Adventures in parenting: speech affectations and he's not even four?

Filed under: Preschoolers, Development/Milestones: Babies

get this boy a tv show!My oldest son, Everett, will be four in two weeks. And already I feel I've had a dozen years of parenting experience. He's just his own person: vibrant, funny, dramatic, tortured. He has a hundred fears and a thousand ways of dealing with them. He's always battling wills with me, with his dad, with his 14-month-old brother, Truman.

He even has a speech affectation.

For the past month or so, Everett has been changing the sound "ff" at the end of words to "ss." That gives us "stuss," "oss," "myselss." Hilariously, "sase" instead of "safe" (I thought, sadly, how he'd never know that stands for "self-addressed stamped envelope"), and today while we were making a fabric toy: "stussing."

At first I asked him about it. When it became obvious that he wasn't going to discuss his affectation, and I realized that it was a choice -- often he'd use the same word two ways in one sentence ("can you help me take my shirt off, it needs to be oss!") -- I realized that it was best to leave it alone.


Naturally, I love this affectation. It's truly charming. I can't help typing "stuss" instead of "stuff" when I'm writing an email to someone. I have to resist the urge to parrot him when he says something like "knise" or "stussing." I gather from what developmental literature I've read (and what pediatricians I've talked with) that this is a control thing: he's asserting his power over speech, because there's damn little his parents are letting him control at age almost-four.

But his creativity in asserting his will, really, it's epic. If there's ever been a kid who deserved his own TV show, it is Everett. If only I were a better stage mom...

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.