Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Amanda Lamb: Wordplay

Posted October 23, 2011

"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.


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  • pdeloatch Oct 24, 2011

    My son used to call barbecue sauce "garbage cue" sauce. And you know, new words and phrases have to come from somewhere-- maybe your kids will invent the next ridonculous one!

  • leew Oct 24, 2011

    My daughter used to sing happy birthday to you as "happy burp-day Tuesday"

  • ladyzog Oct 24, 2011

    My youngest daughter who is 22 now, at Christmas while driving would view the houses with all the lights and say,"look mama kissmas" We mention it every year and giggle. Love the memories!

  • kittiboo Oct 24, 2011

    Biggle. Which means "big 'ol" as in, "That was a biggle piece of cheese!" From the mouth of my 3 year old. She also goes to "freeschool" which is anything but, and says "agether" for together. LOL!

  • Glass Half Full Oct 24, 2011

    My daughter used to brush her teeth with poothtaste. I still use several of her special words.

  • msnfnp Oct 24, 2011

    My daughter used to pronounce Trader Joe's as "Tartar" Joe's.

  • donnaferguson Oct 24, 2011

    Enjoy her now. They grow up really fast! Thanks for sharing your family with us.

  • Platinum Oct 24, 2011

    When I was very young, I had apparently heard the words "big" and "huge" used together, in other words, "it was a big, huge truck". To me, the second word sounded like "cuge" coming right off the end of "big" so I went around for years describing large things as "cuge". I don't remember anyone correcting me, and it took a long time for me to understand where I got that in the first place! I must have been 12 before I realized the word was "huge"!

  • hihuwatlu Oct 23, 2011

    Babing Suit (Bathing Suit) and Sunbrella (Umbrella) were two of my daughters. My niece had me calling Harry Potter "Harry The Potter" until I slipped up and said it in front of someone else one day. I'm sure they got a kick out of it.