Monday, April 8, 2013

Kids Say the Darndest Things


Emmy is a talker, with a vocabulary that seems to be growing by leaps and bounds every day. For the most part, she is totally easy to understand. But recently I’ve been noticing and appreciating “Emmyisms” – words that are uniquely (and repeatedly) mispronounced in a way that is hugely endearing.

I figure that over the next few years, these words will fade away as Em becomes aware of their correctly spoken origins, so I should probably write them down. That way, when Em is cramming new words into her head in preparation for the SATs, many moons from now, we’ll be able to take a break from studying and look back on this list for a good laugh.

When I was a kid, I won all of my adult relatives over with my mispronunciation of “ketchup” (which was, and still is, my favorite food in the whole wide world). I called it “keppitch” which, I agree now, is a MUCH cuter word than ketchup (hey Heinz CEO, I am willing to license the word “keppitch” to you, for mere millions). Even when I learned to call my favorite food by its true name, my grandparents would continue to call it “keppitch” in my presence, as a kind of eternal running joke.

And I still remember how my younger sister (who will soon be turning 30) called nightmares “NIGHT MIRRORS,” when she was a toddler. “NIGHT MIRRORS” is just a wonderful way of describing dreams, isn’t it?

Will I continue to replace actual words with their Emmyisms for years to come? I have to say, I am half-tempted to continue to call penguins “pengos,” as my daughter does, because it just sounds so much sweeter.

A little list of Emmyisms:

PENGO = penguin
GUBRELLA = umbrella
CHICKY SAMMICH = turkey sandwich
LELLO = yellow
JAMILLA = Vanilla. To her credit, for a while I was working and carpooling with a woman named Jamella, and we used to talk about our friend Jamella a lot. But it still sounds funny when she says she wants Jamilla ice cream.
FRIGERERR = refrigerator
LASSHOLE = lasso (yes, this one makes me particularly happy. Em was drawing one day, and I said, ‘Em, what’s that you are drawing?’ and she said ‘I drawing a LASSHOLE.’ And after projectile spitting my juice clear across the room, I asked her again what she had drawn. ‘A LASSHOLE! To catch!’ she said, making round movements with her hands. Aaaaah. Ha ha. Got it. A lasso.)

Oh yes, and there is the way she sings “Baa, Baa Black Sheep,” that always has me in a fit of giggles. It goes a little something like this:
Baa baa black sheep
Have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full,
One for my massser, one for my LAME,
And one for the little boy who lives down the LAME.

I’m sure there are SO MANY more words than just these, but I’m sleep deprived and my capacity to remember is totally shot. I think I will keep a running list somewhere on my blog, so I can add to it as I encounter more Emmyisms.

How about you, or your kids? Did you famously mispronounce certain words as a kid, or does your child re-name objects with much more adorable names? If so, please share!


  1. Penine = penguin
    Penis circus = circus peanuts
    bell-door = doorbell
    belt-seat = seatbelt

    Just to name a few. The circus peanut one was rather embarrassing when he would (loudly) ask for them in the store!

    1. Ok, so there must be something about the word "penguin" that makes it un-pronounceable for kids, right?
      Love the penis circus. What a visual! And I can only imagine the looks you get when your son requests them in a supermarket. :)
      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!

  2. My favorite (reported by my parents) was I used to call a helicopter a 'hobbychopper'.

    I can't wait until my daughter starts talking to see what she'll come up with.

    1. That is amazing. Hobbychopper. Kids come up with much better words than adults do. You have much to look forward to when your daughter starts developing her language skills!
      Thanks for stopping by my blog. I checked your blog out and love it! I look forward to reading the writings of all the contributing "real moms"!