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Friday, March 28, 2014

When do my kids need speech therapy? AKA I'm going to give my kids speech disorders

I know, I know. I've read the literature that says you should be diligent in correcting children's mispronunciations. If you don't, researchers say that it can develop into a lifelong problem. Sometimes I don't like researchers.

Why? Because I sometimes like my children's speech to rub off on me and not the other way around. Take my two-year-old daughter for example. For some reason she can't pronounce the pairing "OL." Instead it comes out more like the pairing "ER." This leads to some adorable mispronunciations.

Who wouldn't want to "herd" this little girl,
especially when she asks so sweetly?
For instance, with her arms outstretched and a hopeful look in her eye, she'll say, "Will you herd me?" This is almost always at the top of the stairs when she doesn't feel like navigating the stairs with her own short little legs. Heaven knows she's fallen down them often enough. So I’ll indulgently pick her up, usually answering, “I’d love to herd you!”

It's even endearing enough to get me to lug bulky inanimate objects around for her.


“Will you herd my tea party downstairs?” she says often. She also uses the word like the word “carry” sometimes, which makes it even cuter. And then I feel like a jerk if I refuse her request to take her sizable box of tea-party toys downstairs for her where she can scatter them to her heart’s content, driving her mother crazy. Yeah, I usually get in trouble with the wifey for that one, but my 2-year-old taskmistress has needs too, y’know?

In the winter, it’s not too warm where we live. In fact, you might say it’s downright “kerd.” Well, my daughter would definitely say it that way, and does. It’s sticking to me now too.

"It's kerd outside," she'll say, wrapping her arms around her bare shoulders since she’s come out on the porch in nothing but a diaper, as usual. “My sherders are kerd."

“I know it’s kerd, erm, cold,” I reply, briefly trying to correct her even though it’s more fun saying it her way. “Get inside and put something on those nekkid little sherders and it’ll be a little warmer.”

Yup, easy to revert to her way even when I’m trying to correct her physical actions as well as her speech patterns. I can’t help it she’s so delightful!

This is just one example of the many ways my linguistics have become more like my toddlers’ over time. I can’t be the only one this happens with. Every parent has got to have their favorite mispronunciations they don’t want to accidentally erase through correction, even if it could set the children up for a life full of speech therapy.

Plenty of people write about when speech therapy is necessary, I’m just not one of them. In fact, I give those people the “kerd sherder,” because sometimes talking like my kids is just too fun. And to me, it'll be a sad day indeed if my daughter ever asks me to "hold" her because she needs a "shoulder" to cry on.

Maybe I'll let her grow up a little when she turns 6... nah!

Do you have any favorite mispronunciations you don’t want to accidentally fix in your toddler?

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