Monday, July 19, 2010

No Speaka The Language

We're having a family dinner with the Little Terror Suspects.  The children are discussing the fact that they think they're both bilingual.  They are not.  Thanks to Dora the Friggin Explorer and 30 hours of preschool Spanish class, Hawk thinks he is a fluent speaker. Of Spamich.  He is a fluent speaker of a bunch of crap that he just made up that he thinks sounds like it could be Spanish.  It was super funny.  At first.  Then we took him to a Mexican restaurant where it quickly became not even funny a little bit.  Especially when the child became irate that people were not responding to him in Spamich.

Thumbelina, on the other hand, has overheard one conversation in French.  Armed with the knowledge that anything French is both fancy and awesome, she feels that she understands the French language and can even speak it un peu.

Thumbelina (age 7): "So if someone asks you about a cat, how would they say it?  La cat?"
Lydia: "No, honey. La chat."
Mini-mini-me (20 months): "SHAT!  Momma!  Shat!"
Hawk (age 5): "In Spamich, it is el taccasa."
Lydia: "The word 'cat' in Spanish in gato."
Hawk: (sighs and shakes his head) "No, it's not, Mommy.  You didn't take Spamich, so you don't know.  Like I said it's el cattasa."
Lydia: "What? That doesn't even..."
Thumbelina: "In French, the word 'man' is man-soor, because it's a man.  Get it, mommy?  It's not hard."
Cap'n Coupon: (looks at me, highly amused) "That's right, honey.  It's not hard.  Just pay attention to the kids and you'll get it eventually."
Thumbelina: "And 'woman' is mad-man-zell.  But I don't know why. Maybe because when they get married, she makes the man-soor mad."
Hawk: (oozing smugness) "Do you know what you call a man who is about to get married to a lady? He is called a Beyonce."
Thumbelina: "You're right! I didn't know you spoke French!"
Hawk: (shrugs casually, as if to say: Whatever. I'm awesome. Now you know.) "I get it from Daddy."
Lydia: "Daddy speaks English and German.  Not French.  Or Spanish."
Thumbelina: "Oh Mommy! That's so sad.  You're the only one in the family that can't speak lots of languages..."
(The three of them stare at me with pity in their eyes, as if I have just arrived home from the Ambulatory Care and Outpatient Lobotomy Center. I leave the table and pick up the baby from her high chair.  She immedietly squeals: "SHAT!" and then happily slaps me across the face.)
Hawk: "Don't be mad, mommy.  We still love you."
Cap'n: "Sure we do.  Even if you can't speak Spamich."

The End.

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  1. Our son once informed my gringo husband and I, much to our surprise, that he was part Mexican. When we asked why he thought that, he replied, "Because I speaka Spanish a little."

    Touche, hombre.

  2. I love how the Cap'n takes every opportunity to side with the kids over you. so funny. Good for him for loving his kids enough to care about how he ranks in their eyes. And good for you for letting him have his fun. :) Also, just found my first "mommy juice box" in Seattle. As it turns out, they actually hold a whole liter of wine, as opposed to 750 ml.... so, it's possible that I have had a little more to drink than normal.

  3. And thanks to Kai Lan my 6 yo daughter also thinks she can speak Chinese. The only show my 21 month old will watch is Dora (ya know, a mama has to shower sometime). So she is now trying to count in Spanish. Ok, kid...when you can start counting KITTIES instead of TITTIES then maybe we can start with uno. But for now, lets stick to English, ok?

  4. Some of the teachers at my daycare speak spanish...and the girls understood & could respond. But at home? Nope, didn't understand a damn thing they said....I was never quite sure if they were speaking to me in spanish or if it was just normal "babytalk".

  5. I love this post. I love Hawk and his Spamich and thoughts on Beyonce. Thumbelina has sound reasoning skills. I think overall this is one of my favourites!

  6. My daughter still does this at 7. Drives me up a wall. And she's convinced she's 100% correct. Nothing anyone says can make her see that she might possibly be using the wrong word.

  7. What's fun for me is that my kids assume that speaking Spanish and once reading them the subtitles to a Japanese cartoon (Ponyo) means I must speak (and can interpret) all the languages of the world. "Mommy! What did Kai Lan say?" "I don't speak Chinese, honey." "No, Mommy, what did she SAY?"

  8. Laughing hysterically, as I listen to my daughter in the other room watching Dora and "answering" her questions out loud in "Spamich" (my new favorite word!). Yes, mommy uses Dora so she can drink her coffee (dangerous while reading RFML though, I've learned) and FB. ;-) I was waiting for a Fancy Nancy reference, when the French talk came up. ;-)

  9. My trio had daycare with a Jamaican teacher who taught them in English and Spanish. And their grandparents/uncles/aunts speak Creole and French. Lose count yet? Yep, my 2.5 year olds can mangle four languages. But they mangle them with a delightful island lilt.

  10. I'm going to have to call Beyonce and inform her as to the derivation of her name.

  11. I love it when Big Time is so sure of his rightness and my wrongness...even when he's making s*#t up! Go Hawk and Thumbelina, but remember your mommy speaks Awesome and no child alive can do that!

  12. Everywhere we went the other day, Thomas (9) was telling Ben (2) "Say glassy-ass. SAY GLASSY-ASS!!!" People would whip their heads around and look at him in shock and then smirk as I hissed "It's 'gracias,'" THOMAS!!!" "That's what I said, GLASSY-ASS!"

  13. I always thought spamich was something you ate!?! I have been schooled.

  14. My 4 year old son overheard us comparing our 20 month old's first words to 'sounding like Chinese', now he introduces his sister to everyone and says: "She's hard to understand because she can only talk in Chinese".

  15. Oh and in case Hawk hasn't learned this one yet....the Spamich word for "pee" is "inguado". This coming from the Spamich-to-English dictionary of my 3 year old.

    And if I say a word he doesn't know or count higher than he can, I get screamed at to "SPEAK ENGLISH MOM!!!!"

  16. A neighbor girl listened to my dau who was about 1.5 at the time. Baby babbles. The neighbor kept saying, "Slow down. What did you say? Say it again." After a few failed attempts, she exclaimed, "Kenzy, you're speaking Spanish!"

  17. My son announced rather loudly at a Mexican Restaurant that he did not like Mexicans, he meant Mexican food. We had to leave.

  18. Thank you so much for this post, it totally gave me a giggle...

  19. OMG this post just killed me with the hilarity.




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