What’s in a word? Thats a good question. Through the toddler years, as each of you has learned to talk, the mispronunciations of different words along the way has brought your mom and me much joy. As I write this, NE recently turned four, and I find myself reflecting back on these first four years. You each have your own style when it comes to learning to talk, and different words have caused you each your own set of difficulty. I wish we had done a better job of remembering SD’s first words, but we do have a few. What follows are the words we’ve found the most joy in through the years, in no particular order.

“Extodian” = custodian (NE) “I made a new friend today.” “What’s his name?” “I don’t know. He’s the extodian.”

“Flushy” = slushy (NE)

“Underrupded” = interrupted (NE) “You underrupded me”

“Misk it” = mix it (SI)

“Banilla” = vanilla (SI)

“Wad” = odd (SI) “I’m evens. You’re wads.”

“SupercalafragaLIPSTICexpealedoscious. (NE)
“bix-it” = biscuit. (SI)
“Hoxtabull” = hospital. (SI)

“My eye spells” = My eye spies (NE)

“Flick Flocks” = flip flops Started with NE and has been passed down to SI and up to SD and the rest of us. 🙂

“Poxable” = Popsicle (SI)

“opee meal” = oatmeal (SI)

“Gay el” = girl (SI)

“Para pepper” = paramedic (SI)

“Spink-a-wing” = sprinkling (SI)

“Horsey Kisses” = Hershey kisses (SI)

“Unappropriate” = inappropriate (SI)

“Hoxtable” = hospital (SI)

“Flick Flocks” = Flip Flops

“Long Cut” = Opposite of Short Cut
Self explanatory, huh? SD, you first said this to me about a month ago as we were walking across the church parking lot. We were running behind for the boys’ MDO Spring Fling, and I started out across the lot in a hurry to get inside. I was darting between cars and looked back to make sure you were keeping up. When I didn’t see you and called your name out, you hollered from about 6 cars away that you were taking the long cut. Touché. You got me there. Yes you are. 🙂

“He’s Zero.” = SD introducing her younger brothers before their first birthday
Okay, so this is more than just a word, it’s an expression. I just couldn’t leave it out though. SD, when each of the boys were born, you doted on them like any proud big sister would. You always introduced them by saying, “This is NE. He’s zero.” Who am I to correct that? Especially when you’re actually right. Zero does come before one. You rock girl!

“M’s” = M&M’s
This one is SD’s. You really love your M’s. It’s a vise you come by honestly. They’re my weakness too. As you learned what this little chocolate treasure was, you discovered your love for chocolate, and it was so cute hearing “M’s” come from your mouth that we kept this one. They will forever be M’s in our home.

“Walkie Talker” = Walkie/Talkie
I’ll admit…this is a silly word anyway. Back in the day when it was first invented, I’m sure it was awesome to be able to walk away from the big stationary radio and use a portable radio for the first time. Still…walkie talkie? That’s the best they could come up with? Nowadays, we call them handheld radios, or simply handhelds…in the fire service anyway. And right now, NE, you are fascinated with all things fire service. You all three enjoy sitting in the utility trucks at the fire station when you come to visit me at work. Why you enjoy “driving” the utility trucks more than the ladder truck I’m not sure. Maybe it’s the size of the big truck that intimidates you a little. Anyway, we’ve had some good times you “driving” me to fires, and we can’t just go to a fire without reporting in, can we? Good thing we have a Walkie Talker. Even better that you know how to use it.

“Whose” = Horse
SD goes horseback riding once a week, and SI, you are awed by the horse. You get as excited as she does when you see them. As I right this, we’re watching an episode of Sesame Street, and it’s all about horses. You’re awesome. Your eyes get real big, your mouth opens wide, and you gasp as if surprised, as you cover your mouth with both hands. Then you point at the screen and say “whose!” Love it!

“Nuggle” = Snuggle
SD, you’ll know that we still use this today, because it’s definitely a keeper. It’s always melted my heart when you crawl or walk up to me and ask softly “daddy? You nuggle me?” What dad could ever say no to some quality nuggle time with his beautiful baby girl?

“Snuggers” = Snuggle
NE, hearing you ask “you snuggers me?” as we tuck you into bed each night is priceless. Who could resist that? We do love our snuggers time! Yes, this one is a keeper too!

