Jerry O’Connell: Talking Is ‘Tricky’ for the Twins

01/26/2011 at 04:00 PM ET

He’s star of The Defenders, husband to Rebecca Romijn and dad to fraternal twin daughters Dolly Rebecca Rose and Charlie Tamara Tulip, but is Jerry O’Connell ready to add hair dresser to that list?

“The girl thing is like, ‘Wow,'” the actor, 36, joked during a Wednesday appearance on the Rachael Ray Show.

“Trying to comb their hair is like, ‘Ah! Ah! Ahhhh!’ I’m not trying to murder you, I’m trying to brush your hair!”

But according to O’Connell, his “crazy” daughters’ hair troubles are the least of his worries these days.

With the twins “just starting to talk,” 2-year-old Dolly and Charlie have both had a “tricky” time perfecting their pronunciation.

“If they see a clock they look at it and say, ‘clock,’ but they mispronounce it. They drop the ‘l’ from it,” he laughs. “I don’t want to react because I don’t want them to know it’s a bad word, but I want to encourage them to talk so I’m like, ‘That’s good!'”


— Anya Leon

FILED UNDER: Multiples , News , Parenting , Video

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Showing 56 comments

Anonymous on

I love him and his family…it just puts a smile on my face!….Normalcy

Shannon on

LOL @ the clock story! πŸ™‚

Meghan on

This is one of my favorite celeb families their girls are adorable!

Sarah M. on

The clock story is awesome!

I’m a nanny and I sit for several families, most with infants and toddlers. It’s funny the way toddlers find a way to say things. And how only the people who are around them often can decipher what it actually means!! My now 7 year old cousin used to call me ‘Fiya’. Don’t know why. But we’d be driving when she was younger and I’d hear from the back seat ‘Fiya, Fiya, Fiya.’ She was trying to get my attention and decided that repeating my name rapid-fire was the best way to do it. Another cousin, now 11, called me ‘Abba’. Apparently the ‘s’ and ‘r’ so close together is just too difficult for toddlers!!!

I love this family and how down-to-earth they seem.

Michelle on

My son does the same thing when pronouncing “clock”. I am just so happy he says anything I just go with it and repeat “cLock, cLock” back to him!

Amber on

Haha, my daughter has a hard time pronouncing the letter “s” at the beginning of words, so she says the same word he is referring to when she’s trying to say the word “socks”. Toddlers are just too cute for words sometimes… and I agree with the hair brushing. You’d think you were murdering her!! Thankfully she’s getting older and it’s not as bad.

Love hearing stories from him! I love his outlook on parenthood… always makes me look at the brighter side of things and appreciate my daughter even more.

Tracy on

With regards the hair – in the UK they sell a product called a tangle teaser. It really does work! My daughters both have long hair and they no longer scream at me – bliss!

CelebBabyLover on

I love the clock story! When I was little, my brother and I loved to build forts, only I called them “vorts” for some reason. Also, when my mother was little, she would say “It’s funnering!” instead of “It’s thundering!” It’s funny the way kids say things!

Maddie on

Haha, I’m a preschool teacher for infants and toddlers – and we get those ‘clock’ and ‘shirt’ stories all the time…. one day three little boy toddlers were yelling ‘shut, shut, shut!’ next to an open window – except they were saying an L instead of an H (sllll instead of shhhh… translating into a not so nice word!)… so you can imagine what that sounded like to females passing by!! Turns out they wanted me to ‘shut’ the window, hahaha. Had to hide round a corner to laugh about that one!

Lorus on

Love the clock story!

My daughter had delayed speech and just couldn’t make certain sounds for quite awhile. Bridge came out b!tch and ship came out…well you know. πŸ˜‰

melinda on

god, that is so funny, thats the funniest thing i ever heard. truly a classic. if i were the parent, i probably would have laughed my ass off and said, no honey, thats pronounced clock, not you know, but i don’t think i could even say it so, without making something humorous about it, so that would definitely be hard for me to translate that into the correct language for them.

molly on

L’s must be hard for kids that and the V sound. My son is always saying thinks like instead of lullaby…yuyaby! Very cute…in time they will get it and remember, there is always speech therapy which is extremely common and helpful! Glad to hear these adorabe girls are doing so well!

