I Say Potato, She Says Pedowphdth

So here’s the thing: my husband and I are pretty sure Belle needs speech therapy. Probably soon. She’s going on five and has a lisp. An adorable lisp. But a big, very noticeable tongue thrust, on top of which, she has a garbled way of speaking that makes fifty percent of what she says difficult for most people to understand.

Two things are holding me back from seeking out a speech pathologist right away, though. Number one, I’m (probably unreasonably) afraid that she’ll think something’s wrong with her if we go in for speech therapy. Which is silly, I know. Milo already teases her mercilessly about how she mispronounces her Rs and Ls, and correcting her enunciation would, I’m sure, only empower her.

Secondly, and this is by far the worse and more selfish reason, I like her lisp! I like her mangled consonants! I am not one who wants a baby forever. Far from it, I nudge the children from the nest too exuberantly sometimes, but Belle’s darling twisting of the English Language into something so uniquely hers is one of the small joys in my life.

I mean, blanquet instead of blanket? And, pattoin instead of pattern? I just want to scoop up those words and pinch their little, chubby cheeks. So cute. At least to me.

And Belle and I have moments, like this one from last week…

“Mommy, how do you make bwoph?

I squinted at her. I so wanted to understand what she was asking. “Bras?”

“No,” she said, patiently. “Bwoph.”

I took several more guesses and even asked her to use it in a sentence. Finally, it came to me. “Broth?”

And the smile that lit her face, because I’d taken the time to decipher her speech, was like the gleam of a comet. It was wonderful.

But I know soon it’ll be time to put her sweet Belle-words into the hands of a professional so she can learn to talk like everyone else. Until then, I’m going to trail her with our camcorder so I can catch every last one of her jumbled expressions. And in my old age, I will play them back and remember the comical, bonding moments we shared when she was just conquering language.


About Angie

Angie (latte constantly in hand) raises her son, "Milo" (b. 2003), and her daughter, "Belle" (b. 2006), in Seattle with her lawyer husband. She is a writer, blogger and graphic designer who is egregiously tall and loves cookies with beer. She alternately struggles with existential angst and the fit of her jeans. Though she wearies easily of answering her son's constant questions and of negotiating with her daughter, she loves being present during their wonder years. One of her biggest parenting challenges is navigating Milo's severe food allergies. If she's not baking 50 cupcakes from scratch, she is reading ingredient labels and tutoring Milo, ad nauseum, to say, "No milk, eggs, tree nuts or peanuts please." Angie can also be found at:

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