“Buggle Gum” = Bubble Gum
Confusing the “b” with the “g” is understandable…and cute. 🙂

“Mallemows”‘= Marshmallows
I’m laughing as I write this because I’m typing it out on my cell phone, and the auto-spell correct option on my phone recognizes the word and auto-completes the word for me after typing only “mallem”. Now that’s awesome! Who knows…by the time you’re in high school, it might be in the dictionary. Yes, it’s definitely a keeper. Quite honestly, if you asked for a marshmallow in our home, I don’t think we’d know what you’re talking about. Gotta love a hot chocolate with mallemows. SD, back in the day, you would eat through a bag like it was the last thing you’d ever get to eat. When we have them in the house, they don’t last long because when you wake up hungry in the middle of the night, they end up in bed with you.

“Crash” = Equivalent of a toast with our cups
SD, I don’t know what it is about crashing our drink cups together at every meal that has become a necessity for you, and I don’t remember how it started, but it’s cool. Some days, it’s just once…other days, it’s over and over in one meal. Either way, it’s become our thing, eh? A meal in our home is just not the same without it.

“Noggin!” = A Forehead Crash
I’m not sure how this one started either…no telling around here. I do know it can be painful, though. When I hear “noggin!” yelled out, I instinctively wince now. I’m not sure my head can take it if we keep doing this much longer.

“Snipe” = Snap
NE, you’re so cute. Mostly when you’re not even trying to be. You like to hide stuff in your hands behind your back. In your 2’s and 3’s, mama would ask you what you’re hiding, and you’d just look at her with a disheveled, sneaky grin…so she’d jokingly call you a little snipe. Around the same time, you were learning to get dressed on your own, encountering snaps and buttons along the way. Somewhere in there, snap and snipe blended and a snap became a snipe. Good stuff.

“But” = Button
Which brings us to but…while learning about buttons and snaps, button got shortened. Cute…till you would point out to various people in public with big buttons on their attire that they had a big but. Okay, so it was cute then too. 🙂

“Bak-a-baw” = Basketball
Actually, it’s everything ball. If it’s a ball, it’s a bak-a-baw. Baseball…soccer ball…football…tennis ball…doesn’t matter. And SI, you do love throwing a bak-a-baw. You can even take a rolled up dirty sock and make it a pretty good bak-a-baw. Tonight at the grocery store, you treid to use a cantelope as a bak-a-baw. You throw a mean bak-a-baw too. At just 22 months, your form when shooting hoops is spot on, and your fastball is painful at short range…painful because the accuracy isn’t quite there yet…you’re still a wild man with a bak-a-baw. We’re still in the early stages of this word, so it’s hard to predict if it’ll be a keeper or not…but it’s looking favorable.

“Hooker” = Trailer Ball
This one started as I was hauling the trailer for the Upward season in early ’11. NE, you’re fascinated with the trailer and my truck. Trying to explain that a towing ball is not like a basketball is hard. “It hooks the trailer up” is about all I could say to help it make sense for you. Man, I’ll tell you one thing, though…I wish I could have been there the day you saw Miss Rhonda from the church office in the parking lot and made sure she knew that she had a hooker. Ha!

“Lub” = Love
SD, I lub you too. I lub each of you more than I could ever say. I lub you so much I would die for you if it came to it. Only one man could ever lub you more than daddy, and He already did die for you. His name is Jesus Christ.

So, what’s in a word? I’ll tell what…some good laughs…some awkward moments…some pain…some new traditions…some love…and lots of great memories.

Lub,

Dad

P.S. – Words added below have come along since the original writing of this note and are noted with the date I added them to the list:

“Tamperine” = Trampoline – June 1, 2011
We had a trampoline for several years…until the weight from you and 6 of your neighborhood friends all jumping at the same time ripped the fabric around the springs, so we had to remove it from active duty. After about 2 years without one, I thought it’d be cool to replace it. So far, so good on that decision…because you all enjoyed breaking it in this afternoon. NE, to hear you call it a tamperine does my soul good. It’s hard to tell if the “p” is actually a “p” or a “b”, because every now and then I think you’re saying “tamberine”. Either way, it’s awesome! Thanks for the help putting it together, by the way…I couldn’t have done it without my awesome helper handing me springs!

