Before' />

As first words go, I can't help but feel a little chuffed with my daughter that one of hers is beer. Now there's a way to her daddy's heart.

Before you holler "silly idiotic parenting" I have to tell you we reckon she's easily got 50 other words - some clear, some garbled, and some variations on actual words - but the thing about Mia's love affair with the word beer is how beautifully she enunciates it.

Along with her excited "mummy", "daddy", and "poppa", it's "beer" that she pronounces best.

She got it - or parroted it, if you like - from us because most nights before dinner we have a beer (or sometimes two).

"Do you want a beer hun?' I say to my wife.

"Yeah, that'd be great.'

And as I walk back across the lounge Mia quite often points excitedly and says: "Beer,

It has got a little out of hand because now anyone sipping out of a brown or green bottle is having a beer.

A few weekends ago in New Plymouth there was a bloke at the airport who was drinking L&P and according to Mia he was having a "beer, beer, beer".

Then, on the flight back to Auckland a too-cool-for-school guy sitting across the aisle from us, who wore his sun glasses inside the plane, was drinking a ginger beer and every time he took a sip little Mia would proclaim rather cutely: "beer." It got a few chuckles, not that Mr Coolio was laughing.

Nana (my mum) didn't think it was too much of a hoot either and treated it with the sort of dismissive tolerance she had when I came home with both my ears pierced.

Supposedly, the golden rule is you have to watch what you say around young ones. But I'm sorry, I refuse to say every night, "Do you want a b-e-e-r, hun?"

That useful spelling game is reserved for more essential times like, "Maybe I should take
her to the s-w-i-n-g.'

I have to admit though, it may have taken a while but casual cursing and the f-word usage has dwindled in our household. Mia might be yabbering about beer but it's all part of her development.

Every day there are more words (like her lovely jumbled lilt as she tries to get her tongue around butterfly); she's also telling us more about what she wants ("Wow-wow', which is please do Row Row Row Your Boat with me); and she's being more independent, doing everything from jigsaws to wiping up spillages on the floor.

However, I won't be asking her to please get daddy a beer from the fridge - well, not until she's a lot older and we're on holiday, at least.

- Scott Kara
Pictured above: Mia's also working on saying 'bear'... though at the moment she usually just growls instead. Photo / Glenn Jeffrey