Fire in Your Pants!

If you spend any time around kids you know that they can give the most ordinary words or phrases new life with interesting pronunciation and delivery. For example:
“Mommy, you’ve got fire in your pants!”
Zelly told me this with a grin and a taunting tone. It took me several seconds to realize that she was accusing me of fibbing and that somewhere in her busy life she’d been introduced to that childhood staple: “Liar, liar, pants on fire!”


She might say something like “Mommy, don’t getfor my ‘nacks” meaning don’t ‘forget’ them. Her delivery is so smooth that much of the time my brain properly flip-flops the syllables without my paying it much attention. She also adds syllables, as in ‘res-e-cue’, ‘pan-a-cake’.
She’s got some of the normal pronunciations blocks of someone her age. Hard ‘c’ and ‘k’ sounds become ‘t’s and sometimes ‘p’s (tookies, prying). ‘S’ is another challenge, it’s usually a ‘ts’ sound (I mitts you). It’s a comedy routine in the making trying to work with her on those sounds: “Honey, like this ‘K’, ‘K’, ‘K’. See?” Her, “‘T’, ‘T’, ‘T’…” “Honey, watch me do it… ‘Kuuuuh'” “Tuuuh!”
She knows her limits, and isn’t afraid to enforce them, “Mommy, I’ll work on it later, ok? When I’m bidder.”
Sometimes she just skips words: “Mommy, I don’t how to do this, can you hewlp me?”
Other Zelly interpretations:
“The incy wincy pider went up the waterpout…”
“It’s raining, its pouring, the whole damn morning…”
And then there are her original songs, many, many of them. She sings a lot every day and she sings in tune. She’s got a great ear for music, often repeating the chorus after hearing a song for first time, or dancing with perfect rhythm. She’s very entertaining and talented.
Last night, after the main dinner course, she was working on some baby carrots. She’s a very slow eater and Wendy and I are often gone from the table before she finishes. From the office we could hear her babbling away to her carrots. There was dialogue, direction, drama and intrigue and the occasional “crunch” when one of the actors fell victim to Zelly’s hunger.
I have no idea what direction Zelly’s life will take: Action Hero, Artist, Musician, Gardner, Scientist, Contortionist, Zookeeper, Puppy. She’s all that and more on any given day. I just hope she has fun doing and being and exploring her life. And eventually I’d like her to be able to pronounce her hard ‘c’ sounds.

2 Responses to “Fire in Your Pants!”

  1. ana says:

    My younger brother was in this phase, many moons ago. He’d mix up L and R sounds. So…
    Say “Rake”.
    Rake!
    Now say “Lake”.
    Rake!
    and giggles. Because he could hear that the sound was the same, but couldn’t do anything about it.

  2. buggy says:

    My brother, Wayne, had the same problem, so: Rayne is out in the Wain. He did eventually get over it ( ;-p) so I suspect Zelly will, too. The difference with her and your brother is that she doesn’t seem to recognize that she’s saying it differently.