When T is learning to say something new there is always a lot of repetition.
When T is learning to say .... no, not really.
On the way to and from nursery we drive over the high road which has a fantastic view of Scout Moor, our friendly local wind farm. On clear days, the statuesque blades rotate gently against the blue sky. We've not quite got as far as 'turbine' yet but T is very taken by the giant white battlements protecting our Lancashire village from the Pennine hills ... 'look Mummy, windmills, turning round and round'.
As his language and understanding become more sophisticated, there is more to say. As the road dips down past the traffic lights and we enter the final stretch home T used to say 'windmills gone!', to which my reply is now 'they've not gone, we just can't see them any more'.
And thus it starts. 'Mummy say it ... mummy say it ... mummy say it' and I repeat the sentence up to ten times, T listening to the words, rolling them in his mouth, until he's confident enough to repeat them back to me - 'not gone, can't see them any more ... I DID IT!' followed by clapping.
It's not black and white though of course, and sometimes there are words and phrases I have to repeat only once or twice before he takes them and runs with them, whether I want him to or not.
I picked T up from nursery yesterday and strapped him into the carseat. We began the usual 'way home' routine, talking about what he'd done that day, choosing which way to go at the traffic lights ('turn RIGHT Mummy') and discussing what to have for tea. Then it started. Giggling. Not normal giggling, the soft rumble as I tickle a round toddler tummy or kiss a sensitive little boy's neck, but naughty giggling. Crafty giggling.
'What's the matter T?'
'Oh my ...' (dissolves into fits of laughter)
I was laughing myself now, toddler enthusiasm being pretty infectious
'Oh my ... oh my ... oh my ...' (he was gasping for breath by this point) 'Oh my ... BOLLOCKS!'
Yes, I am that parent, the one who, once or twice (honestly!) might have used a curse word within my child's hearing. I might sometimes say 'oh my god' too and so, of course, he has combined the two into a whole new level of maternal humiliation. Not just swearing, but creative swearing! T was inordinately pleased once he'd got the words out, and even had the gumption to try the 'Mummy say it' line.
I did the obvious of course, talked at his level about 'naughty words' which he shouldn't say, but didn't make too much of the issue, not wanting to encourage his contrary side into repeating his new phase at grandma, or (worse) nursery. Then, as he tucked into his tea, I buried my head in a cushion and laughed and laughed, and resolved to watch my words much more carefully from now on.