With tomorrow being Mother’s Day, I hope that the following brings a few smiles to all you moms….and dads.
My youngest just graduated from college last Saturday, so now we are facing an empty nest at home. In truth, it’s been nearly empty for quite a while, but graduation makes it official.
During the next several months I will most certainly find myself reminiscing on the years we were raising our three children. There are so many treasured moments to savor watching your kids grow up – from moments that amuse to moments that exasperate. And there is certainly a lot of territory in between.
As a “Words Guy,” I was particularly attentive as my children developed their language skills. They experimented with sounds, usage, and meaning, as they magically learned how to communicate with others. I beamed with pride, I was amazed, I was entertained.
It began with my oldest son Dave. Dave’s first use of simile caught me by surprise. It was a sticky summer day with insects and the general grubbiness that comes from oppressive humidity. Dave was getting bitten and experiencing great discomfort. Finally, he blurted out, “I feel like an all-night salad bar for the mosquitoes.” Although his words made no sense on the surface, I understood him completely.
Another time, he was earnestly giving me his opinion on something and I probed for an explanation. “What makes you say that?” I inquired. He looked at me with a slight scowl that betrayed his impatience, and matter-of-factly replied, “I make me say that, Dad.” Duh………….! I understood him completely.
Dave also had trouble with pronouncing certain word pairings. Woody Woodpecker and Kentucky Fried Chicken come to mind. I’ll leave it to your imagination how those sounded coming out of his mouth!
Mike, my middle child, had a habit of combining bits and pieces of words to reflect his own perception of reality. One day we were trying to decide which restaurant to go to for lunch. He suggested we try “that pickle dairy place.” Pickle dairy? It took us several minutes to figure out that he was talking about Olive Garden.
Some of his word pairings were quite clever in their own way. He referred to our baby monitor as a “microcom.” When he had a headache, he asked for “aspirinol.”
Stephanie, our youngest seemed to pick up languages skills a little more quickly. However, she had a problem pronouncing her name. It invariably came out as “Tessie.” When I called her “Tessie,” she adamantly responded, “I’m not Tessie…..I’m Tessie.” And I would respond, “that’s what I called you, Tessie.” And round and round we went.
Sometimes I referred to her as “Pumpkin.” That riled her up even more “No hear me punkin,” she would shriek.
Well, Dave, Mike and Steph are adults now and they’ve become very effective communicators in their own right. But it brings a smile to my face when I think about the special words, phrases and patterns of speech that they made their own while growing up.
I’m sure that you, in your roles as parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or siblings, have your own special memories. You never know what a kid will say next. But it certainly can be unexpected, even embarrassing, but genuinely entertaining!