Thursday, September 26, 2013

Ain't No Fwang

Toddler language development is such an amazing and joyful process. Elijah's linguistic capabilities have exploded since his ear tubes were placed three weeks ago. He talks non-stop now, straining to understand, repeating endlessly, proud to communicate his thoughts.

So far we've only hit one major hitch in his acquisition of the English language, and it's so fundamental I'm not sure how many months it's going to take to undo it, but for now, I'm actually getting more than my daily dose of laughs out of it.

You see, early this summer Elijah categorized swings, cars, trucks, trains, and other moving objects as, "WEEEEE!!!!" This was based on an entirely correct observation that adults often make that noise around moving objects. For months they were all "WEEEEE!!!!" which only solidified his understanding that they all shared a name.

Finally, I decided that my little boy should grow up and learn the proper names for moving objects. Taking him to the backyard, he announced "WEEEEE!!!!" and I corrected him, "No. SWING. It's called a SWING, Elijah. SWING." He stood silent a moment, considering the implications of this new information, then replied sweetly, "Fwang." I praised him for his great wisdom, and had no idea what I had started.

Later that night he picked up one of Toby's hot wheels cars and announced with authority, "FWANG!" I made the mistake of thinking this was cute, instead of immediately correcting it. Two months later no amount of correction will convince that child that cars, trucks, trains, bicycles, and airplanes are not to be called fwangs. They are now fwangs. End of story. Someone inform Mr. Webster.

The strange thing is, instead of getting tired of hearing this, my warped brain seems to find it funnier each time he says it.

When the school bus pulls up in front of our house each afternoon, Elijah announces, "Konk, Konk! FWANG!" (Watch out! Falling Fwangs!)

When his toy tractor tumbled down the entire length of our staircase he stood at the top and cried, "Uh oh! Fwang!" (I sure hate when I drop my fwang.)

When Grandma and Grandpa Johnson's visit ended he sadly watched them pull away. And daily he reminds me, "Bumpa ouside. Go bye-bye, fwang. Bye-bye, fwang." (Nothing worse than seeing the people you love disappear in a fwang.)

When Toby steals all the hot wheels cars for himself Elijah comes to me crying, "Toby! FWAAAAANG!" (To which I respond, "Toby, give your brother back his fwang. We don't steal fwangs in this house.)

When I carry him to his crib, he will reach desperately for any object with wheels anywhere in his sight and beg, "Fwang!" (Sure kid, have your fwang. Have any fwang you want in your crib. There's no rule against napping with fwangs.)

When Elijah wants to get out of the house he lures me with, "Come on, Mama. Fwang!" (I haven't had the heart to tell him that fwangs aren't really my thing.)

And then there was today when he asked for a turn on Toby's fwang (formerly known as a scooter) and I cracked myself up by correcting him with, "That ain't no fwang!"

Sometimes you need to stop fighting it. You need to laugh at it. A fwang is a fwang, and a fwang by any other name would never sound as sweet.

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