Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Kid talk - how do they get it so wrong sometimes?

Kid talk - how do they get it so wrong sometimes?
5 June 2013

I love the way kids get words all wrong.  The way they pronounce them all funny, with absolute conviction as if they’re 100% right.  All three of mine had a bad bout of Chicken Pops when they were little.  And Amber loved eating bamanas.  Cole called his dummy a “bunny” and his beloved milk, “moenie”.

I also just loved the little songs they used to sing.  The way they jumbled the words.  Their enthusiasm and joy in singing making up for their lack of diction and melody keeping.  At Chatterbox playschool where all of my kids went, they always said thanks before snack time and usually with a little song.  So sweet.  I am assuming that most of the songs asked for blessings over their meal.  And one of Cole’s favourites, which he used to sing loudly was “Bread is a lovely thing to eat.  God bless the garlic and the wheat”.  I’m assuming it’s actually barley and not garlic, but it was so sweet none the less.  And he only sang at one volume always.  LOUDLY!

Another favourite of Cole’s was a song about his namesake – Old King Cole.  Who apparently was not “a merry old soul”, but rather “an American soul”.  Interesting indeed.  In summer time, Luke never wore slops, instead he wore his “fumb-toe sandals” – because his big toe went to the one side and the rest of the little piggies to the other side of the divider of the slops.  And so it made such sense.  His fumb toe, actually being this thumb toe.  Or as us adults would call it, his big toe.

Amber quickly figured out the division of labour in any marriage.  And so, instead of the woman being “The Bride” and the man being “The Groom”, she swapped them around.  The man was “The Braai” – because traditionally men braai meat.  And the woman was “The Braaibroom” – cause women do things like sweeping.  As in labour.  You can’t fault her logic.  It actually makes kinda sense.  Clearly she’s a switched on little girl.  Very observant too.

All three of my kids, always yearned for forbidden fruits.  Namely bubble gum and chewing gum.  None more so than Cole.  And when he was just a teeny tiny little tot, he called it “Bee-bum” and “Duggum”.  And usually parents are rather wise about giving kids “Bee-bum” and “Duggum”.  And so they don’t.  Grandparents on the other hand, are not as discerning and love to dish it out.  No wonder grandparents are always so popular.  I think it could be their way of getting us parents back for causing them sleepless nights.  And vomiting on them as babies.  And big up.  It is hugely effective.  Part of the rite of passage for any parent, is to try and successfully remove bubble gum from hair.  There are only two options – peanut butter and scissors.  And believe you me, the scissors are the best bet.  Quicker.  Less painful.  And you are not left with the all-pervasive smell of peanut butter on your hands, for days afterwards.  Nor on your kid.

Luke used to sing the alphabet song and when he got to the bit where the words are, “h, i, j, k, l, m, n, o, p”, he used to simplify matters quite a lot, and simply sang, “h, i, j, k, manamanapee”.  Hey, it worked.

It is actually such a pity that one eventually has to correct them.  As those little mistakes are just so cute.  I hated having to un-teach Amber her lisp, as it was just so adorable.  Yet we had to do the whole speech therapy thing.

Sometimes, there is no rhyme or reason, as to how they get to certain words.  I had a cousin who used to call my brother, “Ronnie”.  Rather peculiar, especially given the fact that he called a skateboard a “Ronnie” too and my brother’s name is Albert.  And yes, Ronnie used to ride a Ronnie too.  The same cousin, at about three years of age, upon hearing his new baby cousin was going to be called, Roxanne, asked, “Why are you calling your baby rocks and sand?”.  As if my aunt was going with a bit of a sea theme.  He also used to call his dad, “Daddy-oh”.  Until my aunt figured out that that was actually her own doing.  As she used to say excitedly, “Daddy’s home!”, every evening when my uncle came home from work.

And perhaps all things considered it’s not all bad.  I remember reading a very funny little insert in the Living and Loving many years ago.  About a little boy of about four years old who went to playschool.  And when his teacher asked him what his name was, he said,


Maybe I’ve dodged the odd bullet?  Perhaps it’s not a case of kids muddling things up and getting it so very, very wrong.  The opposite in fact. 

They are remarkably observant and sometimes get it so very, very right.

My little Braai

Amber and her bestie, Mikayla, dressed up as a Braai and a Braaibroom for a playschool wheel rally

Aaahhh! The cuteness!!!

Hair 0 - Bubble gum 1
It's a nightmare!


  1. Such fun and reminds me of Stuarts unique childhood speech

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