I think the first time we heard it was during a scary(ish) episode of The Backyardigans. N (who was three at the time) climbed into my lap and grabbed my shoulder. “That was Yikes!”
He nodded “Uh-uh.” He held his hands out for emphasis. “That was yikes!”
That was several months ago. Ever since then he’s used “yikes” as a synonym for scary. Two weekends ago, he started adding modifiers. He and I were on a trip to Animal Kingdom at the time, and we had just ridden on the raft ride there.
He had started crying the moment the ride started and didn’t stop until well after it was over. We sat down on a bench to talk it out.
“You wanted to go on the raft ride!”
He sniffled. “But it was really yikes!”
“Really, really yikes!”
“Okay. Well, I’m sorry we went on it.”
He stopped crying. “Maybe when I’m ten, okay? Maybe when I’m ten.”
“Fair enough.” I pointed to the big roller coaster towering over us – the one that he’s way too short to go on – “How about that one?”
He looked at it and pushed away from me, eyes wide. “That’s surely Yikes!”
I lauged. “Surely.”
We went to see the tigers, which, by the way, are also “yikes” – just not too much so.