Monday, November 5, 2007

Foreign Language

My daughter is bilingual. I'm not sure what her second language is, but it's quite lovely. She's two, so everything she has to say is imbued with great importance. Generally, she speaks quite well. There are times, however....

She's on an "Old McDonald" kick right now. Every book she has that contains pictures of animals is miraculously transformed into an "Old McDonald" tale. He is one busy and diversified farmer, let me tell you. He has the usual sheep, cows, pigs and horses on his farm, along with snakes, bees, hippos, rhinos, zebras, lions, tigers...and what the heck sound does a giraffe make, anyway? As far as I'm concerned, a lot of Old McDonald's menagerie grunt and snort. Works for me; works for her.

Tonight she wanted to read "
Time for Bed" by Mem Fox. I like that book. It's nice for bedtime. Alas, since she asked for "Old McDonald" when she picked it out, that's what I started to sing. We got hung up on the first page, though - the mouse part. Here's the conversation, more or less:

Me: "Old McDonald had a farm..."

Her: "Onna mousey!"
Me: "Eeyieeyi...."
Her: "Onna murble lagella buna gallalla mousey erbollum."
Me: Pause. "And on his farm...."
Her: "I wanna gerbon lallo murble mallow mousey."
Me: Longer pause. "Ooh! You want it this way? 'It's time to sleep, little mouse, little mouse. Darkness is falling all over the house.'"

She snuggles against me, milk in one hand, thumb in mouth, blankie over us. I'm not sure what exactly she was saying ("No, Mommy" probably would have been as effective), but eventually the message gets through my thick time-change fog. Have I mentioned how I loathe the time change?

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