So our dear son Yaakov has a bit of an "r" problem. Or as he would say, an "awww" pwoblem. We've noticed this for a while. We tried our usual parenting strategy of ignoring it and hoping it will go away. Unfortunately, this has not yet yielded results.
However, through the weird and wonderful world of blogging, I happen to know a speech therapist. This is Baila, whom some of you know as www.illcallbaila.blogspot.com. She is a fellow Modiin blogger and accidentally stumbled across aliyahbyaccident (is there any other way to do it? Have we ever been found on purpose? Discuss.), and became a Loyal Reader. So I figured I would give her a call, since that seems to be what people do to Baila. And last night, she came over to meet with Yaakov and check out his awwws. Although she told me she doesn't do the therapy herself, she could give me her professional opinion and recommend someone if she felt he needed it.
Yaakov is a bit of a contrarian ("No I'm NOT!") so I was worried that whatever Baila would ask him to do, he would refuse ("No I WON'T!"). However, when I informed him that my friend was coming over to talk and play with him, he immediately marched into the ma'amad to find a suitable game to play. (Luckily for Baila, it was NOT Candyland.) He was very excited, and when Baila came, he sat her down on the couch and began playing. "This one is so shmeasy faw me," he boasted. So they played and talked, and then Baila asked him if he could differentiate between "run" and "won." ("Which is the one you like to do in the chatzer?" "The fawst one, of CAWSE!" he said, rolling his eyes at this shmeasy question.)
They did two more rounds of that and Yaakov passed, which means he can hear the difference, even if he can't say it. She also asked him to touch his tongue to his nose; unfortunately, he said he "didn't want to show her" that he could do it. Then Baila showed him how she makes the "r" sound and explained it was like a lion roaring. Yaakov's head jerked up. Wait a minute. Lions? This person thinks she knows about lions? She doesn't know about lions! I know about lions! I know EVERYTHING about lions! "That is not how a lion sounds," he explained.
"Well, what does a lion sound like?"
"I do not want to tell you."
"Okay, last question. What is the thing that flies in the sky and is not an airplane?"
Luckily Yaakov did not answer "Buzz Lightyear." But he did say, "Bahwd," which apparently is even more indicative of a speech problem than the other words.
Oh well. The bottom line was that he's not going to outgrow it, he'll definitely need speech therapy, but we can hold off until he's closer to 5. That works for us. On our Parenting Manifesto, right after "Ignore the problem and see if it disappears" comes "Push it off as long as possible." So we will revisit this issue in Apwil.
So a big thank you to Baila, and you are welcome back any time to play games with Yaakov.