Fighting for the Hard “R”

We live in Massachusetts. Those born and bred in Massachusetts have an interesting accent. For those who have never heard it, then I would recommend watching an episode of “Cheers”, especially one where the mailman, Cliff Clavin is prominently featured.

I love living in Massachusetts. But, I grew up in New York. So, I will never shake my love of the Yankees, and I will never have a Massachusetts accent—well, except when mocking people or in a feeble attempt to impersonate the Kennedy family. While for some, the accent has a kitch-factor I really don’t want Spicy Girl to develop one. So, I’m doing my best to combat the tendency to drop the “R” that she gets just by virtue of being a local.

My in-laws have killer Massachusetts’ accents. So of course, Spicy Girl has a great deal of exposure to the dropped “R’s”. Which, of course, makes me nervous. Or, as the natives would say, “wicked nahvus.”

The most commonly used drop “R” word is car. Or, “Cah”.

As we drive around and practice our pronunciations, I am sure to point out cars as “Cars” and really drive home my hard “R’s”. But despite being in my home, and with my husband (who some how managed to avoid the Massachusetts accent himself, despite living here his entire life) and me almost exclusively, she is picking up the accent.

Let me be clear, there is someone, or some people, to blame for this. Namely, my in-laws; who, despite my displeasure with this learned behavior, continue to encourage it. And, unlike being ale to re-gift the Red Sox cheerleading costume that they gave her as a Christmas present, I can’t get rid of the accent.

However, the consistent encouraging of Spicy Girl to speak like a Mid-Western news anchor seems to be working. To a point. Now, Spicy Girl is categorizing words. So, anyone listening can be sure to know who uses which word.

For instance, recently, while driving around, Miss Spicy Girl saw a line of nearby vehicles and yelled out, “Look mommy it’s lots of cars!’

“That’s right, Spicy Girl,”

“Mommy says car, but Yaya and Poppy say, “Cah!”

“That’s wicked, Spicy Girl. Wicked.”

“Wicked, Mommy. Cah!”

This is worse than the Red Sox winning the World Series.


About Laura

If you had told Laura that she would become a first time mom at 41, say back in her "spirited 20s", she would have said "That sounds about right.  I've got too much to do until then."  Well, she didn't really, and it wasn't exactly by choice. Seven years of fertility treatments later, it all seemed to make sense.  And with the words, "let's adopt," the adventure really began.  When her daughter ("Spicy Girl" b.2007) was placed in her arms at 11 months old, in a city half-way around the world, the idea of motherhood became the reality of "what the hell am I doing?"  All at once, life at home became a constant sociological experiment of nature vs. nurture.  "Honestly, honey, I didn't teach her how to do a forward roll at 20 months ... I couldn't do one when I was 20 years old.  It must be her hard-wiring." In her daytime away from mom-hood, she works as a higher education administrator where she does her best not to parent 18 to 22 year-olds.

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