We were at the Woollies checkout last week when my 3 year old daughter loudly announced that she was “crapping” herself. She’d been playing happily with her little brother, who was wedged in the front of the trolley. I’d been merrily unstacking the goods, quite enjoying the sound of their giggles until that auspicious moment. As other parents looked on in amusement I started limply covering her mouth with one hand and grabbing at her pants with the other, while shrieking “where did you learn that word?” in that “it couldn’t possibly have been from me” way that you do. I was panicking, looking for the exits, and wondering what to do with a half full trolley of groceries when she said “I made Bubby crap himself too”. I stopped: something was wrong with that sentence. “What does crap mean?” I asked her suspiciously. “I made him laugh. He’s crapping himself up.” CRACKING, child, it’s CRACKING!!! Of course the thought of it did indeed crack me up by the time we got home, but I was mortified in the moment.
I have learned to really love the way that kids experiment with language. My oldest daughter had a slight stammer and a lispy ‘S’ when she was younger and, as you do with your oldest child, I whisked her off for speech therapy expecting extensive corrective intervention. We only had one session in the end, and the few tips we learned there were enough for us to fix the problems within a couple of months. In hindsight, my concerns were probably an overreaction and a consequence of the desperate parental desire for our kids to be perfect.
My little crapper is quite articulate, but still wipes her face with a mapkin and has day trips to the newseum. I won’t be getting any therapy for her because 1) I’m sure these things will pass and 2) it’s actually pretty cute.
As for bubby number 3, well he’s showing very little interest in speech. He can say a sweet little version of “Dad dad dad” and a heinous shrieking version of “Muuuuuum” at nap time, but those things never really change much do they? He has two sisters who rarely pause long enough to draw breath, despite minor mispronunciations, so he will be lucky to get a word in before he’s 2 anyway. He will instead communicate by stealth – cautiously sneaking into their rooms to rip books and eat Lego. I caught him belting a fairy wand against the Disney Princess toy box just this morning.
A friend recently shared the tale of her son whose deceased relative had sadly gone to ‘Kevin’s’. My niece has a best friend whose name, she swears, is Cordial. There comes a point where it’s not really worth correcting these things as they not only represent our kids’ growing linguistic independence, but they actually make parenthood a lot more tolerable! You’ve got to laugh some days, don’t you, or you’d cry? I say make the most of those chances for a laugh. Laugh until you’re crapping yourself!