The Language Dictator
When speaking, I have a tendency to mix my metaphors, choose awkward words and create folksy sayings that wouldn’t be claimed by any folk. It is usually in the middle of a passionate story re-telling where my words are paragraphs ahead of my brain. Due to my below average typing skills, these things get edited out when I write…as it should be.
I have gotten used to grammar and phrase correction. Let me rephrase that, I have gotten used to grammar and phrase correction from adults.
I have found I am a little less receptive to language correction when it is my three year old.
A few weeks ago Rhett(3) decided that if he asked a question, “uh-huh” was not an appropriate answer.
In fact, the response uh-huh appears to be an insult to him and the very ground that he walks on. At first, the unwelcomed uh-huh was met with Rhett’s pout and a “don’t say that!”. It has escalated into a full blown tantrum with hands over his ears, stomping of feet and the screeching of “uh-huh is a BAD WORD”.
*insert tantrum here*
I believe the root of his uh-huh angst is that he believes that I am dismissing what he has to say. I am not hearing him. I am brushing him off with the old uh-huh followed by an absentminded nod.
Since that mommy epiphany, I have made a conscious effort to make sure I am making eye contact, responding appropriately and really listening.
It has made NO DIFFERENCE at all. My uh-huh is being met with over-reaction to the three year old degree.
What I didn’t realize was how many uh-huh‘s I use in everyday speech. Now that I have it highlighted with a tantrum extravaganza, it has occurred to me that maybe I do over use the phrase a bit…
OK, maybe A LOT.
Uh-huh makes me NUTS. So much so that if Alexis says it, she is immediately met with, “Yes or no?” I will not reply to grunts, groans, moans, or sound effects. Just words.
It’s totally backfiring. I now get busted for the same at least 40 times a day. Oops.
Try Mmm hmm and see if it makes a difference. Sounds like M&M’s after all.
It’s cracking me up that you wrote about this because Gavin cannot stand it when I say that either. He says “No say it Mamma!” Actually, he yells it.
In our house it’s “yep” Eli (4) always yells “Say yes, not yep.”
(and why does wordpress correct me on my comments? your comment was too short? try again? uh huh)
We went through a phase where we all said “yah”. Then I thought they needed some manners and told them they needed to respond with a yes/no ma’am. Now I am always called out on saying “yah” instead of yes/no.
But I must admit when I say “uh huh” I probably am not listening very well.
Try “Hoooooooooo doggie” instead. He’ll like that one.
I can always tell when my wife isn’t paying attention, because I get the “uh-huh.” I with Rhett on this one, uh-huh!
I have to admit I’m not a fan of uh-huh either — probably because I heard it too much as a kid. But then you become a parent, and realize NOW you’re doing it too! When my son was small, I tried to replace “uh-huh” with “really? cool!” or “wow” occasionally. Of course, that can backfire on you too! 😉