Friday, August 15, 2008

Overheard .... or Lost in Traduction

Fabien speaks to Sophie in French, although sometimes he can't resist practicing his Chinese with her and she corrects him - though the funniest is when she corrects his French too !!
- Regard Sophie - c'est quoi ca? c'est un ver de terre
(translation: look Sophie - what's that? It's an earthworm)
- Non Papa, pas un ver de terre.... il s'appelle "Earthworm".
(translation: No Papa, it's called "earthworm")

She looks at him very seriously, and says "Earthworm" very slowly as if to make sure he understood. At this point Fabien and I are rolling around the ground laughing. When we come up for air, I try to tell her:
- Darling, Papa calls this un ver de terre, and Mama calls this an earthworm. But it means the same thing, and Sophie can call this both an earthworm and un ver de terre.
- No Mama. This is Earthworm.
- But why Sophie?
(switching to snappy and frustrated chinese to better express herself) He is called "Earthworm" (the last word reverts back to English).
You mean his name is Earthworm?
Yes. (with a "my parents are so dumb my eyeballs roll" expression)

I don't know exactly what she will be like as an adolescent, but if this is anything like a preview, then we are most definitely in for a mad ride! Currently, all her furry animals in the house have fixed names (and distinct personalities). For example, we have tried to get her out of the habit of whining, but sometimes she waves her stuffed animal so that it is _the whiny Bear_ (and not Sophie) which is crying for attention... And so sometimes it is Mr Cat which has stuck playdough on the sofa (even when Sophie knows that is verboten) and it is the Baby Monkey which made crayon marks on the table - thank goodness for washable crayons.

In an adult, this would be possibly the basis of interesting psychiatric observation, but I am assured that in a 2 year old this is apparently normal behaviour - Sophie spends time talking very sincerely to various imaginary pals (not limited to her entire toybox full of plush animals but more esoteric interactions include the ongoing soap opera with the complex love affairs between the chair, table, cutlery etc...). Sometimes the line between imagination and reality is so fine that I wonder whether she believes in the fiction herself ! Calvin and Hobbes anyone?

I think/hope this will fade away when she spends even more time with "real" little children to be friends with.

So it's just as well that we got our 'welcome letter' from ivy academy regarding Sophie's first day of school on 1 September (by no small coincidence also my first day of maternity leave). We were given a list of things to leave in the school locker (a waterbottle, indoor shoes, family photos to put in front of her locker) , a list of phrases to familiarise our child with the concepts (e.g. "what is circle time?"), and an appointment for "orientation" with our child on 28 August, where we could meet the parents of Sophie's future classmates, and introduce Sophie to her teacher and so on. Oh yes, we also need photocopies of identity documents of the nanny and drivers, car-plate numbers, recent photos of all the people authorised to collect Sophie from school, and a signed stack of parental authorisation/disclaimer forms, a medical form stating any allergies, and an updated vaccination record.

Fabien is very amused - all this formality for 4 hours, 3 times per week "schooling" for a 26 month old child !


Fioleta said...

Just reading the paragraph about all the preparation you have to do before Sophie's first day makes my head spin. I hope she'll like the school (meet the right kids) and it will all be worth at the end.

Ex Night Queen said...

You know....I honestly wonder if I will have the energy to be a parent...sheesh! I have so much trouble looking after myself and getting my life in order that I can't see myself doing it for someone else!! I think being a parent is one of the selfless-est things one can be...

S* said...

I tell myself that this is ALL going to be worth it in the end when Sophie makes lots of little friends who eat organic food and read Hegel - just kidding...

It did make my head spin a bit when I started reading the "welcome letter" but I think that overall, there is a logic to all this.

So we are just hoping that Sophie likes this school. If she doesn't, it is not the end of the world, the school gives refunds and/or deferred entry if Sophie shows that she clearly dislikes it, rather than risk giving her a phobia!!

Sprog Mamma said...

i need to write a post similar to this... v does the same thing.