Every parent has stories of their kids’ cute mispronunciations. I don’t know exactly why, but there’s something overpoweringly cute about the way our little ones mangle our language.
For example, my youngest’s favorite color used to be “gheen.” His drink of choice was “melonade.” His older brother’s most beloved dessert was “rash,” known to the rest of us as Heavenly Hash ice cream.
As they get older, though, the cuteness fades and the correcting begins. We try to do it gently. After all, we’re the ones who let them speak this way in the first place. We can’t suddenly get angry with them.
While we were driving home the other day, my youngest asked if he could have something to drink. Feeling grumpy, I told him that we had plenty of water in the house, and he was welcome to it when we got home.
“Root beard?” he persisted.
Yes, that’s right. He calls it “root beard.” I think this is because I have a beard, and he mixed the two words up.
“It’s just root beer,” I said. “There’s no ‘d’.”
“That’s what I said: root beard.”
“No,” I said more sharply. “There’s no ‘d’.”
“I call it root beard.”
“It’s r-o-o-t, new word, b-e-e-r.”
“Can I have root beard?”
“It’s ROOT BEER,” I shouted.
“Duh!” he shouted back.
I looked in the rearview mirror to see him grinning from ear-to-ear. “Root beer DUH!” he said, throwing his arms up in triumph.
His brother laughed. So did their mom.
Did I say the kids were cute?
I didn’t mean it.