LOVES hearing this story of him and he likes to say the word squirrel now trying it out as his former 4 yr old self.
Please forgive me for turning this into a post……but I once knew a coworker in our state that had a 4 yr old only-child and when I met that child I swear she was not speaking English even though the parents understood her (almost like “Nell” played by Jodie Foster!). I later told her that even though she (the mom) had never before walked through the doors of a K-12 school, she could call her nearest elem public school and ask about speech therapy. She was set up very quickly with a speech teacher and subsequently met with her often for a few months and it corrected her speech--a public school benefit (of which many people are not aware) for children who are not yet school age, as well as for those who are in K-12.

Megan said...

Thank you for posting this! I also get tinges of worry -- just tinges -- about my 4-year-old regarding his Rs and Ls, particularly since my 2-year-old could do voice overs if she wanted, she enunciates so well. Except that she likes to go to Plublix, too.

I'm going to ask my son to identify a squirrel today, and my consience will blame you all. :)

Oh, and depends on the type of wall (for the winos).

Keely said...

Oh my gosh, I was in tears over that one. Freakin' adorable, PLUS a hysterical mental image? Blogging gold.

I don't correct Xander, either. I mean, he's only just 3, so he is still unintelligible sometimes. But it honestly never occurred to me to correct his pronunciation. I continue speaking normally and assume he'll pick it up.

Anyway, sometimes his way is better.

Becky said...

Megan, that should have been the title of this post. "It depends on what the wall is made of." Dammit, a missed opportunity!

And I totally think their way is better, and we too sometimes adopt the child pronunciation. Like bananas in our house are "bamanas."

Let's go bamanas.

Monnik said...

Aw. how cute. My youngest brother was 8 when I went to college and he couldn't pronounce his 'r' sounds when I left. I came home for Christmas Break and he could say them. I was devastated.

When my youngest daughter started pronouncing her 'r's correctly (in Kindergarten) it was sad. Now she's all grown up. :)

Sjn said...

I am home alone laughing out loud! Yes, picturing an organized team of wino's rushing a wall, probably a liquor store. Thanks Hank!
No worries, "Kewwy" used to have a problem w/ her r's, and her l's too. ;-)

Michele said...

My youngest has a hearing problem so it took until he was in 7th or 8th grade before he stopped sounding like he was from upstate NY. I miss those days.

Elizabeth said...

Becky--I like "How many winos does it take?" better, but hey, that's just me (as a mere frequent lurker--my opinions don't count for much, I know!) But don't worry--I dropped the consonants following "s" ("sow" instead of "snow", etc.) until I was almost 7, and miraculously ended up just fine, despite the school's speech therapist's prognostications of doom. (I did end up an attorney, but I don't think they offered testing to screen for that possibility). Luckily my mother, rather like me, took such things with a suitably large dash of salt! My son used to say "na-na-NUH" for banana, and I still miss that. At least my daughter, who just turned 5, still talks about "aminals"!

Amy said...

Even though Nate is in speech therapy--his articulation issues aren't just the normal ones--we still love listening to him mispronounce things. Of course, we don't let him see us chuckling, but I'm like you--it's a symbol of days that are passing quickly by!

Bonnie said...

Don't forget that Laura used to call Veronica "Moronica"...

Marie said...

Jonathan's last "baby word" was
"mazagine" for magazine. When Evan tried to correct him, I said,"Leave him alone. It's his last baby word."

Veronica said...

Thanks, Mom, for reminding everyone.

Mental Momma said...

My little guy says pu-cuter for computer. This morning he was having a conversation with another 3 year old. The kid asked him who was in his class and he responded "No, we don't have a cat." Hilarious.

laura said...

Many of those words will become part of the family lexicon.

Amy @ Never-True Tales said...

Oh, I love this post. I feel the same sentiment when it comes to the poor pronunciation of toddlerhood. My kindergartener still stays 'goed' instead of 'went'. We are finally correcting him, in hopes that he'll get it right by middle school.

Team of winos. That'll be the day. LOL

gretchen said...

I still mourn the day Jude said "escalator" instead of "escalvator". He was full of these little "Judisms". But alas, no more. Though I must say, I'm enjoying this no-front-teeth thing. The other day he said to me "Mama, would you like me to show you thomething terribly thurprithing?" And I started giggling so hard I had to go in the other room.