Thursday, May 20, 2010

English, please?

I never would have guessed that life as a SAHM would make me feel exactly the same as discussing chaos theory with a group of international colleagues. But sometimes it does.

When I was a student in England, my class was composed of students from all over the world. Greece, Norway, Japan, Chile, France, Russia, England, America. We were a diverse group. Most of my classmates spoke English as their second language. Frankly, I found that I didn't speak English, but American, which is decidedly NOT the same!

We all quickly came up against the same communications barrier. We could use cultural references to make a point. You couldn't refer to some TV show or use Wal-Mart as a model. Because some of your classmates may have no understanding of your reference or, in the case of a Wal-Mart reference, it might be a very different thing in their country than in yours.

Overcoming this hurdle required some additional thinking and some interpretation skills. Some days my brain hurt from trying to explain myself or understand my classmates' explanations.

We were all foreigners in a foreign land, so to speak. The same is true in my house these days.

I am forever trying to interpret three different versions of "English" as the boys are learning to talk. They might all want the same thing, but the word they use does not sound the same. And I'm doing my best to figure it out as fast as possible before everyone gets mad and starts yelling at me.

Alex wants a "bah," Isaac's saying "pa" and Sam is pointing and squealing. Turns out everyone wants a paci, which no one gets because it's not naptime or bedtime. Cue the yelling.

And then there's Amelia. Her English is perfectly clear. (Today she used the word "perseverance" in a sentence and then explained to me exactly what it meant.) But her references sometime elude me.

Like at bedtime. She asked me to tell her a "Pongo story." That's a story about the 101 Dalmatians show. I referred to Purdy as Pongo's wife. About three minutes later Amelia asked me if Pongo was a farmer. Since my story had nothing to do with the dogs visiting a farm, I was very confused.

I was racking my brain for farm references from the movie. Nothing. So I explained that Pongo and Purdy were married, so the girl is the wife and the boy is the husband. Amelia responded by asking again about Pongo being a farmer.

Then the light bulb went on in my head.

"Oh, do you mean 'the farmer takes a wife?'"

That was it!

I might be a long ways and quite a few years away from my days as a student in England, but Mama's still got it.

© Trippin' Mama 2010


CrazySimpleLife said...

Too cute!! I cannot imagine having triplets! I have twins(a total of 5 kids) and throwing another one in there would be crazy! Twins is hard enough!

I am your newest follower!


Christy AKA Trippin' Mama said...

Welcome, CrazySimpleLife! I'm so glad you're here. I look forward to getting to know you better.