Friday, October 28, 2011


I have not been posting enough lately. Mostly because I have a bunch of looooong posts that I want to write, but not enough time to write them. But the longer I wait, the longer the (potential) post becomes, because it has to cover everything. Vicious cycle. So, in an effort to actually record everything that I want to record, I am going to try to convince myself to do more frequent, shorter posts. Starting with this little anecdote about LL, which I want to remember forever and ever so that I can make fun of him about it someday, and also because it is cute.

When LL was learning colors, he had an awful time pronouncing the word "yellow." I don't know why -- he could do all of the sounds and combinations in other words, but this one word was really hard for him. At first, I thought that he just didn't know the color yellow, but no, it was all about the word. The fun part was watching him COPE with not being able to say it.

At first, he would try to say it, and stumble and stumble over the sounds until finally giving up. Very frustrating for him.

Then he would just cry whenever I pointed to something yellow. This phase was very depressing, but thankfully didn't last long.

Next, he learned an important life skill that will someday serve him well in college: if you don't know the answer to a question, just answer the question that you wish had been asked!

Me: What color is the car?
LL: Blue!
Me: What color is the truck?
LL: Red!
Me: What color is the bus?
LL: School bus!
Me: Um, yes, it is a school bus. What color is it?
LL: School bus fast!
Me: Okay. What color is it?
LL: Say "vrooooom!" Has 4 wheels! Look -- door open here!
Me: What color is the bike?
LL: Purple!

That phase cracked me up, and lasted a long time. Eventually, he realized that he couldn't avoid the color yellow forever, so he made up a new word for it. Out of thin air. He just picked a sound that he could pronounce, and that was his word for yellow. He called it "arr." At first, we thought that he was abbreviating "amarillo," but he informed us that we were wrong.

The "arr" phase lasted quite some time. Long enough that I stopped noticing it, automatically translating "arr" to "yellow" in my head.

And then one day, he said yellow. And then immediately giggled and buried his head on my shoulder. (Adorable!) After that, I would actually hear him looking at books by himself and repeating the word yellow over and over again.

The part that kind of shocks me is that he was actually aware that he wasn't pronouncing it right, enough to be embarrassed about it. Which was weird for a two-year-old. Especially since there are a ton of words that he mispronounces, but this word was the only one that bothered him. (For example, he mispronounces the word milk. It sounds more like "meat." He's been saying it that way for almost a year now. Every so often, S calls it "meat" when talking to LL, and LL gets really mad at him and says, "No, Daddy! No call it that!" He thinks that S is mocking him by pronouncing it in the LL way. But it doesn't stop LL from saying it, and he doesn't seem embarrassed to say the word.)

LL has been saying "yellow" for a few months now, but he still pauses every so slightly before saying it, like he has to concentrate more than with other words. On the one hand, it's very cute. On the other hand, I cringe a little when I see him acting like he's scared to make a mistake. We are generally very careful not to correct things like pronunciation and grammar for him at this age, preferring to just speak properly in front of him and let him naturally absorb language. Not sure why he suddenly decided that it would be bad to make a mistake. In the mean time, every time I hear him say the word "yellow," I feel like a little bit of his babyhood is gone forever.


HereWeGoAJen said...

I love his way of getting around answering the question. That will serve him well in the future.

QueSera said...

I love all the phases. Have you seen the Ted video with the professor who taped his own house for two years? Your story reminds me of the progression he played showing the anatomy of a word his son was learning. It is sad that once they get it, they get it for good. Just last week mijo was saying meow, meow for cat. Now he says cat and never says meow meow. It is a bit heartbreaking to see them grow up.