Sunday, September 20

tables are turning

My children are far more fluent than I am in the language that the rest of the country speaks. It makes for a bizarre, tough ride... I think for all of us.

We went to see a movie last night. "The Proposal" dubbed in Italian as "Ricatto D'Amore." Looked like a funny film. It was and the kids were giggling. At times more than I was. I was definitely missing some finer details of the dialog. At one point, as Sandrea Bullock is climbing down a ladder, Ryan Reynolds feignly attempts to help her by putting his hand on her ass and she tells him to take it off. I got that much. But when she reaches the bottom she turns to him and says something which I'm sure is quite whitty but the details of which are completely lost to me. I turn to Punkone and ask him what she said. He looks back at me, with his smiling, angelic 8 year old face, and says "If you touch my butt again, I'll cut off your penis while you are sleeping."

Somehow the humor is lost when you hear your kid say it.

And this is one of the things I am going to tackle this year. I'm going back to Italian classes and I'm going to make great strides this year. I'm so tired of hearing the world around me through a thick curtain. I went to take a test to determine my placement in the class, kids in tow...

The instructor is speaking to me. Asking, I think, "how long have you lived here"... I answer confidently "two years"... but then falter... what if she is asking me, 'how long will I live here?'? So I decide I'll make sure and ask for clarification. Punkone pipes up, and starts to tell me but the instructor stops him. Smiling, "no, don't help Mamma... let her figure it out." They're getting quite a kick out of this. As I'm taking the test, Punkone is watching over my shoulder and despite himself I can hear him assessing my answers.

No big deal, right?


Shouldn't your mother be someone who has her act together? In this big crazy world, she's your go to person who knows just how to sort things out. Wouldn't it be a bit stressful to find out that she was even more confused than you are?

Guess all I can do is make sure I kick ass in other areas... clean house (ok, this one needs work), good food on the table, lots of fun free time together... and maybe stick to the G rated movies for awhile longer.


  1. I can't remember that line....seriously....

  2. LOL ! When they said 'child is the father of man' they perhaps had situations like this in their mind as well.

    Good luck on your language classes. I am sure you will pick it up very well. Esp if its about watching non PG rated movies as well !


  3. This could be a very frustrating situation. I'll bet the kids really get a kick out of it.
    Good luck with the classes. My daughter teaches ESL, and comes up with some great stories. I'll bet your instructor will too.

  4. I went through this in Istanbul. My six-year-old daughter had to correct my Turkish. "No, Mommy, she asked if you wanted bread today" after I answered the wrong question. But hey, children learn languages way faster than adults, as they are not afraid of making mistakes.

  5. Buongiorno.

    Did you see Matt Damon in his best Italian accent? Makes you want to learn the language.

  6. Was that in "The Informant"? It just came out here... and it won't be Matt Damon's voice because the movies are dubbed... I'll have to remember to get the DVD.

    Thanks for the encouragement. About the line in the movie... it may not even be in the English version since it's dubbed. She might have said something wittier and more subtle, but when they translate, sometimes a crude approximation is the best they can do.

    Time to go pick up my "maestri" from school...

  7. i see a perfect opportunity for punkone to "practice" his reading while he "helps you with your homework"

  8. I agree with Ruth. Kids acquire language in a different way then even high schoolers do. It is incredibly difficult to learn a language as an adult.

    I think it's great that your kids get to see you challenging yourself!

  9. Its crazy how much faster kids can learn the language and how they manage to use it with all the right inflections. Good luck with your Italian!


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