Up until last year, it never occurred to me I’d have children with different accents to mine. My husband and I are Australian, our children are Australian, we lived in Australia. Easy.
But now we are living in the UK, and our children are sounding quite different to us. It’s a curious thing. Our son in particular, being four and in nursery, now sounds English. For example, he now pronounces the letter “t” properly, so that he asks for “water” when everyone knows it’s actually meant to be “war-dah.” Likewise, “butter” is no longer “buddah” and “better” is not “beddah.”
My sister gave our daughter a beautiful counting book full of Australian animals. Going through it with my son was a real eye-opener for me, as it’s becoming obvious this little boy no longer lives in Sydney.
Picture 1: a kangaroo
I asked him what it was. Thankfully, he answered “kangaroo.” Phew. He would have got extra points for just saying “roo” but we’re in a different country, and he’s a city child, so that’s fine.
Picture 2: wombats
“What are they?” I asked him.
“Bars.” For that is how he now says “bears.” When I told him they were wombats, he had no idea what I was talking about.
Picture 3: possums
Dame Edna would be appalled.
Pictures 3 / 4: kookaburras / cockatoos
“Bards.” This is his new way of saying “birds.”
So I explained these are kookaburras and cockatoos – birds he saw every day in our Sydney garden. I was met with a blank look. There was nothing for it. I had to make the noise of a kookaburra to jog his memory. If you are unfamiliar with a kookaburra’s laugh, it goes something like this: “Kookookookakaka kookookokakakaaaaaaaa!!” Loudly.
I must make a convincing kookaburra because he remembered. Success! Although he was completely unconvinced about the cockatoos – birds he once used to shoo from our fruit trees.
Picture 5: platypus**
Admittedly, the platypus is this book look like long, dark turds. So he would have been forgiven for getting this one wrong. He thought they were moles, which wasn’t a bad guess really.
**I’m sorry I can’t buy into the “plural of platypus is platypi.” It’s just not.
Picture 6: koalas
The koalas in this picture are holding miniature tree-trunks. Pointing to the animals, I asked my son what these were. “Chimneys!”
When we first came to London, I had to explain what chimneys were – they’re everywhere. And now he doesn’t see the koalas for the so-called chimneys. Oh the shame!
A little note
My thoughts are with all those affected by flooding in eastern Australia. The news in Toowoomba was horrible today.
Separate to the flooding, my heart goes out to Lori from Random Ramblings of a SAHM who tragically lost her husband, Tony. She is reading all messages of support on her site.
So today, I’m extra grateful for my family’s health and for the fact that I am so damn lucky.