Sarah Avery (dr_pretentious) wrote,
Sarah Avery

Owie KaZowie, And Other New Vocabulary

That's what my sister says if she stubs her toe or barks her shin when her kids are in earshot. She says it with all the gusto of any deeply felt profanity. It scratches the mental itch you feel in that kind of moment, she assures me. Switching to it was a hard change of habit, but it gets the job done.

So I had these grand plans to adopt Owie KaZowie as my personal maledictum for the next several childrearing years, but Gareth so enjoyed hearing his aunt say it, he makes maybe thirty attempts a day to string those syllables together, and he prods me to get me to say it right for him. Z is, apparently, a hard phoneme for very small children, and the K comes out more like a T about half the time. The prospect of hearing me say Owie KaZowie is highly motivating for Gareth. Which is not the relationship you want your kid to have with the thing you say when you're in pain.

What delights me about all this, though, is that my kid has fallen in love with a phrase purely for its sound. He has a word-toy, and he likes to play with his word-toy. I feel all disproportionately proud about it.

We're struggling with the word bus, which Gareth has overgeneralized to mean anything with wheels, anything that is a wheel, and indeed, anything that involves rotation. A few too many choruses of The wheels on the bus go round and round seem to have had unintended consequences. We're working on introducing the word wheel, and as long as I sing that song about wheels anywhere we find them, it looks like we're making progress. Who would have guessed that my most significant maternal act of the day would be singing The wheels on the sheep go round and round?

His other favorite new word for the week is happy. He may even understand what it means. One of his best Christmas presents came from the dollar bin at Target. It's a mix-and-match set of wooden pieces that make up a bear--a bear with a very large wardrobe and repertoire of facial expressions. You can put the surprised face on top of the sweater vest torso on top of the jeans-and-sneakers legs, or the angry face on top of the winter coat torso on top of the swimming trunks legs, and so forth. Gareth finds facial expressions fascinating. He knows which face is happy, and has been very interested in a singing toy that instructs him on what to do If you're happy and you know it. Happiness is such an abstract concept, I really doubted he knew what it meant until the middle of tonight's bedtime routine. He interrupted his last nursing of the evening to look up at me and say, "Happy."

"Happy," I agreed, and he grinned and got back to business.
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