Today is The Little Monster's birthday. As some long-time readers may recall, the biggest impetus for the launch of this blog was to share my experiences raising our two daughters as a stay-at-home dad. In June of 2010 (when Monster Dad went online) The Little Monster was actually little. She was only five years old at the time, with a lot of growing and life experiences ahead of her. We've had a lot of adventures since then and she has already done a lot of growing. She has had quite a few birthdays since then too. What makes this particular one special enough to write about? Well, it's actually a pretty major one, and one that I'm finding a bit scary to think about and even kind of hard to fathom. Today The Little Monster turns THIRTEEN! Today she is a TEENAGER! Where has the time gone? How has this happened? And, what the heck does all this have to do with "Draclea" and "Frakenstein"?
I noticed both of these traits pretty quickly after she started talking. When a word had a "U" in it she would skip the "U" and then change the sound of the word after where the "U" should have been. I think she must have just thought she had heard some of these words a certain way and stuck with that as her pronunciation. After all, she wasn't spelling or reading yet, so it's not like she'd say "Wait, this isn't how the word is pronounced, it's spelled completely differently!" Everything was pretty much based on sound at that point. The most obvious example of this quirk was when she'd mention "Dracula". Instead of saying it the familiar way, and how it's spelled, she'd pronounce it as... "Draclea" (Drak-Lee-Uh). And this wasn't the only word with a "U" that this happened to. She also pronounced Regular as "Reglea" (Reg-Lee-Uh), and Ambulance as "Ambleance" (Amb-Lee-Ance). Those are the only examples that I can thing of, but you can probably get the point.
The dropping of letters when pronouncing words seems to be a pretty common thing for a young kid just learning to speak to do. I can imagine that the word Frankenstein would probably be pretty intimidating for one of those new-talkers. It's quite a long word that has many letters and three syllables. And if you saw that word spelled out on a TV or movie screen it would probably look kind of scary (from a pronunciation standpoint), especially when you DON'T even know how to read yet! The Little Monster would drop the "N" and pronounce the word as... "Frakenstein" (Fray-ken-stine). I don't have too many examples of other words that she would do this to, but the one that I can think of is very similar. I used to always read books to her at bedtime (a ritual that I really miss, though at the moment I'm still doing it with the Tiny Creature--at least until she decides she's too old and grown-up to be read to). Some of the books we used to read included the series that featured Franklin the turtle. You can probably guess where this is going. Yes, The Little Monster pronounced Franklin's name as "Frakin" (Fray-Kin). She went ahead and dropped both the "N" AND the "L" for that one.
Here's our copy of the book Franklin's Halloween:
In which Franklin goes to the Halloween party as "Franklinstein"
She did continue to grow though, of course. As her age was reaching double-digits and she was learning all kinds of new things at school something happened that I managed to miss in the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life. Somewhere along the line she did indeed correct herself and started pronouncing the words correctly. I have no idea exactly when it happened or how it happened. Did she realize her mistake and correct it on her own when she was able to read? Did a teacher or friend at school correct her? Did she simply "grow out of it"? Whatever happened, the days of "Draclea" and "Frakenstein" were suddenly over and she was just that much less of a Little Monster. I'll always be her Dad of course, but I do find it kind of sad to think that at this point she's closer to things like college and getting married than she is to the days when we'd hang out and watch stuff like "Draclea" and "Frakenstein" movies together.
HAPPY 13th BIRTHDAY LITTLE MONSTER!!!
...even if you're not so little anymore!