We got the milk, now let’s tackle those cookies

Buster, our three-year-old,  struggles to pronounce certain consonant sounds. The most famous of these is the k or hard c sound. Buster has always compensated for this lack by substituting another sound where the k goes, usually a t. Hence, milk becomes milt and work becomes wort.

We’ve learned to recognize these hybrid words, allowing him to express himself. At the same time, I have been trying to train him how to pull his tongue back into his mouth in order to pronounce the elusive k.

where's that tongue?

Civil Defense workers searching mouths for the elusive k sound. Everyone did their part to help the war effort. (Image: Ann Rosener/U.S. War Information)

Our practice had yielded limited results. Then one day, he requested a bowl of cereal. When I asked if he wanted milk in it, his answer was non-committal. “Yes, milk or no, milk?” I asked again.

“Yes, milk,” he replied, clear as bell, whenever a bell perfectly pronounces the word milk.

I did a double take. “What? What did you just say?”

A smile of recognition stole over his face. “Yes, milk,” he belted out proudly.

I picked him up and hugged him. “You said, milk. What a brilliant boy! You did it!” I gushed as I spun circles with him in my arms. He beamed at me proud and happy at how proud and happy he’d made me.

When Mommy came home, he ran to her to show off the word milk like she’d never heard it before. More hugging and spinning ensued.

In the week since, he’s showed his mastery of milk to the next door neighbor and anyone else who happened by. When it’s eluded you for all your life, milk becomes powerful juice.

Even when I was a child, Mr. K stood in  the shadows of Mr. M and Mr. T.

Even when I was a child, Mr. K stood in the shadows of Mr. M and Mr. T.

The other night, Buster, Mommy, and I were enunciating about milk. I happened to be about to eat a cookie that Buster had his eye on. “I’ll give you my cookie if you do two things,” I told him. “First, say cookie.”

Up until now, cookie has always be tootie. Buster thought hard. “Cootie,” he said, followed by “Tookie.” Getting two hard c sounds into one word is daunting work.

“Okay, that’s close enough. Now say candy.”

Buster focused. “Canny.”

“That’s so close. You got the c right but you left out the d.” D has never been a problem for him, but apparently there was no room for it in a word that already had a c.

“You’re very close. Try one more time.”

Buster looked longingly at my cookie. The pressure was too much. He couldn’t focus on the c and hit the d too.

“I know you can do it. One more try,” I pleaded .

Perhaps he saw the cookie drifting away from him. He looked at me hopefully, then shifted his gaze to the always compassionate Mommy. He took a deep breath and said with clarity and confidence:


Sometimes it’s not the cards in your hand; it’s how you play them. He won two proud smiles and a cookie.


33 comments on “We got the milk, now let’s tackle those cookies

  1. Your children will learn to pronounce the words properly, but the early way of saying them, will become part of your family language. I still think of gloves as ‘glubs’ because that’s what my little sister used to call them!

  2. Gibber says:

    I hope he shared the toodie with you…

  3. GoofyEd says:

    Oh, yeah….these stories will be happily recalled to his children.

  4. Dean B says:

    Oh well done to your little boy. My 5-year old can’t roll her ‘r’, so some words with that letter sounds like a “w”… C’mon mum… Wun!

  5. You’re being too soft on the boy. Tough love, sir. Also, we have those same flashlights that woman is using in the picture here at the police department. That’s both funny and sad to me. Gman took forever to talk, and now that he does, he talks not funny, but he’s harder to understand than his sister or brother ever were. Must be a youngest child thing. Wait, is he your youngest anymore?

  6. A.PROMPTreply says:

    What a sweetie. Love this post, Scott.

  7. Lynn says:

    Well played Buster😊

  8. AmyRose🌹 says:

    Oh, Scott, this is so endearing. How sweet. And how proud you must be of the conquered K!

  9. Always go with what you know. That’s your boy. Got Milt? I mean…milk? 😀

  10. Julie Burton says:

    Yummy!! What kind of cookie??

  11. Well, he’s certainly smart!

    my stepbrother always had a hard time with TR sound. Truck was always FRUCK. Yes, it made for interesting conversation with others sometimes.

  12. Ahdad says:

    After this post he won a whole lot more than two smiles my friend!!

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