Tag Archives: childhood

baby talk

“Don’t worry Mummy, I don’t mind.”

These immortal words were uttered by my four-year-old son the other day when I wouldn’t allow him to eat the rest of a bag of chocolate buttons before teatime. Given that he’s not normally known for his self-restraint and reasonableness, you’d think I would be happy to hear him say this. I mean, I was withholding chocolate: there are some adults who would put up more of a fight if you took their supply away! (Not me of course, other adults).

Yet, as the final word left his mouth, I felt a pang of sadness. Not because I was secretly spoiling for a fight, or was trying to fatten him up, but because until that moment, the phrase he had always used was “I don’t matter.” And then usually in the sense of: “Please clean up your toys, this room is a MESS!” “No, I don’t matter that the room is messy, Mummy.”

I’ve always thought that this turn of phrase was rather sweet. So too, his use of the word “mines” instead of “mine” when referring to something belonging to him. Statements such as: “I’ll put mines in my bag/under my bed/on the table.” would usually cause my husband to quip “That sounds rather dangerous!”

Dinsi-raahs!

Dinsi-raahs!

But these are things he’s now growing out of and his six year old brother is even further down the developmental track. His only real regular mispronunciation is referring to the living room as the ‘liver room”, and I only really notice that because it sounds a bit revolting.

It makes me rather sad because experiencing my sons’ language develop has been one of the great joys of parenthood (so far) for me. I’ve cherished all the little words they’ve come out with that sound a bit – but not quite – like what they mean. Simple things like ‘brekkits’ for ‘breakfast’ and ‘crips’ instead of ‘crisps’ have become so ingrained that I unintentionally use them myself. More inventive words such as ‘landidoos’ for ‘dandilions’ and ‘dinsi-raah’ for ‘dinosaur’ have never failed to make me smile. Then there are the ones I’ve wished they wouldn’t use: I tried for months to stop my second-born (aged two) from yelling out “Big Cock!” whenever he saw a peacock…

There are also certain mishearings of phrases that have made me laugh. The bit in the Fireman Sam theme tune where both boys would enthusiastically belt out “Sam is the hearing storm!” was one I particularly enjoyed. I think Sam would probably prefer to be thought of as the ‘hero next door’ but on the other hand, a ‘hearing storm’ does sound rather intriguing.

I think my all time favourite though, is my oldest son’s use (aged two) of the word ‘wibberwoo’ for ‘living room’. It’s a word I still sometimes use now just because it’s so delicious to say.

I know that it’s great that my boys are learning to use language correctly. Of course it is. But sometimes I feel incredibly nostalgic for the times when their little voices spoke their own special tongue.

And incredibly happy that my seven-month-old has all of this beautiful word-wrangling ahead of him. I’ll be savouring every minute.

Little Hearts, Big Love

books, glorious books

As a child, I loved reading. I could happily spend hours tucked into a big armchair with a book, the sounds of the house fading into the background as I disappeared into another world. My brothers and I also listened to masses of audio books, and I’m pretty sure that our nightly bed time stories went on for far longer than our poor sore-throated parents wanted them to!

library

As I got older though, I found myself reading less. Or at least, I read what I was required to for school or university and then didn’t feel much like reading anything else. TV and films gradually took the place of my beloved books. From time to time I would feel sad about that, but mostly it was just how it was. I still thought of myself as ‘a book lover’ but I rarely read for pleasure.

By my late twenties my first son had arrived, followed by his brother two years later. I was running my own business and the resulting racing around and tiredness left me struggling to even finish an article in a magazine some days. Deep down I felt I was missing something, but my ‘book worm’ days felt so far behind me it was hard to recapture them.

Then at the beginning of this year something changed. I was just starting maternity leave with baby-number-three, and – with my sons in school and nursery – my mornings were child-free. I was heavily pregnant so moving around was becoming less and less fun. My childhood memories of hiding in an armchair began calling to me. So I got my hands on an e-reader (and by ‘got my hands on’ I mean ‘swiped from my husband and he’s yet to get it back’), read a few book reviews, found something I fancied and off I went. I finished that book and started another, then another.

The months went by, and I read whenever I could. At all the times that I wasn’t writing (or dealing with kids, or housework… ) I’d grab my Kindle and slip quietly into whatever wonderful fictional reality awaited me. I read in labour (remember how I said mine went on for ages? I had to have something to do!) then I read while feeding the baby.

And now it’s early October and I’ve read nearly fifty books this year. That’s nearly…oooh… forty-nine more books than I read last year! And I’ve loved it. I won’t lie, they haven’t all been serious works of fiction. They weren’t all War and Peace. In fact, NONE of them were War and Peace. There have been many times – staggering around bleary-eyed after being up a gazillion times in the night – when I’ve just wanted something light and cheerful to distract me. But I’ve read some really fantastic books; books that have made me laugh and cry and some that have really made me think.

And as a writer, all of them have had value. They’ve helped me realise what I want to achieve, showing me everything from what I would love (in my wildest dreams) to emulate, to what I’d rather avoid. And sometimes what I’m just plain not interested in.

So I’ve decided I’m going to use this blog – over the coming weeks and months – to write about some of the books I’ve read. In part, as a written reminder for myself about what I learned from them, but largely just to talk about some books that I’ve really loved and to share them with anyone else that is interested. I’ve really got some gems to recommend!