PARENTS

Achtung Baby Or My Baby Has Got WHAT?

13/02/2011 22:11 | Updated 22 May 2015

Achtung Baby or My baby has got what?I've lived in Germany for almost a decade. My German is pretty good but it's not perfect and it never will be. That's not so much negativity as realism. And it's backed up by Mark Twain, a man who knew his Frankfurters when it came to "The Awful German Language".

"I Never knew before what eternity was made for. It is to give some of us a chance to learn German."

Finje, will not have that problem. But growing up bilingually she may occasionally get scuppered by the joker in the pack that is The False Friend. Those German words which aren't what they seem. They have caught me out on a number of occasions and no doubt they will continue to do so.

It's some consolation that I'm not alone. Once, at the hair-dressers, and I swear this is a true story, my friend told a somewhat alarmed looking stylist that she preferred her vagina on the left side of her head. The similarities between Sheitel (parting) and Sheide meaning, well, you know, causing some awkwardness to say the least.

Never was the gaping hole in my knowledge of false friends so apparent as yesterday at kindergarten as the dreaded call came. Finje is sick, can you pick her up?.

The woman didn't sound panicky. In fact, she sounded perfectly calm, telling me there was no rush but she felt Finje would be better off at home as she was clearly experiencing some discomfort. At this point, I assumed Finje had actually been sick or had an upset stomach. Bouts of the old green apple splatter seem to go round on a monthly loop at kindergarten so I wasn't too concerned.

You can therefore imagine my horror when I turned up only to be informed that she had angina!

Speechless for a moment, I took in the irritatingly calm demeanor of the messenger I was resisting the urge to shoot. Would she be smiling if her kid had a serious heart complaint. I think not. Angina? She is four years old. She doesn't even smoke.

As my panic rose to a point which was surely putting me in danger of joining my daughter in her cardiac nightmare, I heard Finje's voice breaking through the mist of hysteria,

"I've got a really really sore throat mama. Can I have some ice-cream please."

Note to self: Angina (German) = Sore throat (English)

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