I’m a bit of a stickler for grammar. At work, my fellow grammar-obsessing partner-in-crime (dude, check those properly placed hyphens) and I are known as the Grammar Slammers because we’re relentless in our quest to copyedit everything that leaves the office.
And this is what I bought her one Christmas:
One of the proudest moments of my collegiate career at Syracuse University was acing Newhouse’s famed Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling test (hey, I never denied being a Newhouse Nerd).
I tell you all this not to make you hate me (it really is an obnoxious habit, I know) but to forewarn you that I really do dig proper English. That’s why the confession I’m about to make is so shocking — I adore my toddler’s broken English. Every time she misuses a word or verb tense, I just think it’s the cutest thing in the world.
- In her language, blessings = glassings. At preschool, she’s learned a prayer song to sing before eating. It goes like this: “God our Father. God our Father. Once again. Once again. We thank you for our glassings, thank you for our glassings. Aaaa-men. Aaaa-men.” I think the big guy is getting the message.
- Also at preschool, they sometimes go to the parish hall for indoor play if it’s raining outside. Except in her world, E. goes to the Parrot Shop. Her teacher and I have no idea where this came from, but we both think it’s hysterical.
- Another song she has taken some verbal liberties with is “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.” Here’s her version: “Row, row, janky boat. Janky down the stream. Mary. Mary. Mary. Mary. Life is butta dream.”
- Whenever she is looking around the house for her favorite baby, she’ll ask me, “Mommy, where is her?” I just never have the heart to correct the her to a she.
- And my absolute favorite is “Hold you.” As in, “Mommy, hold youuuuu” when she wants me to pick her up.
That last one has sparked a battle in our house. Every time E. says that to me, DadJovi tries to correct her. “No, it’s hold ME, not you.” But then it gets really funny in a “Who’s On First” kind of way because she will tell him, “No Daddy, not you. Mommy.”
I keep telling him to let it go. She’s not even 3 yet. She has a fabulous vocabulary as it is and I think the little grammatical missteps are part of the charm of toddlers. But he keeps arguing that we’re at a stage where we should be correcting her. Figures. He is the child of two AP English teachers.
Am I just dooming my child to delayed grammar satisfaction? (That’s got to be a future therapy-worthy issue, no?) Am I stunting her grammar growth? Or is he messing with her verbal experimentation, thereby making her a less creative and exploratory child?
What are some of your favorite toddlerisms? And, more importantly, which one of us is right?