Learning languages is hard. I have butchered my way through enough French and Spanish to know that the way words sound when spoken by someone fluent and the way my tongue stumbles and gets caught on them sound completely different. Indeed, I often seem to create my own versions of words, even when repeating them slowly and carefully after hearing them said properly. If I struggle after nearly thirty years on the planet it is no wonder that Miss Rose sometimes creates her own version of English.
I talk to Miss Rose constantly. When we’re walking round the supermarket I chatter away at her, when we’re eating dinner, when we’re getting dressed. Now she’s talking she chatters away right back at me and we manage to have an actual conversation. Fortunately, I speak Rose a little better than she speaks English.
My Mini Guide To Speaking Rose:
BUBBLES – fizzy water
BOBBLE – bottle
PASTE AND TEETH – I would like to go and brush my teeth now please, dearest and most beautiful mummy
MINCHES – instruments
VASION – television
MANMINGES – sandwiches
That last one is a particular cause of hilarity. Especially as when I am making The Boy’s lunch in the morning, she will point and declare he has a “cheese manminge”. At first we were so amused that we cried laughing, and talked about manminges for our own entertainment. However… something happened… we forgot that it was funny. We started talking about manminges. When Miss Rose wasn’t around. In public.
The looks you get when in a shop you suggest eating a manminge.
My brother regularly tells me off for using Miss Rose’s made up words to her. We will talk about what toys she wants to play with and I’ll suggest minches, and he sternly says to me “Instruments, teach her to speak properly”
Obviously I stick my tongue out at him or swipe a hand at his head. Because I am mature… so mature I’d never giggle about manminges in the middle of ASDA.
The thing is technically I know I should correct her. I should teach her to use the proper words because they are instruments not minches, and if she is going to communicate with people beyond those who speak Rose she is going to need to use the real words.
Am I doing her a disservice?
Possibly. But here is my reasons why I keep doing it.
a) It’s funny. So much of being a stay at home parent is about being tired and stressed. About finding levels of patience you didn’t know existed and about educating your small human on how to function in society. It’s about wiping snot off your face, cleaning vomit off the carpet, and screaming “OH GOD NO DON’T EAT THAT”. So when I find something that makes me laugh and makes her happy I tend to just go with it.
b) She understands both. If I tell her to point to the minches, she points at the instruments. If I tell her to point to the intruments, she points to the instruments. When chatting in general I use the real words. She hears the real words all the time and understands them, therefore using the Rose version of words doesn’t seem to be doing her any harm. It’s just that she pronounces them that way.
c) Her language is advanced. All toddlers are skilled in their own ways. Miss Rose doesn’t know any numbers or letters, can’t jump with two feet off the ground, and doesn’t have particularly fine motor skills. But she can talk. She has a much bigger vocabulary than the average two year old and can speak extremely well. She started speaking early and powered through. She loves words, loves language, and loves books. Expecting too much of her because of this is easy, and I never want to pressure her. So sometimes she uses “baby talk”, but as she’s only just 2 nobody would notice in any child other than Miss Rose.
d) She’s growing up so fast. Miss Rose was my baby. My longed for, dreamed of, craved baby. She was everything I had dreamed of having since I was a child and realised having a baby was possible. But she’s not a baby anymore. She’s growing up so fast when I look at baby photos of her it’s like a different child. Just as I am in no rush for her to stop having a bottle of milk, I am okay with her not having perfect language. Little touches of innocence and “baby” that remain amongst all the worryingly grown up behaviour of a young girl.
For all these reasons I will continue to use her words with her. Not all the time, but sometimes. And I will continue to giggle about manminges, continue to play with minches, and continue to give her warm milk in a bobble.
My little girl is growing up… but she is still my baby.
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Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!