As his vocabulary grows and he develops a greater understanding of verbal communication, Miles has latched onto a number of frequently used phrases. “That’s a big one.” “I want ice cream.” The perennial favorite, “NO.”
There is one, however, that is a bit vexing: “Ow-wee, ow-wee, ow-wee!”
Obviously we want to know when Miles is hurt or uncomfortable, and “ow-wee” is a really great, basic way to communicate this. The problem is that Miles uses this declaration for everything.
Bumping his head? “Ow-wee, ow-wee, ow-wee!” (Makes sense.)
Getting his nails clipped? “Ow-wee, ow-wee, ow-wee!” (A little presumptive, but I can sort of understand it.)
Brushing his hair? “Ow-wee, ow-wee, ow-wee!” (Uh…)
Applying lotion after a bath? “Ow-wee, ow-wee, ow-wee!” (Actually…the opposite of ow-wee?)
And still, there’s always that shred of doubt just because this is our child. Did we accidentally trim that nail too close? Is he allergic to his shampoo or lotion? Is his scalp excessively tender or are we brushing too hard?
We’re trying to explain to Miles that overuse of the phrase makes it unclear when he actually needs help and when he simply doesn’t like what’s happening, but it’s likely going to be some time before he really understands there are varying degrees of discomfort.