The “Sweets Talk” and Other Funky Conversations

The “Sweets Talk” is a conversation I have with my kid a few times a week, in which I explain to him that just because something tastes good, it does not also mean that it is good for you. And sweets are the perfect example: they taste great, but are really bad for you. I do try to say that they are not so good, rather than bad, to avoid making them even more appealing. The conclusion (on my side) is always the same: we should not eat too many of them and not too often.

The talk can get really funky at times because I speak Romanian to him and he speaks Dutch to me. For instance, a couple of weeks ago, when he asked me if he could have a candy out of his big Sint Maarten bounty (sort of a Dutch Halloween), I said no and added that he can’t have candies every day (nu poți să mănânci bomboane în fiecare zi). To which he replied “alleen maar eentje!” (but just one!) I repeated my argument, he repeated his reply. I had to stop what I was doing to think of how to explain this in Romanian so that the Dutch translation would not leave room for interpretation. Indeed, he only wanted one, not several as implied by bomboane…

An unrelated example of a funky conversation: we were cycling in our town and we got close to the lake. He said that it was the sea; I told him it wasn’t the sea, but a lake. (Nu e mare, e un lac.) To which he responds “Het is wel groot!” (It is big!) Now to understand this, you need to know the following: mare, in Romanian, means sea, but also big. So what I said next “E mare, dar nu e marea” (it is big, but it is not the sea), I had to say several times. And to make it clear to him, I had to break my no Dutch to the kids rule.

Another time, I told him that once a month the (air strike) alarm is tested (o dată pe lună testează alarma). I didn’t actually tell him what sort of alarm that was, because I thought that would open a can of worms. How do you explain air strikes to toddlers, and make sure they don’t feel it’s an imminent threat? Anyway, the following month he told me that earlier that day they had tested the alarm on the moon. You know where I am going with this: lună is both moon and month.

There’s even cuter confusions that he makes sometimes. Once, my husband told him that I was “mama van de eeuw” (mom of the century – sweet, right?) and my kid completely disagreed. That wasn’t so sweet, but a while later he actually explained why he had disagreed (well, he unknowingly explained it). He said I was “mama van de schoon” (mom of the clean), as opposed to “eew!”, meaning something disgusting. Now how sweet is that?

Don’t get me wrong, I love how he translates in his little head, especially because it happens automatically, he doesn’t even think about it. But it does make for some awkward conversations at times, and I’m not 100% sure that the confusions are cleared every time. I may hear about this later…

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