Lost in Translation


Recently the wildfires that seem to be an annual occurrence in the hills and valleys around my childhood home once again reared their ugly head. I messaged my mom over chat.

TCStream: How close is the chemical fire to you guys?
GrammaJ: <is typing…> five minutes later
far it is in camarillobut we never know with the wind so strong it can mouve fast, 30%chances of rain on Sunday
TCStream: Hi dad
GrammaJ: <is typing…> nine minutes later
ciao bella , and haw did you know it was me? spelling?grammar? OR ACCENT?
TCStream: You’re typing on a computer – there is no accent. I can tell cuz mom types quickly and correctly

As so aptly demonstrated by the great truegee game of ’96, Papa is often teased for his hiccups with the English language. (And this is even after being married to a speech pathologist/educational brass for upwards of 35 years.)

It mirrors the developing communication skills of toddlers. Which is rather appropriate when you think about it:

Papa: n. A giant toddler with ability to proffer grownup approval for overly energetic ideas.

And sometimes things can get a little confusing.

During my parents visit for BirthdayPalooza 3, a toy suddenly deemed ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY for survival by one of the boys went missing. A family search commenced.

Me: Hey Dad, have you seen the matchbox car with Mickey on it?
Destroy: NO! That’s not Daddy. That Papa. Daddy in the other room.
Me: I stand corrected.

The following morning:
Search: There’s frog outside.
Jon: Fog?
Search: No daddy, frog.

So you’ve all been warned, there’s frogs out there, be careful. (Perhaps it’s the friend of Toad come to visit.)

I will admit, as much communication confusion is caused as the little dudes come into their own – including how to express their thoughts, there are a lot of the quirky miscommuniques I’ll miss.

Winter footwear decorated with superheroes or monsters. To be worn with an awesome beat-boxing attitude.

Sautéed green flower-headed vegetable. Fun and delicious! Unlike similar plant in cabbage family that even former presidents wouldn’t eat.

Pre-mashed mashed yellow/brown herbaceous food. Caution – eat only one bite before throwing fruit away.

Educational daycare location where young humans are fed sugar and avoid naps. Turns children into goblins once retrieved by parental units.

Heavy-equipment machinery crawler. Yellow. Made by Tonka.

Stylistic basketball goal with sand-filled base. Light enough to crash to ground should a toddler breathe on it.

Stuffed donkey. Commonly recognized as Eeyore from A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh series.

Only carpeted room in the house. Secured by baby gate. Limited options for total home destruction.

The opposite of where ever a child is. And where they NEED TO BE RIGHT NOW.

Left handed electric guitar. Adult-size instrument that Dad won’t let you play.

Ring-shaped pasta dinner. More closely resembling a belly-button than amphibian reproductive parts.

Caller and enforcer of rules at baseball games. But only when he’s the man in black – not wearing blue.

I’ve got nothing. Please enlighten me – muppets keep chanting it and laughing like they know something I don’t. (Which they probably do.)

But really, the only critical translation you need to understand when in the presence of toddlers is:

Mommy! Watch this!

Which is toddlerese for “I’m about to do something stupid. And I’m gonna need a witness.” (And possible medical attention.)



Filed under Miscellaneous, School

5 Responses to Lost in Translation

  1. Gramma J

    Haha! Let me translate Mungo/Mango for you: the fruit that is part of the match game on the “Monkey’s Preschool Lunchbox” game that is on my ipad. The monkey uses a different funny voice for that fruit than the others.

    Also, Papa has not taught them “ko-gart” yet? n. a small four-wheeled vehicle. Ko-garts come in all shapes and forms, from motorless models to high-powered racing machines

  2. Jon

    So why do they scream mungo when they are happy?

  3. Try this one from my daughter…. mock-in-o…
    That would be Pinocchio.

  4. bob

    So what do you call turtle-weenies? (I’m still trying to figure out what that one is supposed to be…)

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