Lost in Translation

This evening, Klara brought me her stuffed puppy and asked me to clip a hair bow to his ear. “Thanks!” she said. “He looks super cute. His name is Gratula Puppy!”

At first, I was just thrilled she’d given him an actual name. Most of her toys have names like “Bunny” or “Klara’s Dolly” or, for the doll whose eyes close when you lay her down, “Sleepy Baby.” Gratula was at least a name…of some sort. I was sure she’d gotten it from TV, mostly because she gets everything from TV. Curious, I asked, ‘Is Gratula from a TV show?”

“Uh huh.”

“What show is Gratula from?”

“You know. The TV. Gratula. From the show.”

I started racking my brain the way parents always do when their child is saying something they can’t quite make out but which they’re sure will make perfect sense if they just think about it from a 3-year-old point of view. When I was pregnant with Joanna and had to go to the hospital for non-stress tests twice a week, Eric would stay home with Klara in the evening. I always got at least one text asking me to interpret what she was asking for by Eric’s phonetic spelling. “Nati” was Make Way for Noddy, some strange British animated show about some kind of toy elf or something – my kid likes weird stuff. Oya? Olaf – Frozen, of course.  And my personal favorite:

Eric: She keeps asking for something…it sounds like Teamazoomi?

Me: Team Umizoomi. It’s on Nick Jr.

Eric: Oh. She was actually saying that pretty well, then.

Sometimes even when we can understand her, we still struggle to help. I’m starting a campaign to get YouTube to institute a “Mom Search” feature where you can type in things like, “It’s the one with Donald Duck on a crane and Honky and he’s not gray he has a yellow beard” and it takes you to exactly what your child thinks they are describing, which in this case was a cartoon featuring Donald Duck on a conveyor belt and also a donkey. (Don’t say you’re not impressed I figured that one out. Moms can find anything.) It also took me several minutes of futilely showing her videos of the Minions from Despicable Me to realize that what she was actually asking for was The Simpsons. Some of my viewing habits have rubbed off on her, and I, for one, couldn’t be prouder. It’s not inappropriate if they don’t understand it yet, right?

Which brings me back to Gratula Puppy, who was now standing in front of her plastic Anna and Elsa dolls, turning from one to the other and wringing his puppy paws in angst. I said it out loud a few times, trying to sound like a three-year-old. Gratula. Gratula.

“Wait…Klara…are you saying BACHELOR Puppy???”

“Uh huh! Bachelor! Like on the TV!”

Maybe we could both use a little less screen time.

 

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