Monday, December 12, 2005
Molli Malou's vocabulary in both languages is expanding faster than we can keep up with it (it took a few usages before we realized that "peez," for example, was her rendition of the Danish verb at spise , to eat; the fact that you never know what language she's going for doesn't help).
The pedagogs at her vuggestue say she's become an absolute parrot, repeating almost everything she hears. We're noticing that at home, too, of course, and we're trying to take appropriate corrective action in the deployment of incendiaries.
A week or so ago we were talking about this very subject over dinner, in fact, when Molli suddenly knocked her milk cup over and it splashed all over me. I unleashed the f-bomb instinctively. I more or less roared it.
Molli didn't miss a beat. "Buck!" she roared right back at me, grinning enormously. We lucked out: she hasn't mastered the "fff" sound yet.
Two nights ago, however, she didn't have to take a cue from me when she spilled yet another glass of milk. She just looked down at the spill, then up at Trine and me, and coolly uttered "Shit."
I assumed I'd heard wrong. I glanced over at Trine to see if she too had heard wrong and was going to blame me for what we'd apparently both misheard. I couldn't make eye contact with her, however, because she was still staring down at her own jaw, which had dropped down to and through the floor. I took that as a sign that she'd misheard it the same as I had.
"She didn't really mean it," I said.
"No," Trine agreed.
We decided that if the word came out of our precious 17-month-old daughter's mouth again while we were in the states (we leave very soon) we'd say it just sounds like shit, but is actually a messed up version of some Danish word. Then we tried to think of a word that would be used in most situations where people say shit. We eventually realized it was pointless, since she'd probably only be swearing around people who know her father, and none of them are going to be surprised that this 22-pound bundle of blue-eyed innocence should talk like an angry, drunken sailor with Tourette's. (I know, I know, it's wrong to make any motherfucking jokes about a cocksucking illness like Tourette's.)
But that's just one kind of language problem: words she says right. The other problem is words she says wrong. (Grammarians back off, I'm in a hurry.) The Danish word for elves, which are everywhere at this time of year, is nisser. Molli skips right over the s's and says what sounds exactly like the pronunciation of neger, which is Danish for "negro." So you're walking through Frederiksberg Centret and suddenly she cranes around in her pram and points excitedly to a shop display and starts shouting, "negro! negro!" Apparently it's a source of great hilarity to the pedagogs at Molli's vuggestue. (Schoolmarms back off, she's obviously not a racist and it'd be just as goddam funny if she were saying caucasian!)
We're going to be in the states for three weeks starting right about... now. Sorry I've been so busy, sorry the Moron's site still hasn't been resolved (it will be, I'm going to keep it another year), and in case I don't blog from the states... glædelig jul og godt nytår!
Ah, screw it, I'm going home: Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!