My British Daughter
To the woman at the pet store yesterday:
No, my daughter does not have a foreign accent. She has a speech impediment. A speech impediment that makes her sound British.
She's about to end her fourth year of speech therapy, and her "R" remains as elusive as ever. But hopefully before junior high, she'll be sounding like an American.
And yes, she is a little sensitive about it. I just wanted to explain the awkward silence that followed your comment.
I also struggled to find my "R" in elementary school. I wouldn't say my middle name (Carol), and I would only name the state we had moved from (New Mexico) because the actual town (Roswell) had an "R" in it. I heard the passing comment every once in a while from kids outside my circle, but my friends were cool about it. Especially my best friend, whose name was Lori. Yep, as luck would have it, Little Miss Speech Impediment had a best friend whose name had an "R" right in the middle of it. I couldn't avoid saying her name. She was my best friend. So I just called her "Low-ee." We both knew I was saying it wrong, but she never said a word about it. That's the mark of a true friend.
Julia has also been blessed by good friends who have never poked fun at the way she talks. She just gets occasional comments and questions from strangers (usually adults, like the pet store lady) who are surprised to hear a British accent in central Arkansas.
However, Julia is getting close to the age that I'm afraid she will get made fun of if she doesn't conquer "Mt. R" soon. Maybe it would be easier for us to move to England and have everyone wonder about my accent instead of hers.