“Which hand the penny?” = Just a guessing game – June 1, 2011
SD, just yesterday I remembered this game you used to play growing up. You started when you were in about the 2nd grade, and it’s been awhile since you’ve done it…I vaguely remember you playing it a month or so ago. When you get in my truck, you take a penny out of the cup holder, hide it in one hand behind your back and ask, “which hand the penny?” For the first year, you’d always have it in the same hand…still not sure how I kept guessing the wrong hand all the time…

“Wa Yay” = Water (or anything to drink) – July 21, 2011
SI, watching you learn new words is really fun for me. You already bring so much fun and energy to the family, and as you learn to communicate, it’s even more fun. You’ve been saying this word for a month or so now, and it applies to anything you want to drink…water, milk, juice, coffee…any liquid. Yes, even coffee. I started NE out on this about the time he was your age, and I’m paying for it still. It’s really a sippie cup with mostly milk and a splash of coffee, but you both like doing things I do, and drinking my coffee is no different. Hearing you ask for your “Wa yay” is awesome.

“Aww Tay” = “Oh Tay” (from the movie The Little Rascals”) – July 21, 2011
The Little Rascals movie is a regular in our van. You guys love it. We’ve watched it so many times, I have the words memorized, which is okay by me…it’s an awesome movie. SI, just yesterday in the van on the way to church, when the movie came on, you said “Aww Tay”, and it was AWESOME. Hilarious stuff! They say it in the opening scene, and you just kept repeating it. Your mom and I kept saying it too, just to get you to keep repeating it, it was that funny. Good stuff.

“Abble” = Apple (or anything to eat) – July 21, 2011
SI, when you first learned what an apple was and started calling it an abble, it was awesome by itself. Now, just about everyting you want to eat is either an abble or a cookie…regardless of what it is. Could be cereal, a sandwich, a hot dog, yogurt…doesn’t matter. It’s all either an abble or a cookie. 🙂

“Ploon” = Balloon – July 21, 2011
If I could find a way to spell how this actually sounds, I would. To simply read “ploon” doesn’t do it justice. Try to imagine the sound your lips make when you have them closed and blow air through them…kinda like when you give someone a raspberry on their belly. Until this morning, I thought it was just with the word balloon, but as I was writing this, you were playing a game on my phone and saw a picture of an airplane. When you saw it, you made the same sound when saying “plane”. When you combine your “p” and “l” into the “pl” sound, that’s what is sounds like…then just add the rest of the word afterward, and that’s what we got. Wicked cool.

“Coose coose” = Blues Clues – February 2012
SI, you’re enjoying watching this cartoon, and I’m enjoying listening to you say it.

“Gooby Doo” = Scooby Doo – February 2012
SI, you love your Scooby Doo. I enjoy how much you and your brother enjoy it, because it takes me back to my youth, when I watched Scooby Doo after school every day. You have some new rain boots with Gooby Doo on them, and you show them proudly, proclaiming these are “my Gooby Doo’s’. Ruh Roh Raggy!

“I DOO Myself!!” = Exactly what it says – February 2012
It’s always a bittersweet moment in the life of a daddy when his child starts doing things for himself. It’s a time when you’re learning independence, one baby step at a time. With that comes that “daddy proud” moment when I know you’re maturing and growing. Yet it also comes with the acceptance that the closer you come to being independent, the closer comes the time when you’ll not want my help. It does do me proud to watch you gain your independence and start doing more for yourself.

“I Funk!” = Hahaha…this one is hilarious to me – February 2012
Bubba, you crack me up dude! Your mom and I started this one, but you just have your way of making it yours. When it was time for you and NE to jump in the bath, your mom started saying, “Time for a bath. You smell funky!” I followed suit, and shortly thereafter you picked it up and ran with it. “I Funk!!” is what you proudly proclaim when you want a bath. Not many people would proudly proclaim they smell funky! You’re all boy, son…my boy!!

“Butt-Cheye!” = Butterfly – February 2012
SI, tonight you and I were reading a book together. It was a picture book, and you were asking “what’s this?” with all the pictures. When we got to the butterfly, this is how you pronounced it, and it cracked me up dude. Just had to add it because you make me smile, in more ways than you’ll ever know.

“Ahhff” = All – February 2012
Another SI-ism, this is one I love and will remember always. As in, “I drink my milk. I drink ’em ahhff.”

“Cockadoo!” = Rooster – February 2012
Another SI-ism, this one came out at lunch after church today. As part of the restaurant decorations, two parrots were hanging above the table beside us. You pointed and said “one. two cockadoos”. It took a while to convince you they we’re parrots, not cockadoos.

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