PARENTS

Achtung Baby Or No Need To SHOUT!

17/12/2010 10:28 | Updated 22 May 2015

We are in the UK primarily to visit family and friends, spreading festive cheer everywhere we go, but also to stock up on those things I dearly miss in Germany. Namely Yorkshire Tea, Wensleydale cheese and Bisto Gravy Granules. This time last year we had hoped that Finje, given another 12 months of English would be now able to converse with my family and friends here. There has been some improvement. She can belt out a decent version of Rudolph Ze Red Nosed Reindeer and despite sounding like an extra from "Allo Allo" it's passable and apparently "cute". Also, "1,2,3,4,5, once I caught a fish alive.." has been getting a good airing. Not particularly seasonal but comprehensible and I take what I can get.

My husband decided after 24 hours that translating everything she says for people was not helping the situation and a bit of tough love was the order of the day. The new plan was to leave her babbling on in German until she clocked the blank looks and realised that in order to get any kind of response she would have to switch languages.

In fairness she doesn't do this in Lüneburg so I'm unsure as to why we expected a revelation in Lancashire. And we didn't get one. She simply turned into the German equivalent of a British tourist in Benidorm and began to yell at people s.l.o.w.l.y. The trouble with this technique, apart from it's pointlessness is it has the effect of reducing the recipient to fits of laughter.

Finje doesn't like that very much. One look at her face, crumpled in consternation and it's clear that she regards all those around her as fools and incompetents. She may have a point in some cases.

Still, she still has the capacity to stun when you're least expecting it. Finje loves to draw. During a family get together, finding herself all yelled-out, she gave up any more attempts at communication and took herself off with her drawing pad. It's not always immediately clear what she was thinking when trying to decipher her art work and on this occasion I had to ask.

Despite my attempts at a secular Festive Season, she informed me that the square bodied figure with ears like a rabbit and what I took to be a horse's tail turned out to be "God".

When I pointed out that nobody actually knows what God looks like, she took her opportunity to answer in perfect English.

"Well, they will in a minute!"

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