PARENTS

Achtung Baby Or You Eat What?

10/08/2010 16:22 | Updated 22 May 2015

You get a pretty good idea of the kind of day to expect when your daughter stomps out of kindergarten, big grin, mucky face and proudly announces, "Mummy I have a rock in my nose!"

What?

Now I think I know my daughter fairly well and she does have Oscar winning theatrical tendencies, but should one take the risk when it comes to mineral masses in nasal orifices? Probably not. Those given the responsibility of keeping her alive when I am not around appeared clueless and an admittedly perfunctory glance up the snuffer provided me with no visual evidence. Finje seemed quite indifferent so off we went home.

No further mention of foreign bodies were forthcoming, which should have been comforting but somehow I couldn't get it off my mind. By supper time, a potential Mumfail of gargantuan proportions looming over me, I simply had to say something. Feigning as much disinterest as possible, not wishing to encourage her usual Meryl Streep-esque performance, I asked what exactly she had meant by "a rock". It turned out that they had been discussing rock salt, a sample of which had found its way up Finje's schnozzer. Hardly life threatening then, but it can't have been very pleasant either.Either way it was another example of how a bilingual upbringing can cause mix-ups. I'm guessing English speaking teachers would have made the connection between chatting about rock salt and a kid's claim of having half a quarry stuck up its nostril. Of course the German word Steinsalz doesn't much lend itself to misinterpretation. Nonetheless, yet again, for fear of boring you the point is of course that Finje continues to translate. That pleases me.

One rather lamentable issue when your German speaking child understands English perfectly but can't/won't speak it in intelligable sentences, comes when she "speaks" to her English relatives or friends on the phone. The German word for sweet corn is, rather unfortunately "Mais" pronounced "mice".

You are ahead of me I'm guessing here.

"Oh ja,we had Würstchen (sausages) mit Kartoffeln (potatoes) und Mais on the BBQ for dinner!" Barbequed mice! I was so tempted to let her go on after the initial stunned response down the phone line. She could have explained that we usually boil the Mais and eat it with butter but enough was enough and I stepped in before my friend hung up in order to Google the German RSPCA.

Never a dull moment.

Suggest a correction