One of the funniest things in the world is listening to a child as they learn to talk. For some reason, it’s just so adorable when a little one says something like “wuv you.” Of course, most of us can translate this to “love you,” which brings me to the point of this writing. What about those times when you can’t translate what your child is saying? It can be frustrating for both you and the child…or it can be hilarious.
When I was a child, I had a deficiency in my speech. I guess my older brothers did as well, but since they’re older, I wasn’t there and can’t confirm this…but I’m sure it’s true. You see, we grew up with deaf parents so some of our speech developed from hearing their words spoken. For example, my oldest brother apparently had a heck of a time when he first went to school with the words “ice cream.” In his mind, he knew exactly what it was, but with his mouth, it came out “eye cream.” Little chants on the playground became a disaster (because we all know kids can be cruel to each other) and one chant, in particular, was to be avoided.
“I scream, you scream, we all scream for EYE CREAM!”
Hours, even days of entertainment would follow. By the time I hit school, after hearing all the stories from my brothers, I chose just not to speak. Imagine my relief when I finally graduated! I finally felt I could ask a question without ridicule! “Is it really ok to eat the glue?” I’d been dying to ask that for over a decade! I didn’t really get an answer, but it sure was a relief to finally speak!
Though my daughter seemed to be born to talk, my sons’ all had to go to speech therapy. One’s speech bore a remarkable likeness to Elmer Fudd, “Hey Da-a-a-d, ha-a-a-ve you seen my wa-wascally brudder?” Another would substitute “w” for “th.” “Hut time is it?” Of course, being a toddler, he said the word “what” or, “hut” quite often, like, every other word. He did it often enough that I would occasionally throw a football at him. You know, “Hut, hut, hut…” Oh, calm down! It was a nerf football!
The speech therapist said he did this because his tongue was too thick. I had him stick his tongue out at me (something he probably wanted to do a number of times) and sure enough, he could barely get his tongue out of his mouth. Our options were to have it cut or let him grow out of it. All I could envision was that medieval torture tool that clamped onto a victim’s tongue and pulled it out…no, we won’t be doing that. He grew out of it fine…but you can always make a boring party fun when you ask him to try to touch his nose with his tongue. Oh, once again, calm down! He’s a grown-up now! Embarrassing your kids is your right as a parent! Why else do you let them live to adulthood?
Anyway, the hilarious story happens with my youngest. He had a serious speech impediment that left him with needing an interpreter to communicate. Of course, the only interpreters were his family. We knew what he was saying…but the daycare sure didn’t.
Now, before we get into this story, we must look at some facts. 1) having a speech impediment can be frustrating for both the speaker and listener. 2) The larger the vocabulary, the more words will be misspoken. 3) If the listener isn’t prepared, they will hear something that wasn’t meant (i.e. eye cream).
At the daycare that day, of which my two youngest sons attended, my youngest was trying to speak about something. At first, it was with the other kids…then a teacher got involved…then a number of teachers were involved…then one of them (the prettiest and smartest one) had the sense to get my second youngest son involved (remember, family interpreter?). In the end, it was figured out, but not before they nearly had me come get him.
You see, my youngest son had a number of speech issues, one of them being the long “a” sound. For those of you not sure, the long “a” sound sounds like “hey” minus the “h”, unless, of course, you were my second youngest son where the “h” was perfectly acceptable in speech. Anyway, my youngest couldn’t do the sound. It came out like a short “u.” Once again, for those of you who aren’t sure, that sounds like “uh.” So, for example, if he was trying to say “rake”, it came out “ruck.” If he was trying to say “make”, it came out “muck.” “If he was trying to say “fake”, it came out…let’s just say he was trying to say “fake.” He was trying to say it so everybody could understand it. He was repeating himself, louder and louder, hoping someone would understand.
“Fake,” he would say with his own sound to it. You know, “f@#&!” Like I said, over and over, louder and louder. “Fake, fake, fake, fake, FAKE, FAKE, FAKE!” Of course, all they heard was, “F@#&, f@#&, f@#&, f@#&, F@#&, F@#&, F@#&!” Little virgin ears were shattered on that daycare playground. If it wasn’t for the pretty and smart daycare teacher ending it, they may have been scarred for life! It’s not often that a three-year-old goes postal on a daycare playground…um, wait…scratch that last statement.
“But wait a minute Mr. Dazeodrew,” some of you ask. “Isn’t it sexist to say the daycare teacher is pretty and smart?” Maybe. Maybe not. Especially if you end up marrying that same daycare teacher later…um, and there’s a chance she might read the blog. You never know.