Monday, July 15, 2013

Water. Wha-TER.

The other morning, Cub and Naomi had a discussion at the breakfast table. It went like this:

Cub: "Mama, may I have some water please?"

Naomi: "I want wha-tuh, too!"

Cub: "Naomi, it's wha-TER. WATER."

Naomi: "That's what I said, Caleb! 'Wha-tuh'!"

Cub: "No, Naomi, you're saying 'wha-tuh'."

Naomi: "I am not! I'm saying wha-tuh ... wha-tuh. Whatuh."

Then she looked down at her plate with tears in her eyes.

"Mama, I can't say it right."

Break my heart, baby girl.

Okay. So, Naomi (obviously) has a hard time saying her "r"'s. I haven't thought much of it because, in my opinion, she's barely three and pronouncing your "r"'s incorrectly seems like a fairly common practice in toddlerhood. I know that it could potentially be an issue down the road, but for now, I'm not worried about it.

But this was the first time Naomi ever worried about it.

I tried telling her that we all learn to say things as we get older, and for her not to worry. I told Caleb to pronounce "Pre-millenial Eschatological Theology", which came out "Pre-millenial Eskapodogical Pedigree" and I told her, "See? The older you get, the easier it is to say things correctly!"

But, am I wrong?

I know I have readers who work with kids and are experienced with this kind of thing. What do you think? Any tips? My gut says to let it fly, but, sometimes my gut can be a tad ... optimistic. ;)

Thank you in advance.

Have a lovely day!


  1. I think she's just fine, but I have no expertise, and it's probably just because I too have a young three year old who still says PLENTY of things wrong! (Which then makes me worry that it's due to his genetic thick upper frenulum which is the reason for the large gap between his two front teeth which is exacerbated by his thumb sucking which I can't make him stop which is all my fault!!!! :) Ah, the worries of motherhood! (But really...Naomi is, she's got some strong New England roots, where saying wah-tuh is perfectly normal! Pahk the cah and all that wicked cool stuff.

    1. That made me laugh, Leslie! Thank you for that! That explains why she loves wearing a "romp-uh" and says "shew-uh" for "sure". :)

  2. Totally normal! It's developmental :) we won't even service second graders for speech therapy with "r" issues. If its not gone by third grade then it's time for intervention. But it's usually always corrected naturally by then. Breaks my heart though that she noticed it :( Porter is almost four & still struggles with that. He also does B for his V's. I think it's all cute right now & I will miss it when it's gone 😊

  3. Evelyn has this same issue and Sophia always points it out to her. I asked our Pediatrician at her 3 year well check and she told me it is very common and not to worry. She suggested not making a big deal out of it (so it doesn't make her sad or feel down about her abilities), but to (at times) correct her and be certain to speak very clearly and pronounce words slowly when speaking to her. She said it's because the second child learns to speak from the older sibling, whereas the first child learned to speak from the parents. She said that it will naturally correct itself when she gets older (5-6 years old) and if she's in K-1 and still has an issue, then start therapy.

    Poor girl. I think it's cute the way they talk...makes me feel like I still have a 'baby' a little bit. I will miss when she talks 'normal'.

  4. My son was well into his 3rd year before he pronounced his Rs. He, too, had the moment where he realized he wasn't saying it right. I worked with him on where to put his tongue a lot, too. Something finally clicked eventually. She'll get it, I promise!!


  5. When I student taught in a 2nd grade classroom, there was a little girl who didn't pronounce her r's correctly. Her mom tried to get her in the school's speech therapy program but the therapist told us and the mom that mispronounciation of r's isn't a concern until 3-4th grade.

    I personally think it's adorable, especially at Naomi's age :)