Friday, May 20, 2011

My Southern Belle Says Dawg and Cawll

We are big fans of Nick Jr. around here. Yo Gabba Gabba, Wow Wow Wubzy, Wonder Pets - Nick Jr. is our channel of choice. Not that we actually watch it, but it provides great background noise during playtime. The only time Miss Paige really tunes into it is when her favs - Moose and Zee - pop up between programs. She watches their memory and matching games and shouts at the TV like she really just found the matching puzzle piece. Gotta love her enthusiasm : )

So today, Moose and Zee were doing a rhyming game, and the word to rhyme with was "DOG". No problem, right? WRONG! Well, wrong if your mama is a transplant from New York and still has an accent on certain words - coffee (caw-fee), talk (tawlk), hall (hawll), water (war-ter), etc. Dog happens to be on of those words (dawg). So when the options came up as a rhyming word for Dog, I panicked. Here were the options: House. Car. Frog. The obvious answer is Frog - duh. But when you say "Dawg" for Dog and don't say "Frawg" for Frog, they don't rhyme. I don't say "Frawg". I say "Frog". The next set of rhymes came up, again to match up with DOG. The options were: Shoe. Cat. Hog. OH JEEZ! I don't say "Hawg". I say "Hog".

And then my mind started racing... am I setting my children up for failure when it comes to rhyming? And what about spelling?! Ok, that is a little dramatic. But it never occurred to me that having Miss Paige mimic my speech patterns could have a negative effect. Will her teachers think she's crazy? Will they try and correct her speech? I saw a Dateline once where they featured adults who "mysteriously" began speaking with English accents (a la Britney Spears circa 2006). She is already saying Dog, Call and Ball with a NY accent. Ay yi yi.

So now I have a dilemma: Can I change the way I speak, when the accent is already ingrained in me and it's use is subconscious? Do I need to? Can I just explain to her that Mommy says things differently (as does one half of her family tree!)? At the end of the day, does it even really matter?

I remember in first grade having a teacher's aid tell me I was writing my lowercase cursive "o" incorrectly. I was writing it like my sister did - with a little loop dipping into the "o" rather than just having it go straight across the top. I remember informing her - yes, at the wise old age of 6 - that I wasn't doing it "wrong" - just differently. And in my mind, that was fine.

I know in my heart Paige isn't going to have long term issues if she happens to say some words with a NY accent. There are a lot worse things in the world that she could do: like root for the Florida Gators or Auburn Tigers : ) Just kidding... (although my husband, Daniel, doesn't think there is anything funny about that). GO GEORGIA BULLDAWGS!!!