Re-learning to talk

Ollie, like many kids, has historically had a little bit of trouble saying a few letters. For example, he used to say ‘w’ instead of ‘l’, like “ow-iver”, or ‘f’ instead of ‘th’, like “firsty”. With age and a few gentle corrections, these have mostly disappeared. However, there are still a few words that he says that are not quite right.

I don’t remember how it came up exactly, but it turns out that he’s not mispronouncing the words, he actually thinks that’s how they’re said. It was a total revelation to him that some of the words he’s saying are actually different than what he thought they were. When Sara explained that it’s “animal” not “amimol”, he absolutely thought she was putting him on. He kept giving her a look like, “When are you going to say, ‘just teasing!'”

Suddenly this light bulb has gone on. It’s like he’s learning all of his words all over again. I don’t know how he didn’t notice that when we said them we said them differently, but somehow he just didn’t. “Mother”, not “mudder”. “Pitch black” instead of “pinch black”. He knows all of his letters and can even write most of them, but he still says, “…h-i-j-k-em-oh-em-oh-p”.

It’s actually kind of sad; I’m not sure I want him to learn the right way to say things. I never know if I should actually correct him or not. I don’t want my little boy to grow up, I want him to keep saying “hooza-hoop” until he’s 20. So sometimes I correct him when he says something wrong, and sometimes I don’t.  Now that he’s aware of it, he’s paying closer attention to some of the things, so he’s correcting himself whether I like it or not.

As an adult, I would be horrified to learn that I had been saying something so wrong, loudly and often in front of others. That’s actually one of the great things about kids: they have no such self-conscious reflex. He’s actually just really interested in learning the correct way to do it.

Even if he’s got to learn to talk all over again.

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