AiMs on

soooo funny….lovely o’connell girls, just like mommy and handsome daddy jerry!!! πŸ˜‰

anonymous on

My friend’s son says the f-word when he tries to say firetruck! Everyone tries not to laugh or react but it can be so hard not to! πŸ™‚

Jen DC on

One word for the hair: Conditioner. A little mixed in with water in a spray bottle set on a light spritz will help it out. Or do it when it’s wet and braid it up, avoiding later tangles. And maybe – if they have enough hair – a wide-tooth comb instead of a brush. That baby fine hair is so easy to pull and break and those poor little noggins can’t stand it! I remember plenty of mornings standing between my mom’s knees wondering why people even HAD hair if it was going to be this bad…

i need a name on

AAAHHHH the ‘baby days’ ! They go too fast !

Chrissy on

I have the same clock story too, there is a big clock on a parking garage near my daughters preschool, every afternoon she loved to see the clock and would say “Mommy I see the clock” but without the L, the first time I almost pee’d in my pants once I figured out what she was talking about. My daughter also have very curly hair and I use the Paul Mitchell hair detangler, works like magic before and after the bath, even the next morning to freshen the hair.

Lisa on

I love Jerry! He is always so happy to talk about his wife and his daughters! I love a daddy totally in love with his family!

Maggie on

He is just so hot. He seems like such a good father and that is super sexy.

Aunttoni on

My nephew use to replace the tr in truck with an f. So of course we would have him say firetruck, dumptruck etc and we would have to leave the room because of the laughter.

Wyn on

I have a son that had problems with the letter “T”, and one day during church a firetruck pass by, and my son started sreaming, “Fire*uck, Fire*uck.” Needless to say, I think everybody around us thought it was funny, by I was ready to crawl under the pews…

Sarah on

A friend of mine had a young son that would get very excited whenever he saw the lighted exit sign above doors. He would point at it and loudly repeat over and over “Exit! Exit!” only it sounded like he was very clearly saying “oh sh*t” instead. My friend would ignore the glares from others who could hear him and pat him on the head say “Yes, thats an exit sign.”

gillian on

my twins are now 6, but when they were that age they tried to say “fork” but the 2 letters in the middle did not sound like an o nor an r, we just kept repeating the correct pronounciation and made them use spoons as much as possible.

Rebecca on

The “L” Sound is not perfected until much later; by age 3 or 4 they should be able to pronounce the “L” sound correctly. I have asked this question a million times to my 2 year old daughters speech therapist and have been told a million times that the pronounciation does not come until much later.

amber on

Im pretty sure thats normal for children to not be able to pronounce a word correctly when they are learning what things are… Thats why “you” as a parent work with them over and over…. My four year old son, instead of saying “think” he says “stink”, ” please stink about it mommy”, i have to correct him and say “think”, and ” yes i will THINK about it”…. Start worrying when they are older, they are still learning…..

Jessica on

Very cute ! He seems to be having fun with his kids . My sons will say ship sometimes and I have to go What did you say ??? cause it sounds like the other word ,lol

Jessica on

How could you not love this family? I want them to adopt me!

Wendy on

My son, now 11, has really been into dinosaurs since he was 3. He couldn’t say the “h” sound, so he was like “Mommy, that dinosaur has 3 corns!!”. It was so cute.

Cheryl on

I just adore him. He always makes me laugh. His family stories are always hilarious. He is so down to earth in interviews and a joy to listen to when he speaks about his family or anything else.

Angel on

My niece had a hard time pronouncing her G’s when she was small. So Angel became Anal…funny but so embarrassing when she is in middle of store yelling Aunt Anal come look..

Meems on

There’s nothing normal about this dude… He and his wife annoy me. And it borders on child abuse those names they gave to those babies…

TJ on

Funny clock story. Very similar to little boys that try to say truck but end up saying the f word for awhile. My son did it and we tried so hard not to laugh!

Michelle on

I TOTALLY know how that is with the hair and pronunciation thing! My youngest is now pronouncing the “tr” sound which is GREAT b/c he has such a thing for trucks and he would use the “F” sound for the “Tr” sound. πŸ™‚ Thank goodness there are no trucks inside our church or we might have been kicked out! LOL πŸ™‚

elishan on

My daughter just learned how to pronounce “phone” correctly. She was saying it with a “K” sound on the end. We got a lot of nasty looks in the cell phone aisle when it sounded like she was shouting “f**k” repeatedly. Also, my oldest daughter has really curly hair. We have always used Johnson’s extra conditioning for curly hair. It is a miracle worker.

Anonymous on

Jerry, if you read this, Johnson and Johnson “No more tangles”
I had very long hair that knotted just looking at it. I hated to have my hair brushed, but my mom found that stuff and it made things a lot easier and eventually loved to have my hair brushed

Anonymous on

My son could not pronounce his t’s very well, so when he said truck he would say fruck, The funnest thing was driving down the freeway one day and we saw a McDonalds truck. My son starts yelling McDonald’s frucks. To which my sister-in-law says I agree.

