Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Trouble With Tongues

With thanks to Rachel, who reminded me that this insane little episode in our lives would make a great blog post.

So you know how preschoolers are generally an easygoing, laid back crowd? With their "Sure, Mom, no problem. Whatever makes it easier for you" attitude?

Some things you may hear from the 3 or 4-year-old set:

"Oh we are out of my favorite cereal? No worries. I'll eat something else."
"I'll wear that. Of course."
"He can go first this time."
"You're right. It IS too dark and too cold to go to the park now. Perhaps another time?"
"Thank you."
"You're right I DO have to pee."
"I understand. I can't have that toy right now/eat cake for dinner/fly to America tonight/will a persimmon to appear in the fridge, using the formidable powers of my mind."
"Here - have some time with my toy. Sharing is awesome."
"Let me give you some privacy in there. I can wait."

Or, as we used to say back in the '90s: NOT!

But as crazy as your preschooler is, your bilingual preschooler is EVEN crazier! And I'm not talking about mangled sentences like, "Ani rotzeh show you mashehu cool." Or confusing "rhymes" with "translations." (No, "blue" and "kachol" do NOT rhyme.)

So last night, we had hot dogs for dinner. Nadav excitedly ran to the table when I announced "hot dogs are ready!" but then glanced disgustedly down at this plate. He was not, he announced, going to eat this plebian "naknikiah." He was promised HOT DOGS. I tried, in many various forms, to explain that a "naknikiah" is a "hot dog" in Hebrew. They mean THE SAME. They are THE SAME THING. No, he insisted. Mommy is holding out on delectable hot dogs -- how fun do they sound???? It is probably the most delicious thing ever! -- and trying to appease me with this sad, limp little "naknikiah."

Well, he did the only reasonable thing left to do: Ate the hot dog, realized how much he loved it and sent his compliments to the chef.

No, fool! As if! Are you even paying attention? He OF COURSE threw himself down on the floor with such force I was afraid there was going to be a Nadav-shaped hole in our floor and wailed. WAILED I tell you. Tears, streaming. The kind we save for "Mommy and Daddy are going out for a little here is an unsuspecting teenager to take care of you" or someone washing netilat yadayim before him. I offered him different dinner options (cereal, natch)  but he was not to be swayed. He was going to have HOT DOGS or die trying.

Finally, Ariella was able to calm him, using the age-old trick of offering him something completely random and irrelevant ("Do you want to rest in Ariella's bed?"). This shocked him, mid-wail, effectively taking the "outing" of his "shouting," leaving us only with the "sh."

He then agreed to eat cereal for dinner.

I was never more grateful than I was at that moment that "cornflakes," in Hebrew, is "cornflakes."


Rachel said...

See? I told you this would meoood matzchik?

Mariah said...

The time my son couldn't translate a word for me because, "I've never done that in English, I've only ever done that in Hebrew". He was 16.

Eliana said...

Epiphany: I finally realize what Ariella means when she says things that sound nothing alike are rhymes. You are right, tree and etz do not rhyme. Thank you Gila!

Eliana said...

Can't edit my comment but that would be my daughter, Ariella and not yours who obviously is well beyond that.

SaraK said...

I was never more grateful than I was at that moment that "cornflakes," in Hebrew, is "cornflakes."

Totally awesome.

JerusalemStoned said...

The first time this happened to me I burst into tears, sure that the cultural divide that had suddenly formed between us meant that we would never quite understand each other. Oh, and I was pregnant. And really was also sad about the divide between me and the chocolate that I needed but was in the store and not here with me. And then I realized that this was, in fact, hilarious. After my husband came home. With chocolate.