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Translating Toddlerese

You know how... when you have a conversation with someone else's toddler, the kid mumbles indistinguishable sounds while the parent hovers nearby and translates?

At first I wasn’t doing this for Ella. Mainly because she’s incredibly articulate and speaks in discernible sentences.

But then I realized, IT ONLY SOUNDS THAT WAY TO ME.

It took me a moment to notice that people were kind of staring at her in silence after she said something. Then it hit me - I’m supposed to be translating!

So I’ve been getting better at that, although it is just one of the many awkward new things you have to do as a parent. Do I talk in an over exaggerated, baby voice? Do I communicate the information to the intended audience or do I repeat it back to her loudly as a sort of passive way to let the listener know what the heck she was saying to begin with?

Ah, parenting… the ultimate confusion.

Anyway, the other night, Ella ran into the room where I was sitting and rapidly garbled some message to me that was completely indiscernible. What on earth?

Billy soon followed her into the room and in an over exaggerated voice repeated, “Si, a paso de conejo." I would later learn that this was part of a song from the 80's that involved a breakdancing bunny singing about brushing one's teeth. (What?)

Oh my goodness. She was speaking to me in Spanish!

It was both my greatest dream and worst fear all tangled together as one. I am so excited to hear her joyously repeating Spanish. And I'm trying not to overreact at the fact that I am like an outsider who cannot understand her and Billy has to translate for me.

Oh, and interested in the dancing bunny? Enjoy!



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A Life with Subtitles. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.