I was looking at some family videos from last summer whereupon I realized that it has now been more than a year that Milo has been using “my” instead of “I”. The first time I noticed this little idiosyncrasy was at my sister’s wedding in June 2013. Milo was a couple months shy of two years old at the time. On the day of the wedding, he was the most adorable little page boy, along with his big brothers (you can see the photo of them in their fancy-schmancy wedding duds in the “Three Little Whirlwinds” section of “About Them”). The day after the wedding, we gathered for a barbecue and Milo walked around with a death grip on a soft serve vanilla ice cream cone… until it finally (predictably) collapsed onto the ground.
He cried for a moment, but wasted little breath on his devastation, instead quickly devising a Plan B: Going around demanding licks from other people’s cones. He would march up to someone with an ice cream, point at it and declare, “MY.” As in, your ice cream is my ice cream. It proved a highly effective technique.
Later that summer, the kids and I were visiting my parents. As the kids finished breakfast one morning, I shuttled them outdoors to burn off steam in the yard.
“Go run around,” I said to Wyatt and Duncan, “it’s such a nice day out.”
Milo, still trapped in the high chair with a face full of yogurt was apoplectic, pushing at the tray, straining at the straps, dying to get out there with his brothers. He finally found the words to express his frustration, blurting out, “MY NICE DAY! MY NICE DAY!”
And so it went. “My” came to mean “mine”, “me” and “I”. Now he is three years old and he knows how to say and use the first two of those correctly, but still “my” lingers in place of “I”.
“My such a big boy now!”
“My can do it myself!”
“Dat truck mine. My want it now!”
“No, Mommy, my not think it bedtime now.”
He also uses “us” for all first person plural pronouns. For example, instead of, “We are going to our house,” he says, “Us going to us house!”
Should I be correcting him? I don’t know. It’s pretty darn cute and I’m pretty confident he’ll outgrow it soon enough. Of course I don’t want to stunt his verbal capabilities, but I also kind of just want to enjoy “Milo-ese” as long as it lasts. Maybe if I bothered reading parenting books/blogs that told me exactly where his language skills were in relation to his peer group, I would be more concerned. As it is, I live with him, I listen to him, I watch him learn and grow, and I can see for myself that he is doing just fine in terms of his budding conversational abilities. We don’t speak toddler-talk back to him and usually I try to casually repeat what he says in a grammatically correct way without forcing him to echo me. For example, if he says, “My like dis ice cream!” I will say, “I like this ice cream, too!”
I think this is enough for now. Big brother Wyatt, however, disagrees.
“Milo,” said Wyatt recently, “can you say ‘I want chocolate’?”
“My want chockit!” said bright-eyed Milo, nodding enthusiastically. He loves chocolate.
“No, Milo, say ‘I want chocolate’.”
“My want chockit.”
“Milo, can you say ‘I’?”
“Now say, ‘I want’.”
“No, no, no, no. Say ‘I’.”
“Good! Now put it all together: I want chocolate.”
“My want chockit!”
“No. I, Milo, I. Say ‘I want chocolate’, not ‘my want chocolate’.
“Not you want chockit, Wyatt. My want chockit. My want it right now! Mommy, us has chockit in us house? My can have some?”
“Mommy,” Wyatt said in a serious tone with a hand on my arm, “I think you’re going to have to deal with this one.”