It’s been a weird one, in terms of language acquisition this week.
The 3yo and I have both been learning some new things.
He’s learned that ‘soup rings’ are actually called spaghetti hoops.
I’ve learned to establish context when he asks about a word.
“Mummy what does sent mean?”
* cue long explanation about letters, gifts, distance, addresses, envelopes and the postal service *
“No no no – what is a sentry guard? Like the one on Noddy, at the castle, who sees the dazzle dragon…”
He’s learned to sing the ‘knock-kneed chicken / bow-legged hen’ song.
I’ve learned that if I call him “darling boy” he calls me “darling mummy” like an Enid Blyton character.
And he’s learned the word “coronavirus”.
Which made me a bit sad, if I’m completely honest.
Up to now, we’ve called it ‘the bad cough’. And I didn’t think he’d ever really need to know any more about it.
“The play centre’s shut, because lots of people have a bad cough. And we don’t want anyone else to catch it and be poorly, so it will be open again when everyone with the bad cough is better.”
In the period of time since I first mentioned ‘the bad cough’ to him last year, we’ve done potty training, moved into a ‘big boy’ bed, turned three, started pre-school, had our first Christmas without visiting grandparents, learned to use zoom, and really just grown up an awful lot.
(Him, not me).
And unfortunately the bloody ‘bad cough’ is still hanging around.
I was conscious that the subject is so prevalent in conversation now, that I didn’t want to confuse him. Unlike this time last year, his speech and understanding has come on so much that he listens to everything being said around him and soaks it all up like a little language sponge.
It’s no longer likely that he won’t notice people talking about it, and his older cousins and classmates will inevitably bring it up on zoom.
So, to go with his ever-expanding vocabulary, I gave in and taught him the word coronavirus.
And hopefully, he won’t need to use it.
And hopefully, it will be a word that we can *all* soon forget.
Then I cheered myself up with some of his adorable words that I have *no* intention of forgetting – like ‘under-brella, or the time he accidentally said ‘cloud scratcher’ instead of skyscraper.