The secret language of toddlers is always evolving. When they first start speaking, kids tend to mostly just sound as if they are snorting consonants together with a couple of vowels mixed in every once in awhile. Eventually, these odd noises start to resemble words, even if they are only recognizable to dogs and the child's parents. Because we spend
every waking hour a lot of time with our kids, we parents not only become accustomed to the weird things our kids say but sometimes even begin using their words too. I guess it's the same logic that allows us to refer to ourselves in the third person and use that itty bitty baby voice 24 hours a day, even the hours not spent with the baby. I am guilty of all of the above, but instead of hanging my head in shame, I decided to celebrate the ridiculousness. I compiled a list of my favourite words that my kid can’t say for your viewing pleasure.
Sammy (Mamiss) – Sammy is the name of Thumper’s adored stuffed rabbit. Apparently in Thumper-speak, Sammy is actually pronounced Mamiss. It is so.freaking.adorable. You might think I’m biased but trust me, if you heard her say it you would melt faster than when you found out this was Oprah’s last season on TV. I was so upset when she finally figured out how to say ‘Sammy’ that I continued calling the bunny Mamiss and eventually Thumper returned to saying it as well.
Clock (Cock)- Yup. Girl can’t pronounce L’s yet. But has no trouble with the rest of the letters. Sooooo awkward. I try to encourage her to just say ‘lock,’ which is probably more confusing in the long run but I can’t handle all the potential for embarrassing situations until she can say it correctly.
Grandpa (Paca) – This word has had a weird progression. Initially, she pronounced it ‘Bopga.’ Then she honed in on the ‘p’ and said ‘Popca.’ Suddenly it switched to, and has stayed on, ‘Paca.’ If you break the word up and have her pronounce it in sections (‘grand’ and ‘pa’) she says it pretty well. But when you get all excited thinking she’s finally got it and say it fast, she’s back to saying Paca. It’s kind of like when Phoebe tried to teach Joey how to speak French on Friends. Hilarious but totally baffling.
Thank you (Nah Dis) – Thumper started saying this early on, back when proper pronunciation was not expected. We thought it was weird – obviously because they sound nothing alike – but she pronounced it the exact same every time so we let it go, thinking she would eventually correct herself. But now I can’t understand how she’s mastered counting to ten or saying words like ‘careful’ and ‘lotion’ perfectly yet thank you is still ‘nah dis.’ Breaking up the words and annunciating the actual sounds doesn’t work for this one. She just stares at us like we are the ones speaking in code.
Go away (Go away) – This is one phrase that, somehow, Thumper has always managed to pronounce perfectly. It was also the fifth thing she ever said. (Again, she can say go away but not thank you. I don't get it!) It’s included in this list because it’s what she says when you ask her what a dragon says. Confused? Then you obviously haven’t read The Paperbag Princess lately. We didn’t even teach her to say it; she just busted it out one day during story time, and we’ve exploited its cute factor ever since. It might cause a lot of confusion once she starts school but the fact that she will likely still be saying ‘nah dis’ will probably be the bigger issue of the two.