My 7-year-old said "shum" for "thumb" for a really, really long time. My now-5-year-old called it a "fum." I don't know why I loved these mispronunciations so much, but I did. SHUM. FUM. It was weirdly sad when they stopped -- I almost wanted to encourage them to go back to their slushy babytalk versions.
I was thinking about verbal kid-isms recently when my youngest expressed his frustration with a U.S. map jigsaw puzzle. The pieces didn't fit together very well, and he got mad about halfway through when he bumped it and all the states slid apart, earthquake-style. "I don't even like Nopelahoma!" he said, storming off.
Sadly, my kids are flying past the biffed-word stage -- who approved this "growing up" business? Where can I file a complaint? -- but I have fond memories of some of my very favorite mispronunciations.
First, there was "fire truck." I don't know if all kids go through a period of slurring "fire" and "truck" together so it sounds like a very bad word, but both my boys did as toddlers. We probably shouldn't have encouraged them as much as we did. ("Say 'fire truck,' honey! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAA. Let's get Grandma on the phone!")
Then, the mythical animals. I remember a hippoblotamus. A buffalope. Elemphant. Crockerdile. Woofs (wolves). Wooster (rooster). And totles, pronounced exactly like the "I Like Turtles" kid:
Body parts were interesting for a while, since they all ended in "ee" sounds. There was, of course, the aforementioned shum/fum, but also beebees for breasts. ("Why you gots dose beebees, Mommy?") My youngest called his elbow an elbee for a while. My now-7-year-old referred to his little toe as a "wee wee wee" -- as in, wee wee wee, all the way home.
An elevator was an elebator. Library was liberry (and actually, it still is). Envelope was embelope, balloons were bawoons, and for a very long time the thing I typed on for work was a picuter. Picuter! COULD YOU DIE. Man, I'm so going to miss these kid-isms when they're all gone.
I asked my Twitter pals to share some of their own kids' funniest/cutest mispronunciations, and here are some of the fantastic examples:
Lorelai says “feetball” instead of “football”. I die every time. -- Erin
"Private seat" for privacy. As in, "I'm going potty. Can I get a little private seat?" -- Celinda
My son thinks "movie theaters" are "movie see-you-laters." I've yet to correct him. -- Valerie
My son used to say "momotamus" for hippopotamus. My husband adopted it as his band name. -- Robyn
My youngest is 6 and we still say we are having pant-cakes for breakfast. -- Snoopymom
My 5-year-old calls breakfast "breptist" and only recently realized that goggles aren't "googles". I blame my oldest for ruining that one. -- Nonsoccermom
Grocery cart = grocery carpet. Adele = Madell. We've corrected him many times but secretly still glad he says them. -- Jessie
My 6-year-old tells me that things are "ridick-lee-ous." She also calls her favorite candy "Reese's penis butter cups." -- Cindy
Cait calls mozzarella "monsterella". And I will cut anyone who corrects her. -- Caly
Habidopter (my now-10-year-old) and helihopter (4-year-old). We were sad when those went away. -- Chelle
Cutest: daughter's "sundle" for snuggle. Funniest: son couldn't pronounce frog and therefore called Kermit a "silly fuck." -- Juliloquy
Current fave: parentheses are "the C's", eg, "I wrote my name & then put my room number in the C's." Makes more sense, actually. -- Scott
When Rowan was about 1.5-year-old, he called sandwiches "sumbitches." Man, I wish that one stuck. -- Jen
Gobbles. "I need my gobbles to see under water!" -- Crystal
My favorites are "Lightning the Queen" instead of Lightning McQueen. And of course, lollypops are "rollypops." -- Courtney
My 4-year-old mispronounced the name of his classroom assistant spectacularly the other day. Poor Mr. Cant. -- Amy
My 2-year-old daughter said thank you as 'F you' clear as a bell. Hand her a French fry? F-ck you! -- J Anne
The girl uses "nake-nake" for naked. May she never stop. We recently stayed in an RV which the boy insisted on calling the "Harvey." -- Cherie
My 4-year-old pronounces pistachios "mustachioes" and we've started calling him Mr. Mustachio because we're loving parents. -- Marcoda
What are some of the pronunciation goofs you remember your own kids doing? Do you miss the days of creative wordplay?
Image via Linda Sharps