Passing the Bilingual Blame, Or: That’s Not My Poop!

by Corey · 0 comments

By Corey Heller

I am exercising in my husband’s office (the home of my beloved elliptical trainer) while my son Patrick bounces endlessly below me on a mattress left over from a recent family visit. A box of my husband’s Physics papers falls from the mattress to the floor. Oooops!

My son looks at it and beelines it for the office door (figuring I’m in my blissful state of elliptical trainer heaven and won’t notice).

“Uh, Patrick,” I say through exhausted puffs. “Can you please pick up that box of papers and put it back on the mattress.”

Patrick takes a long look at me. He grimaces. He lets out an audible sigh of disapproval and with his back turned to me, he states in no uncertain tones (and in English no less): “Papa should put that box back, it’s full of his crap.”

Crap!? Where in the world did that word come from, I ask myself!

So I give Patrick an eyebrow-raised look and say, in German, of course, “Did you know that the word crap actually means poop?”

“What!?” he yells out. “Ewwww. It does not mean that!”

“Oh yes it does, it certainly does,” I give a satisfied smile.

He takes off down the hall yelling, “Yucky, yucky.”

I retell my husband the story and he lets out a hearty chuckle. We discuss the situation and agree that Patrick most certainly learned the word in daycare. We both agree that he learns all of his English in daycare.

A few days later, while in a meeting at work with my Software Quality Assurance group, I retell the story of what Patrick said. I include the part about how I told Patrick that crap means poop and what his reaction was. We all laugh – ah children, they are so darn funny!

I also explain that I have no idea where he learned the word crap.  Couldn’t have been from my husband or me, I tell them.

“It is an English word and he said it in an English sentence so he must have picked it up at daycare.” We all nod and agree that school and daycare are to blame for our children’s rampant profanity absorption (albeit, crap isn’t really a profane word but what the heck, it is nice to have someone to blame for our children’s misbehavior).

Half way through the meeting we start talking about our office’s internal wiki pages where we post all of our group’s activities. We discuss how at times we get a little overboard with our pages and need to be careful. We post so much information that the pages become cumbersome and useless.

Without even noticing, I say, “Yes, we just don’t realize it and start putting all kinds of crap on our pages.”

Knowing smiles start to spread across the faces of my coworkers. It takes a few minutes before it dawns on me: Oh my gosh, I said it! I said crap!  My son learned the word from me, not the daycare lady!

As this realization hits me and I start to laugh, one of my witty coworkers says: “So, I guess what you are saying is that we should be careful not to put so much poop onto our wiki pages?”  We all roar with laughter.

Oh poop, they got me!

Corey Heller is the founder of Multilingual Living and the Editor-In-Chief/Publisher of Multilingual Living Magazine. Multilingual Living is the place where she shares her knowledge about raising multilingual and multicultural children. Corey, an American, and her German husband live in Seattle where they raise and homeschool their three children, ages 14, 12 and 10, in German and English.

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