Lala on

ha ha ha so funny my nice did that with frog you swear she was saying the F word. and then my son couldn’t say F words all together. i think it was for the best cause right after he heard his dad say the F word he said Buck! they will say it right when the time comes. what important is that they are trying to talk!! πŸ™‚

HP on

Relax Jerry! Cock is the proper british english word for rooster.

Phyllis on

I’m a speech pathologist and that is developmentally appropriate. They shouldn’t fully get their L- blends until age 5. Roll with it Jerry.

Anonymous on

I LOVE Jerry O’Connell!!! He’s the rare celebrity who is always so honest, which endears him even more to his fans. Every single one of his stories make me hysterically laugh and I love him for that. Keep ’em coming Jerry!


What a great story, my daughter’s were the same way, only my youngest used to say look at the big ditch while we are driving along, but using a B instead of a D when saying, My oldest favorite word was hocktacopter (helicopter) and kernel (corner). Now that they are teens, we kid with them and call all those things like they did when they were little and have a good laugh about it all.

Cherish the memories you are making with your little ones, because they grow up way too fast.

NoAdditives on

Cute! My 2 year old says clock and rock the same way!

Melanie on

What the hell is wrong with you meems?

Laughing Mama on

These stories are so precious! I remember my girls learning how to talk and mispronouncing EXIT and FORK and CLOCK and SHIRT and SPAGHETTI. Oh, those were the days. My girls are applying to college now. Enjoy all the kid moments. Life goes too fast, and your babies grow up. Enjoy all the moments.

SweetSophie on

We love California Baby Calming Hair Detangler. Spray it on, leave for a minute, then comb right through! It’s pricier than other detanglers but it has all-natural ingredients and smells good. One bottle lasts forever, well worth the price. πŸ™‚

C. Barlow on

We have twins too – our 3rd and 4th kids – and compared to their older brothers, their pronounciation is quite delayed. They seem to drop most first letters so “sock” becomes “ock”, hat becomes “at” and so on. It’s cute but they do get frustrated when we can’t understand them.

Elizabeth on

I am so glad I wasn’t the only child who had, ahem, issues saying “fire truck.” Thanks for making my day, commenters!

Tee on

I love reading articles about this family! They seem so happy and the girls are precious!

Meems, you think the names Dolly and Charlie border on abuse? Out of pure curiousity, what do you think of the names Apple, Buddy Bear, Jagger Joseph Blue or any of the other crazy Hollywood names out there?

WingsNRoots on

My husband’s brother could not pronounce the “tr” in in “truck” until he was several years old…I mean he even knew his colors and was still mispronouncing “truck.” So everything came out “White f***, green f***, blue f***, red f***, etc.” and the family was both mortified and in hysterical laughter at the same time! Jerry is so funny and seems like such a great Dad.

BigRedAtl on

Love Jerry , he seems like he loves his life! I’m so happy for his sucess on The Defenders. He seems like such a real guy.

Sandee on

What the hell kind of name is Meems? Someone should call CPS.

MiB on

Haha! I was at a cafe with one of my wards once, when we saw a man with an orange hawaii shirt. My ward, who loved both orange and flowers, burst out “Oh, nice shit!” whereas I (stifling my laugh) replied, “That is indeed a very nice shirt”.

I don’t really think that anyone thinks that a 2-3 year old who says fuck instead of truck, bitch instead of bridge, shit instead of shirt or cock instead of clock is actually talking dirty (in fact, most of them wouldn’t know that they said anything inappropriate) as basically everyone knows that toddlers have problems with pronunciation.

In fact I once heard priest laughing heartily when a small child told another small child that he was “the pest”. The only thing you can really do is to say something in terms of “that’s right, that’s the priest”. Off course that doesn’t make it less embarrassing to walk down the isle at Tesco’s with a 1 year old loudly and proudly saying “bugger, bugger, bugger, bugger” or yelling “I wanna fuck!”.

Ashley on

My boyfriend’s son just turned 4 and he calls me “ASHWEY” lol it’s so cute!

lebon2 on

LOL…my 2Β½ year old daughter says the same thing πŸ™‚

Love this man... on

He is funny and sexy. Love his stories. My daughter does the same thing. I was laughing so hard when he actually said it!

Elizabeth on

love it! my nephew was a big bob the builder fan and the thyme song goes “scoop, muck, dizzy” but he always sang “scoop, f*ck, dizzy” It was hilarious! God, they’re so cute at that age. πŸ™‚