Pensacola Beach, Florida, January 2012
The Love Magnet has been harder to understand this year. Her speech is somewhat garbled. I think there must be a disconnect somewhere - is her brain running faster than she is able to express? Or is it that she hears her peers speaking faster and tries to match their speed at the expense of being understood. Whatever the reason, I've tried to work more with her on articulation. It has been an interesting journey. Mainly due to the reason that I can't be caught at being the teacher - rebellion would ensue.
The boys have picked up on the articulation models I have been using and started using them as well. when The Love Magnet attempts to articulated /s/, they will point out that they can see her tongue. "Hide your tongue! I see your tongue, put it back in your mouth". Alternately, when she attempts a /th/ sound, she ends up substituting with a /d/. The boys will model where her tongue goes and then tell her it is her turn. She complies with much more enthusiasm for them than she shows for me. When her entire sentence is unintelligible, they will let her know. "Whoa, I didn't understand that. Say it again, but this time slow down." She is very willing to clarify to them, particularly if she is requesting something.
I love that the boys have picked up on this without me requesting it of them. They are also learning to be more careful of what words they say and how they say them. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Heavenly Father sent The Love Magnet to our house to show us how we sound to each other. She can mimic tone and inflection in speech with absolute clarity. It is very obvious who she is mimicking and the offensive party ducks their head in shame when they recognize that they are the ones being imitated. Worse, she picks up new words with lightning speed, particularly words we don't want her to repeat. We've discovered that it is more than twice as hard to train her out of a bad word than it was to get my boys to stop saying a new word they learned on the school playground. Read this post. It was the most mild of words we didn't want her to say. It took all the next year to train her out of it.
Here I raise my glass (of water) to old words said with more clarity and new words that aren't offensive. And most of all to the power of the examples of sibling and friends.
My daughter is watching and listening to you. Please be kind to each other.