"Just Bieber had a real growth-sprout," my little one said to me the other day.
"A what?" I asked, making sure I was hearing her correctly.
"A growth-sprout," she said with a big smile. "You know, when a kid grows really quickly."
The writer inside of me wanted to correct her. But the mother wanted to allow her to keep saying that adorable phrase over and over again. I think sometimes as adults we get so hung up on our children saying things correctly that we forget there is an inherent joy and innocence in watching them find their way as they sort out language.
"Mom, the teacher read a great chapter in our book today. What a clip hanger," she announced when I walked in the door from work one day last week.
"A clip hanger?" I said reflexively.
"Yes, it's when a story ends with a mystery, and you can't wait until you get to the next part," she said proudly sharing her knowledge of her new phrase.
Recently, she has developed an interest in running with me. We have started with short distances. Sometimes at night I let her get on the "tread-meal" as she calls it and jog for a mile while I monitor her. I have actually told her that the word is pronounced "treadmill," but for some reason she still says the second part of the word as "meal."
"Mommy, can we go on the tread-meal tonight?" she asks.
"Sure, but you know it is 'treadmill,' right?" I say gently.
"Yep, but I like my word better."
And so do I. Eventually, I know that I must guide her to the correct way to say these phrases for fear that someone else might use them as an opportunity to tease her. But for now, I am just enjoying the last remnants of my daughter's young childhood. She has plenty of time to get it right. Plus, I kind of like her versions better than the originals.
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including two on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.