Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Lost in Translation 2.0

We've already indirectly established that I speak English to the piccolini and Fritz speaks German. And whether or not Fritz is eccentric or just German is yet to be determined. Well, this morning Fritz put Mattias in the Käfig (cage) at breakfast - and this time he was not talking about a crib. Instead, he was talking about the highchair. I smiled my Mona Lisa smile.

It's 15°F in Denver. And today Fritz took our (only) car to work. That means I'm pretty much stranded inside all day with the piccolini. Some better moms than me would take their piccolini sledding, but I just can't bring myself to do it.  Some other better moms would not use negative words like "stranded" to describe their situation. I decided to rally the piccolini for a game of urban planning, designing, and critiquing disguised as "playing with trains."

Noah's got the whole train-track-thing (finally) figured out (somewhat). That means his tracks both fit together and go somewhere; not that they make loops yet.  The looping is my responsible.  (That's where the critiquing comes in.)  Mattias?  Well, he mostly chews on the trains.  That's okay, everyone.  Until age 5, piccolini have more developed nerves in their mouths than in their fingertips.  And our trains are clean.  Especially in the planning and designing stage.

The game started to head downhill when Mattias decided to taste some train tracks. And Noah was pretty upset. In fact, Noah, who isn't dealing so well with Mattias exploring his things, started yelling (in English):

"Hey!  Hey!  Mattias! Are you spinning? Are you spinning!?  I think you're spinning!!!"

Um.  "Are you spinning?" That would be a literal translation of "Spinnst du?" Are you crazy?  in German. You might have heard it in the subtitled version of Run, Lola, Run.

I didn't just smile my Mona Lisa smile, I laughed and immediately emailed Fritz to tell him about this funny incident.  And then I had four thoughts:

First, where did he learn that?  Can't be the English-speaking preschool.  Must be Fritz.  In his defense, I think he uses exclamations like "Are you crazy?" right before Noah sticks a fork in the power outlet.

The second thought was me congratulating myself. Oh, Ann, you're such a marvelous mother. Because clearly, Noah didn't have the words to say "Are you crazy?" or some similar sentiment to Mattias in English. Instead, he had to translate (literally) from German. Oh, Ann, you must talk to your piccolini so nicely, ALL THE TIME, you're such a great, patient, loving mother! Hahaha. You know, I'll take all the kudos I can on this motherhood thing, even if it is a little, tiny, itty bit at Fritz's expense.

The third thought was more like a vision.  It was Noah, in his English-speaking preschool asking his classmates if they were spinning.  That's a little amusing, and a little worrying.  Hmmm. Maybe the other kids will decide my son is a trendsetter?  Maybe telling people they are spinning will be the next trend??  I'm an optimist (sometimes).

The fourth thought was that Noah is translating stuff on his own. So the whole Käfig (cage) thing?  Doesn't matter if I translate or not.  And it's going to come out somehow, someway, sometime.  And I have no control over it.  No control.

1 comment:

Swistle said...

I have many favorite parts:

1. The whole idea of saying "Are you SPINNING?" the next time it applies.

2. "Some other better moms would not use negative words like 'stranded' to describe their situation."

3. "You might have heard it in the subtitled version of Run, Lola, Run."

4. "In his defense, I think he uses exclamations like 'Are you crazy?' right before Noah sticks a fork in the power outlet."

5. "Oh, Ann, you're such a marvelous mother. Because clearly, Noah didn't have the words to say 'Are you crazy?' or some similar sentiment to Mattias in English. Instead, he had to translate (literally) from German."

6. "Maybe telling people they are spinning will be the next trend??"

7. The way "Ann Wyse" is just ONCE in the header, among all the "anyways".