Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Language Barriers

After gymnastics today, I was told in no uncertain terms how not to speak to my 9-year-old's friends. As he and a classmate came out of class, I said hello to Frankie, 4th-grader style:

ME: "Hey, F-Man! What up?"


ME: "What? I'm just saying hi to Frankie."

JACOB: "You are NOT allowed to talk like you're cool."

ME: "Oh, well excuse me. Hi, Frankie. I'm Jacob's mom. How are you?"

FRANKIE: "You're Jacob's mom?"

ME: "Yep."

FRANKIE: "Jacob, that was rude."

Frankie, my man. He gets me. Regardless, Jacob went on to try to compensate for my lack-of-cool by explaining that I am a writer and editor. Frankie seemed duly impressed. Jacob smiled. But this was not over between us. Oooh, no.

Over dinner, I started throwing some French out at Jacob to illustrate that, just because I am forbidden from using tween-speak, I know other languages. And I'm not afraid to use them against him.

ME: "Bonjour, mon ami! Comment ca va?"

JACOB: "Huh?"

ME: "Oh, je suis tres bien! Merci beaucoup!"

JACOB: "What is that, Mom?"

ME: "It's French!"

JACOB (intrigued): "Really? What else can you say? Can you say the days of the week?"

ME (getting cocky): "Let's see. Lunes, Martes, Miercoles... uh, no, wait. I think that's Spanish..."


OK, so this is where I started getting confused. Granted, it's been about 30 years since I had any language lessons. And truth be told, since becoming a mom, my brain has turned to mush.

Also known as bouillie.

The point is, if my kids aren't going to let me speak their language, I'm not going to let them have the last word. If you can't dazzle 'em with tween-speak, baffle 'em with French. That's what I always say. Well, maybe not always. But at least since this afternoon.

The fact is, all too soon I'm going to be crying in a quad somewhere and bidding my babies au revoir. So I'm going to revel in this time of their lives for as long as I can, while they enjoy my company (even when I embarrass them) and are still willing to talk to me. Now if we could just settle on a language, we'd be all set.

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