My daughter is learning to talk. It’s a pretty fabulous thing to realize how much she already understands and to hear her attempts to repeat our terms and phrases. I seem to be the only one who can interpret a lot of these sounds but as each day passes, there are more and more words that are clearly more than toddler gibberish. Earlier this week she pointed and said “tuck” as the Sainsbury’s delivery man drove past.
I grinned, “You’re right. ‘Truck.’” I paused and added “or Lorry” and winced. That did not sound right in an American accent.
I tried this out on my husband and his cousin. Yep, they agreed, (I believe the words were “yes, you do sound like an idiot”). We all agreed. I cannot be the one to teach her “lorry” or any other English phrases if I want her to actually pronounce them correctly. She does live here though so we’ve got some work to do, as she is also pretty good at putting things in the trash and knowing what a washcloth is for.
I hadn’t really given much thought to the differences. It’s not a totally foreign language and with so many television programs and songs popping back and forth across the ocean, surely knowing a couple words for things would come relatively naturally. I have been caught out on a few occasions though, so I’m learning to stay on my toes, ready for the random differences that can catch me off guard.
Several months ago I headed up to the local library for a bounce and rhyme session. I was looking forward to learning some new tunes, perhaps ones I didn’t learn as a child, as I quite enjoy singing with my daughter. After “The Little Green Frog” and a couple others I’d never heard of, the librarian announced, “Next one is If you’re Happy and You Know it.” She quickly ran through the few verses we’d sing. The last one was slightly different than the “shout hooray” verse I was used to, but the variation wasn’t that massive.
“If you’re happy and you know it shout ‘Weeee – ahhhh, Weee-ahhh!,’” I sang confidently.
“If you’re happy and you know it shout ‘wee-ahh, weee-ahh!”
“If you’re happy and you know it and you really want to show it, if you’re happy and you know it…”
The penny dropped.
The rest of the parents continued, and I silently mouthed along with the words
“…shout WE ARE!”
Thank goodness little miss was both two young and too distracted to point out the shiny red
color colour her mother’s face had
Things have gone relatively smoothly in the library since and the new songs have been brilliant. As for the variations on the familiar songs, I’d like to think it’s just given us lots of extra verses to some old
So what songs do you sing?
Do you do the Hokey Pokey or the Hokey Cokey?
Do you sing about the Itsy-Bitsy Spider or is it incy-wincy?
…and after the sun dries up the rain, does the ‘and’ come next or do you take a great big pause before it?
Do the wheels on the bus go all through town or all day long?
Once you get that sorted,
Does the driver say move on back or tickets please?
Do the kids get to boppity bop or does a spider go tickle instead?
Do the doors get to swing or does the bell ring?
When the Tea pot get steamed up, does it shout tip me over or tip me up?
As I look at my growing girl, I wonder if she’ll play
football. I have been trying to figure
out a way to end the ABC’s so there’s a rhyming version for ‘zed’ just as the
one I know for ‘zee.’ With toilet
training around the corner, I am working on an alternative for telling her to
put on her pants. I am too immature
to say knickers without smirking and trousers sounds too grown up for a
toddler. English pants and American pants is the best I’ve got so far.
It just so happens there’s a BBQ competition, complete with rockabilly and bluegrass, in Bristol this weekend. It’s the closest thing I’ve found to an American activity this close to the fourth of July. They might even show Wimbledon on the big screen. A nice balance for a family outing.
As always we’ll have the
diaper nappy bag, and
there’s sure to be an extra onsie vest and a sweater jumper
too. If it’s hot, I’ll pack her swimsuit
(swimming costume?!) Perhaps we’ll
even give her a popsicle (or will it be an ice lolly?) for a treat.
I’m just glad I’ve never owned a fanny pack….