In Naya speak, a Zucini is “zuccinini”, and in Spanish, chocolate is “col-a-te”. A Pineapple is a “pine-nut-apple”.
Naya is two, and the line between correction/instruction and just enjoying her “ism’s” is already blurry. My opinion is that children ought to be corrected, just not at every single opportunity. So 2-3 times out of five I will repeat whatever word she said with the correct pronunciation and she will then repeat that.
This works for me in that it satisfies what I see as a parental duty to instruct my child and my mommy duty to safeguard and encourage her self-esteem. A beautiful, delicate balance.
Interestingly, Naya corrects me too. Her method involves repeating every single thing I say or do. For instance, I say shit. Now Naya says shit. What’s curious is how well she applied it from the very first time the word tumbled out of her mouth. It was almost instinctive.
Obviously I can’t tell her not to say it, after all I do it – it’s not like I can say “No, no, that’s mommmy’s word. You can’t use it” Like I say about our exacto-knife, laptop, etc. So I can’t say it anymore. I doubt that my ability to express myself will diminish on account of not using the expletive, but I have discovered that in addition to being a verbal tool it is an emotional one too.
Shoot just doesn’t offer me the same release. Neither does “fudge” or “flipping”. Come to think of it, the only thing swearing does is emote. It doesn’t describe, instruct, explain, or inform. Perhaps, it’s become a short-cut to describing a feeling with real words that actually mean something.
Perhaps, Naya’s imitations are teaching my brain to actually speak again. Perhaps, what children do in addition to birthing a mother is birthing a new consciousness of self.