No trade-ins

This evening at dinner my 18 year old daughter was coaching the 4 year old, trying to see if she could get her to say ‘c’ instead of the ‘t’ sound that she has always said.  As in ‘cat’ instead of ‘tat’  and ‘Christmas’ instead of  ‘Tissmas’.

For the record, I actually find her baby pronunciations adorable.  So when the 18 year old was successful in teaching her to say ‘CAT!’, I cheered and grinned and clapped my hands at the delight in my 4 year old’s eyes.

And then my heart clutched up and I felt a little bit sad, like my baby was slipping away before my eyes.

“Oh!” I said jokingly. “You’re getting so big that pretty soon mommy’s going to want a new baby!”

“No!” she said, snuggling into me.  I laughed, thinking that she didn’t want to be dethroned as the baby.

A little bit later she came up to me, and snuggled against me again.  “Mommy,” she said pleadingly, “please don’t get a new baby!”

I hugged her and grinned at her.  “Why not?”

“Because I want to stay with you always!  I don’t want to go away!”

And my heart broke into a million pieces at her misunderstanding.  I hugged her tight and told her 7 different ways that I was keeping her always, always, always, no matter what– that even IF we got a new baby (which we have no intention of doing, btw) that she would always be our girl.

And when she had been properly reassured — poor baby– and ran off to play, I tried hard not to think of a few handfuls of years from now when she would be heading off to live her own life, and I would be thinking back to her at age four, just learning to say ‘cat’ and telling me she wanted to stay with me always.


  1. My heart broke when all of the w’s went out of my youngest’s speech. Such a milestone, and such a sad day for mom and dad.

  2. so sweet…and relatable.

  3. I’m with you. I find those sweet baby mispronunciations totally precious. So glad she shared her thoughts so you could fix things~ bless her heart.

  4. My 4, almost 5 *tear*, year old has some funny pronunciations. I recently decided to stop correcting him. He’ll catch on sooner than later… and I really miss him saying “gobbles” instead of “goggles”. ~:-)

  5. The Boy still says clomb instead of climbed and hitted instead of hit. He’s 7 so I feel duty bound to tell him the correct way to say it, but I really like his unique conjugations. I think they display ingenuity. Soon he’ll sound like every one else.

  6. awww

  7. Oh, my. That is so sweet!

  8. Last year our Tongginator morphed “strawbabies” into “strawberries” and I almost lost it. Fortunately, Christmas songs have sent us back in time again, as she now sings with gusto “glad tigers we bring to you and your king, glad tigers at Christmas and a happy new year.”

  9. Oh, the poor baby!!!! Patrick still can’t say his R’s right, at almost 6, but I love his mangled words. He’s already moved away from me so much this year – no more really wanting to snuggle, no more sweetness most of the time – that I can’t bear to let them go.

  10. This is the first year my son hasn’t gotten excited to see the “snow cow”, but he still says “amn’t”. :0) I try to not correct all his words for the same reason.

  11. quite sweet, and bittersweet. the minds of little ones.

    are you SURE no more babies? never say ‘never’?

    how’s the writing coming along??

  12. My 29-month old just recently gave up his year-long pronunication of “raff” with “giraffe” and I gasped when he first said the entire word correctly. I know I “should” be glad about this, but it’s another step closer to big-boy-sound-like-everyone-else. *sniffle*

  13. Similar misunderstanding happened when I was little. My parents took in foster children which meant a lot of coming and going. One day I asked when it would be my turn to have to leave.

    Needless to say they wasted no time in setting my little mind straight. 🙂

    Precious days and memories. They grow oh so very fast!

  14. Aw, poor thing, thinking Mommy was going to trade her in! Thankfully she told you, and didn’t just wonder and wait for the day she got switched out. Kids are so darling!

    My 3-yo always says us instead of we. For example, “us don’t going to school today.” I can’t bring myself to tell her how it’s supposed to be said b/c she’s just too darn cute!

  15. Awww…what a sad misunderstanding- glad you got it cleared up! I’m in tears, because your post was just so sweet.

  16. This breaks my heart too.

    I was trying to teach my daughter to use the “l” sound instead of the “w” sound. When she got it right I was sad.

  17. Oh bless her little heart!! How sweet.
    And the Speech Therapist in me feels compelled to say “Let it go!” 🙂

  18. This made two fat tears well up in my eyes. We’ve got no one mispronouncing anything anymore, and with the end of that era my heart sank a wee bit.

    Your last paragraph rendered me a puddle. I know I’m heading down that road just as speedily as you are. Cherish in your heart, is what I keep repeating to myself.

  19. My 4.5 year old has lost almost all of his “interesting” pronunciations. I’m glad he can be understood by everyone else, but I do miss them. They are so cute!

  20. Oh….

  21. Lovely

    they do grow up so quickly.

  22. Ohhh, I love the “tissmas” that my kids have said too. And like you, I’m always sad when they get the words right! Of course, I wouldn’t want them to keep mispronouncing them forever but I love it while it lasts.

  23. I am homeschooling my oldest this year (k) and I have such turmoil in me everytime I need to teach her to say something correctly!!! so sad! =)

    and how sweet/sad at her misunderstanding! I am glad you were able to clarify!

  24. Oh!! How sad and sweet and touching. I’m so glad you asked her, “Why?” That BIG misunderstanding may not have been cleared up. Yea, you for asking!

  25. I am glad I am not the only one who hesitates to correct adorable mispronunciations:)

    My son changed one of my favorites of his on his own. He loves to sing Doxology all the time, which I love, and until this summer he would say…

    “Praise Father, Son, and Goly Host… ”

    They grow so fast..

  26. *SNIFF!!!*

  27. So precious! My son used to say “debroom” instead of bedroom and the other always said “It’s froggy out” instead of “It’s foggy out!”

    My youngest is fifteen and for years he would say that he didn’t want to grow up and leave home. I have one in college too, and it was just yesterday that he was four….!

  28. There you go, making me tear up!

    Thought I’d pop in and let you know…I’ve got baby’s gender update on my blog.

  29. Whenever we see the Christmas lights, we all say “pitty!” (pretty) in honor of my oldest one’s toddler pronounciation. M;y oldest one is now 17 and getting ready to go to college. My youngest is nearly eight. Sniff. Love this post!

  30. Thank you for writing this … beautifully and simply put. My 2.5 year old has those “big boy” moments that leave me wondering what happened to my baby … but then (like last night) he’ll want to cuddle with me on the couch under a blanket and fall asleep in my arms and I want that moment to last a lifetime …

  31. What a beautiful post about a beautiful moment!