I don’t speak your language
I share this with fear and trepidation but, here goes…..we don’t speak baby-talk to our children. (Whew! I did it.) When our oldest was little, my mom used to refer to herself as the maternal grandmother, since I didn’t go for “gammaw” (We did end up settling on Grammy, btw. I’m not a total neanderthal.) 🙂
Soooo, when we got together with a friend of ours and their son, who was 6 mo older than our 4 yr old daughter, whipped off with a mouthful of baby-speak, our adorable, curly blond headed daughter, thrust her hands onto her hips in indignation and said, “Bryce, I don’t speak your language.” I understand this. I feel the same way every time we have a family gathering.
It’s not that they don’t love us. It’s not that they aren’t glad we’re there. We just don’t speak the same language. Yesterday was the perfect example. My dear, dear sisters in law planned a lovely meal and a delightful day (even if there was no snow on the ground nor any fire in the fireplace) and they were so very generous to our children.
However, it was truly amusing to see my one sister in law offer to read a book to our 7 yr old. Now, please understand, our 7 yr old is a bit….precocious. (Think Eloise) She started reading on her own one afternoon and by the next day was reading at nearly 2nd grade levels. Her idea of a fun read is Shakespeare, or her latest kick, Edgar Allen Poe poems or her very own copy of Pride and Prejudice. Therefore the book – the book of silly “learning songs” intended for a reader 3 – 5 yrs of age – was a bit of an ignominy to her well-honed reading skills. Imagine the indignation when her aunt leaned over and said, “Honey, would you like Aunt S to read that to you? I can help you with the words.” (At this point, I was praying for a language barrier – out of fear of what our little Eloise might say.) By God’s grace, all she responded with was, “Thank you, no, Marzie and I will just read them to one another.”
I was so grateful for her gentle answer, as I’m not certain that her other aunt had ever recovered from asking her, then 2 yr old sister, what she was doing in school. To which my daughter replied, “I’m studying artists.” “Oh you are?” asked her public school teacher aunt. “Yes,” replied my very verbal 2 yr old, “and I love Renoir. I especially love the “Girl with a Watering Can.” She has a beautiful dress, don’t you think so, Aunt S?” “Uh, well, I guess I uh, never thought about it.”
The creme de la creme, however, was when someone went to tell a Polack joke. My children were clueless. Watching my in-laws struggle to explain what they meant and hear the children’s responses – “You mean just because someone is from a Polish family they call them names?” or “Why do you think Polish people aren’t smart?” We finally provided a way for them to get the joke that didn’t involve ethnic slams. It still wasn’t funny to them, but it wasn’t because they didn’t understand it. (Keep in mind, 3 of my kiddos are teens or pre-teens. Isn’t God good?!!!)
I must say, there are times I’m incredibly grateful for the foreign tongue we speak, can you equate?
(Tomorrow, I’m going to share a bit more about speaking a different language.)