Here is a funny story from Jonathan and Jayden Lane:
My son Jayden just turned two-and-a-half, and he’s becoming quite verbal. But he’s not a master orator quite yet…and pronouns in particular can be very challenging when you’re just starting out and still wrapping your head around all these nouns around you! Already I’ve noticed Jayden having trouble with interchanging “he/she” and “him/her” as he isn’t quite clear yet on the differences between boys and girls (and honestly, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to explain girls to him!).
But the one thing that’s been driving me nuts lately is Jayden using “you” when he means “I”. It’s an obvious dilemma, worthy of Abbott and Costello. When Jayden says, “You want to read a book,” and he means that HE wants to read a book, I try to help him by responding, “Jayden, you should say ‘I want to read a book.'” And he repeats, “You want to read a book,” because, basically, I just said that I wanted to read a book! Oh, what I wouldn’t give for the simplicity of the ol’ “Who’s on first?” routine!
But lately, I’ve come up with a different strategy. I don’t tell Jayden the correct way to say it because I know he knows. (He says “I” and “me” at the correct times in other situations, like “I am very happy”…which he says a lot, fortunately.) So instead of correcting him, I ask him a “Who?” question when he says something like, “You want to read a book.” “Who wants to read a book?” I ask. Usually, he responds with “Jayden!” and eventually he finds his way to “I.” But today featured a different punchline.
We were leaving the supermarket parking lot, and Jayden said from the back seat, “You want a cracker?” (The question tone is his way of making the sentence into a request.)
I decided to try my new strategy! “*WHO* wants a cracker?” I said with a playful emphasis on the word “who.”
“Jayden wants a cracker!” he responded confidently.
“WHO wants a cracker?” I repeated again.
I wasn’t about to give up! He’d get the hint and use “I”…the strategy was too brilliant not to work!
“WHOOOOO wants a cracker?” I said, really stretching out the “who.”
Jayden paused. He thought long and hard about what Daddy must be going for. And he really wanted that cracker! I glanced in the rear view mirror to see him with a look of concentration and determination. Then I saw an expression that I can only describe as a two-and-a-half-year-old light bulb going off. This time, Jayden knew he had the right answer.
“THE BOY wants a cracker!”
He had me on a technicality! Hes’ only two-and-a-half, and he’s already outsmarting me. I bowed to the checkmate and gave him the cracker.