My daughter is about three and a half years old. Her name is Lyla, and until last week, she couldn’t say her “L” sound correctly. We never stressed about Wywa learning the correct pronunciation, but were also never the parents who talked or encouraged baby talk when speaking to her. This past week, something clicked, and she suddenly started calling our dog Lucy instead of “Wucy”, and instead of “wuving us”, she started loving us. This was really one of the last speech hurdles she has had to overcome. She can correctly say almost all words and sounds (except that if you ask her how old she is, she will still say “free”). This new development had us reflecting on all of the language “mistakes” Lyla has had over the course of her little life- from the cute to the downright embarrassing.
Most of the time, her toddler-isms were nothing short of adorable. I was a little bit sad when “peppa-know-ee” became pepperoni and “pasketti” became spaghetti, and I still have a voice recording of one year old Lyla’s attempt at “cinnamon”. It’s about 10 seconds worth of “cinnamon-anin-anin-anin-amina…” (You get the idea!) I absolutely loved how she called my mom “Ham” instead of Gram for almost a year.
Some of my most memorable Lyla-isms were the words that she came up with completely on her own. For example, breastfeeding was affectionately called “mun”, and big girl panties were/still are “sweeties” or “sweetie pants”. (I have no idea where either of those words came from!)
However, there were a few mispronunciations that just couldn’t go without being corrected. The kind that made me blush when they left her little lips. The first one came when she was only 1 year old. She loved ice in her teethers, but instead of the long “I” sound, she substituted a short “a”. Yes, one of the first words my daughter used to correctly identify something came out sounding like the “A” word! And you know, when she only had 5 words in her arsenal, we heard each of them A LOT. By age 2, she had developed a love of peanuts. You can probably guess why I was mortified when she demanded them loudly in a restaurant, not quite able to enunciate the “T” in the word. And along those same lines, she has always loved helping us open boxes- what toddler doesn’t?! However, when I taught her the word “directions” (as in assembly instructions), I had no idea she would so clearly and emphatically ask to see the “erections” every time we opened ANYTHING for months.
Toddlers are funny. They can’t help it, and while there are definitely times when an inability to communicate can be frustrating, every toddler-ism I can recall reminds me of a sweet memory or season of time with my daughter. It’s true what they say- the days are long, but the years really are short! So write down those little language mistakes and, as they get older, hilarious one-liners! They’re so fun to look back on, but can be easy to forget!
What are some of the cute mispronunciations you have let slide for the sake of sounding adorable? Have you ever been embarrassed by something your toddler said? I would love to hear your personal favorites!