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Funny Remarks from a Bilingual Kid

When Santa was little, did he get presents from a different Santa? Roy, now 5, wasn’t trying to be funny here, but ever since he could speak, he has been spouting a string of comical thoughts, intentional or not.

His curious question about Santa Claus (which left me tongue-tied) is among the nuggets I have recorded in a journal on Lulu and Roy, which includes: observations of their language development; observations of their personal traits and interests; and noteworthy incidents and experiences.

In Why Keeping a Journal on Your Kids is So Valuable, I discuss this idea in detail, and share some initial selections from my own journal. If you aren’t already keeping a journal on your kids, I highly recommend a peek at this page.

Today, then, I thought I’d share another round of excerpts from my journal, focusing this time on Roy and his amusing remarks.

“You’re a boo-boo!”

June 18, 2009 [Roy was 2 years and 3 months]
Roy was apparently inspired by the baseball game we went to last month as he now runs around regularly with a dirty baseball cap on his head, chirping, “I’m a baseball game.” Even when I try to correct him by saying “Player—I’m a baseball player,” he still says, “I’m a baseball game.”

August 18, 2009 [Roy was 2 years and 5 months]
In terms of his own language development, Roy seems to be following the same sort of trajectory as Lulu—at a faster clip, even. He’s becoming quite communicative and also expresses his displeasure in words if he doesn’t get his way. His favorite expression for such dissatisfaction is: “Daddy/Mommy, you’re a boo-boo!” (To him, “boo-boo” seems to be a kind of curse word.) He’s generally a very sweet boy, though, and quite even-tempered. These days, as he grows so quickly, I sometimes stop and try to hold the image of him, at 2, in my mind and heart. I know he’ll be much bigger in just a blink and he’s such a lovely little guy at this age.

May 6, 2010 [Roy was 3 years and 2 months]
The kids are wild about washing the car and are always pestering me to pull out the hose and bucket. (I doubt they’ll display the same sort of enthusiasm when they’re teenagers!) I had promised them we would wash the car last Sunday, though I was planning to do it a bit later in the morning, after I went to the coffee shop to do some writing. I was nearly ready to leave the house, in fact, at about 6:30, when Roy woke up, made a sleepy beeline for me, and said, “Daddy, I wanna wash the car.” As much as I wanted a few quiet hours to write, I just couldn’t dampen his adorable zeal by telling him to wait until later in the morning. As it is, I had to distract him until a more reasonable hour.

August 19, 2011 [Roy was 4 years and 5 months]
Roy has become too-eager to buy something every time we go out. He still accepts “no” with less resistance than Lulu used to mount, but his longing for new possessions is expressed strongly in other, more cerebral ways.

For example, last week he told me, after I declined to buy something for him at the Children’s Museum: “When you’re dead, I can get anything I want.” I had to laugh.

And today, after I explained to him that we already have a lot of toys and we can’t really get any new things until we give up some of the old things, he has been badgering me to give some of his stuff to other kids so we can buy some new stuff for him. Funny again.

His approach to this little dilemma highlights the fact that Lulu and Roy are, by nature, rather different in the way they respond to frustration: Though both react emotionally, Lulu is a bit high-strung. Her reactions tend to be more explosively emotional and she has more difficulty controlling and tempering her feelings. At the same time, Roy’s mind seems more strongly bent on seeking creative solutions to the problem, rather than wasting undue emotional energy on feeling frustrated.

Your children no doubt say memorable things, too. Wouldn’t it be great to share those cute comments with them when they’re older? Again, I would encourage you to keep a journal on your kids! (Even note what they say in both languages, if you can.)

In a similar vein, to touch your children in a deeply meaningful way, when they’re teens or young adults, I also recommend reading A Special Way to Impact Your Child Years from Now.

How about you? What amusing comments have your children come out with?

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Welcome to Bilingual Monkeys!

I’m Adam Beck, the founder of this blog and The Bilingual Zoo, a lively worldwide forum for parents raising bilingual or multilingual kids. I’m also the author of the popular books Maximize Your Child’s Bilingual Ability and Bilingual Success Stories Around the World. I’ve been an educator and writer in this field for 25 years as well as the parent of two bilingual children, now 19 and 16. I hope my work can help empower the success of your bilingual journey.

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