I love playing with my children. It is one of the true joys in my life and a never-ending source of entertainment that adds to our family language. Wait. What? Yes, our family language. I’ll explain.
Every family has a language of their own. It might be silly phrases that eventuate from, well, acting silly. It might consist of pet names that you have for each other. It might also be nonsense songs that are made up. Whatever it is, it is yours and no one outside the family would understand it because it just wouldn’t be the same if you had to explain it and the weird looks you would get trying to explain it, well, enough said.
My sisters once made up a song after their adventures with a flat tyre and trying to find one in a small country town on their way to visit me. It was to the tune of ‘Old Susannah’. The chorus went a little like this:
‘Oh Daniella, now don’t you cry for me, for I come from Cooranbong with a spare tyre on my knee’. It had verse upon verse that they sang to me to explain their late arrival.
When Red was little, my sister made up a little verse for him which she would say to him every time she saw him…’I love you more… than the whole wide world…and back again!” he still remembers it at 19 along with the fact that he used to call the moon…’the mooin’. That we remind him of.
Our family language has evolved and developed from the jokes, songs, games, nonsense play and general goofing off that began when our young brood were old enough to talk. You need a well rounded sense of humour in this house to fit in and the children are no exception.
Bieber used to get called Chubba on account of his bright red, chubby cheeks as a baby and it just kind of stuck. My mother extended that to Chubba-lubba. The Princess was called Chloe goat legs when she was three. Her father somehow extended that to Goatisha and then to Tisha Boots, which she hated and demanded he stop. Dizzy Lizzy had that name when I met her father, bestowed upon her by her Uncle. She also got Lidbet which became Squidbet then just Squid for short. Red was always Joshie then Doshie (because Master 6 couldn’t say ‘j’) then Yoshie. He also got Joshskewer which was a take on the pronunciation of Joshua also bestowed upon him by the aforementioned Uncle. I have been known as The Dragon Lady but I ignore that one in the hopes that it will go away.
Last night, as I played with Master 6, we revisited some of the silly things that were said when he was a baby and a toddler. Some he even remembered. Some, I am still hanging on to which I know will change as he outgrows it. Like Tooty-Kissin’.
Tooty-Kissin’ has been a huge favourite with our children since they were babies and Master 6 is the last of the Tootie-Kissees. I would just grab his foot when he wasn’t looking and give it a great big kiss much to his delight and giggles. He tells me he is a big boy now and that I don’t have to tuck him in at night. I am not allowed to walk him to his classroom. Too old for that too. Apparently he is not too old for Tootie-Kissin’. We even have a song, made up to the tune of the Deborah Harry hit ‘French Kissin’ in the USA’. I sang that to him last night as we laughed and tickled each other, each trying to get the better of the other. Suddenly, Master 6 stopped. Where did you get that song from Mum? he asked. I told him about its origin and sang the line of the original. Ohhhhh, he said and laughed. Pause. What does French-kissing mean Mum?
Can of worms. Opened. I asked for that.
- Home is Where Your Story Begins and Language Grows (prairiewisdom.wordpress.com)
- Language and Children Intelligence Development (socyberty.com)
- List: ‘Baby bump’ dumped, ‘amazing’ phrases banned (msnbc.msn.com)