March 2014: The Children Are Tender

Caregiving, teaching little kids to read, and riding in the pickup with Farmer John; I tweet, pin, and blog, from my home in rural Kansas. If you've landed here looking for information about my books, visit my author's page by clicking this link: A. Born. Thanks for visiting!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Life Imitates Art

In The Children Are Tender, I created the character of Jenny, a little girl who pronounces every R controlled vowel as "oi/oy." For those who have not taught phonics, let me clarify: ar as in car, er as in her, ur as in hurt, and or as in for would all be pronounced with the oi/oy sound (coy/car, hoy/her, foy/for, hoyt/hurt). For example, when describing the February doldrums, Jenny said, "Now that Valentimes Day is oi-ver, there is nothing to look foi-ward to."

I loved Jenny, even though she was a figment of my imagination (when one writes fiction these things happen). I thought her way of speaking--which I could hear clearly in my head--charming.

Our middle grandson, Logan, was born while I was writing The Children Are Tender, and hadn't yet begun to talk in sentences when the book was published in 2013.

But since that time Logan, now age 3, has begun to talk at great speed--and he substitutes oi/oy for every r-controlled vowel.  It is adorable.  It is also a bit surprising since I'd never heard an actual child do this. It was as though my fictional little Jenny had found a real life voice in my rambunctious, rowdy, lovable little grandson.

One of Logan's favorite books is Henry Explores the Jungle by Mark Taylor. In this book Henry explores the "impenetrable jungle," and Logan loves that word "impenetrable."  Except when he says it, it sounds more like "Impenetroy-ball."  When I took the photo below of Logan standing in sunlit willow branches he had just said, "Look Gwammy! I'm 'tandin in duh impentory-ball jungoy!"  It took me a good five minutes to decipher his words, but once I did--I was charmed.

Like Jenny, Logan's speech pattern is developmental and will fade as he grows.  But while it lasts it is a sweet facet of this adorable little boy's way of describing his world.

Logan in the "impen-tory-ball" jungle.

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