It’s a well-known fact of parenthood that at least a little of its delight stems from your kids’ mispronunciation of words unfamiliar to them. One family of friends still calls their duvet a flubble for this reason. A really sweet little friend of my eldest daughter visited us not long ago and quietly requested a scottie – which flummoxed us. I cast around looking for perhaps, I don’t know, a biscuit? A toy of some sort? A little gentle questioning brought us to the understanding that a country wee was required. As a mother of two daughters, it’ll always be a squattie to me now.
Some of these mispronunciations are more problematic than others. Demanding cockporn in a supermarket is infinitely more embarrassing than asking where the veg-buttals are.
As ever, the summer has produced its usual crop of delights from my kids. My eldest was 98% certain that one of her best friends was on holiday in Ana-wiff-wiff for a week. When I’d calmed down and wiped away the tears, I worked out that Aberystwyth was the actual destination – but they might as well put Ana-wiff-wiff on all the road signage for me now.
The youngest is at the age where she is an absolute goldmine for this kind of stuff. Requesting her hair be put inna bum was only outdone by her loud demand that our headmaster admire her mingoes (flamingo dress). I’ll be heartbroken when she learns how to pronounce ‘zebra’ properly. At the last count it had three syllables and no ‘z’ (sheh-buh-wuh). Late last year she toddled about the house with a plastic bag slung over her shoulder, her mad hair and half-on, half-off ‘jamas making her look like a tiny Bad Santa working her way through a tequila hangover. She was delivering peasants. I hope they didn’t mind.
Her utterings are usually hilarious (occasionally humiliating too) and only outdone by her cannoning around the house like a pinball in search of yet another wall or door to launch off into space. A friend said we should attach a Go-Pro to her and monetise the results on YouTube. It would definitely be a bit Sir Digby Chicken-Ceasar.
She learnt to speak and to walk a little slower than her elder sister, her stumbling toddle like a perpetual fall that was always narrowly averted. Only recently have we realised that, amidst the laughter, there might be something amiss. An audiology appointment later, we find out that she has significant hearing loss in her right ear. Could be impacted wax, could be a long-term hearing problem, we’re awaiting further investigation. In the meantime, she’s enjoying olive oil drops at bedtime (“I CAN’T HEAR YOU MUMMY!”) and we’re still enjoying her mispronunciations.
Do I wish she didn’t have a hearing problem? For sure. We all want perfection in all things for our children. But would I have missed out on these moments in the meantime? No, I don’t think so.