Your Ami or My Ami?

There is a funny thing that happens amongst Florida’s toddlers, which the rest of the country might not be aware of. To know about it, listen to the following typical dialogue.

Toddler: ‘Where are we going, Mommy?’

Mother: ‘To Miami’.

~~~~~The next day~~~~~~

Grandma to Toddler: ‘Where did you go in the car yesterday?’

Toddler: ‘To my momma’s Ami.’

(Get it? The toddler hears ‘Miami’, but perceives it as mom saying ‘My Ami’.)

And all three of the toddlers that I have known to make this linguistic transfer of ownership have been very adamant about it. Is that because it happens at an age where little people are very adamant about ownership? They know what is theirs, and they fight for the right to call it, and they fight for their mom’s ownership as well.

Another time I heard this thing happen was at a patient’s home, where I (as a speech therapist) was working on resolving a lisp with a 9-year-old girl. Her toddler sister came into the room and demanded, as toddlers are wont to do, to be part of the session. So I lifted her to my lap and continued my talk with the 9-year-old. The older sister was naming places that she had visited: “Oklahoma, Chicago, Miami…”

“No!” the toddler interrupted, “Heather’s Ami”, inserting another sister’s name.

The 9-year-old sighed good-naturedly and repeated her list: “Oklahoma, Chicago, Heather’sAmi……” (Apparently, another sister named Heather had mentioned ‘Miami’.)

I love ToddlerSpeak, don’t you?