Funny things we say with our son make me smile. My favorite Spidel-family custom word is “coffeetea”. My son was just learning how to talk around the time I got pregnant with my second. At this point, I switched from my morning cup of coffee to drinking decaffeinated tea. I used the same mug of course, so he had trouble understanding the difference between Mommy’s coffee and Mommy’s tea, so he just started calling it “coffeetea” and now anything that is in mug is always coffeetea. When the coffeepot dings now in the morning as soon as it’s finished brewing, my son yells, “Coffeetea!”. When the dryer, toaster oven, or dishwasher dings, this is also an indication that Mommy’s coffeetea is ready. The poor kid will go off to college and be looking for the coffeetea machine in the dining hall.
Aside from being funny, word games we play with our kids can be pretty darn useful. You know what I’m talking about–my son will eat almost anything if I put the word “mini” in front of it (i.e. mini-sandwiches, mini-carrots, etc.). This can also entail, but not necessarily, cutting the food item into smaller pieces–just thought of something being mini is apparently enough. My friend impressed me the other day when she got her son to eat quiche by calling it “eggy pie”. And almost anything tastes better in “Isaac’s special bowl” (gyrobowl).
Manipulation of behaviors also works this way. Hugs are more readily given when called a “squeeze”, and x-rays at the hospital were “cool pictures” that we yelled “cheese!” for. Getting my son to put on pajamas works best if we call the top a “night night shirt” and winter hats are apparently just so yesterday unless called a “fuzzy hat”.
Only downside–each toddler’s complex vocab world is unique to him. One child’s “coco” is a request to read Corduroy while another is making a plea for chocolate milk…maybe kids should come with decoder devices, kind of like those ones that some sucker buys every year at Christmas that claim to interpret your dog’s barks…will look into patenting this and get back to you.
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