Some time ago Hawkeye’s Aunt Strawberry and her Chap brought Hawkeye this little stuffed parrot back from her holiday in the Canaries. At the time, he wasn’t particularly interested in it (or many other stuffed toys). However in more recent times he’s been quite attached to his growing collection of small animals. I am particular about trying to get him small ones that resemble real live animals as much as possible, so we have a gibbon, a bat a vulture, a white tiger, an orange tiger, a lion, an orangutan, a panda bear, and the list goes on.
While I’m sure there is no species of exotic parrot that has the word “Tenerife” on their chest, the little bird is otherwise easily recognisable as a parrot, which is what it has been known as in our household. Over time the pronunciation of “parrot” has changed as Hawkeye’s verbal communication skills have evolved. It started off with the basic “pawa”. Then Hawkeye went through a pirate phase, thanks in part to Nana, who also brought him a pirate t-shirt from Lanzarote. So we had “pawa” and “piwate”. But as he began to sound out the syllables more clearly we began trying to teaching him to say “parrot” more distinctly. And this is how we know that this is not an accountant parrot, nor a knight parrot, but a pirate parrot.
“You mean ‘parrot’.”
“No, honey. It’s ‘parrot’. Par-rot”
“Pi-wate. Pi-wate. Pi-wate!”
“PAH-rot. Say ‘Pah'”
“Pah. Pah. Pahwite!”
You can see where this is going. The parrot was a pirate, despite our best efforts. The Mister and I continued to carefully enunciate “parrot” each time it was the topic of discussion with Hawkeye, but the result was uniformly “pirate” to the point where sometimes we would accidentally refer to it as “pirate” without thinking. A few weeks ago, I finally conceded the battle. There was no reason the parrot couldn’t also be a pirate. Therefore it became known as “the pirate parrot”. This meant that for a couple of weeks Hawkeye went to bed with a “piwate piwate”. Piwate Piwate also went to show and tell on more than one occasion.
It was relatively recently, however, possibly even at the start of the Christmas holidays, that I suddenly heard Hawkeye say “pawwot” when holding the toy. My second reaction was elation at the steady improvement in his pronunciation. My first reaction was actually sadness. It’s hard not to love all the little verbal quirks that older toddlers come up with, and even though we don’t repeat them back to him and only use proper words as much as possible, The Mister and I joke about them with each other. From Hawkeye’s Marvel action figures set, when we’re tidying up after Hawkeye is in bed, there is only ever “The Abodimation” now even though when he is doing battle with The Hulk in Hawkeye’s presence we only ever say “Abomination” correctly. So hearing Hawkeye say “pawwot” felt like one of those tiny-yet-defining moments of childhood ticking by.
The story did not end there, however, because now pirates are “pawwots” so the toy has become “pawwot pawwot”.
It’s a work in progress.
I’m also entertaining the idea of teaching him the word “preposterous”. I mean, that has to end up as something hilarious, right?
The first version of this blog post incorrectly identified Nana as the source of the parrot. This was my mistake, however, and I need to set the record straight. Aunt Strawberry and her Chap brought Hawkeye the parrot from their holidays back in July, but I had forgotten about it because they also brought Conor the Camel from Dubai and Hawkeye was attached to the Camel for months, overshadowing the parrot.