Why do we teach our children incorrect words for things? Nappy and Uppy and Night-Night. Is it so that we can keep them to ourselves, a private language code to hold them to us a while longer?
Scott and I never did this with Andrew. Perhaps we should have named him Samuel, because even before he was born we felt it: that he did not really belong to us, but was lent out, until it was time to return him to his Maker.
We told him rabbit and fish and cookie, and when he played them back to us as bunny and sheesh and keecoo we said no, this is the way you must connect with all that is outside of us, we rejected his private language. We drew him to the bigger world.
Eight years later we see him daily asking for new words, hearing them pronounced, taking in their meanings. Each word draws him farther away from us, gives him one more brick in a path that will lead him on his own journey.
As he spends more time with his peers, he begins to use words to harm, not just as a way to draw things to himself. We try to take a balanced approach, not forbidding some words as “bad”, but making sure he knows their real meanings, and expecting him to reach deeper for what he is really trying to say.
We read about how to be better parents for the special type of learning that Andrew excels in, and work hard to not apply labels that will limit him. Again our goal is keeping him free to explore the depth inside of him and how he can take that to the larger world.