Sunday 18 November 2012

Doo-Doo Talk

Raising bilingual children can really be a hoot. My kids (6yrs and almost 4yrs) have learned to naturally shift from one language to the other depending on the situation. However, there are times when a word or two gets carried over into the wrong language. One of those words is "doudou" used by French children when referring to their favorite stuffed animal, blanky, doll, etc. I believe it comes from the phrase "tout doux" which means, soft all over. Kids who have trouble pronouncing the T in "tout", end up saying something like "dou" which becomes "doudou." The word "doudou" on its own sounds soft and gentile when spoken in French. The problem is it's pronounced "doo-doo" and my son, whether he speaks in French or in English, always refers to his favorite toy rabbit as his "doo-doo." So, you can imagine some of the funny conversations we've had with this.  

Son:  "Mommy, I can't find my doo-doo."
Me: "Can't you sleep with another one?" (I know, I know, stupid question...)

Son: "I don't want you to clean my doo-doo!"
Me:  "I have to, it's way too dirty." (Heavy negotiations ensue...)

Son: "My doo-doo wants to eat at the table."
Me: "Fine, but if you play instead of eat, I'll have to put it away." (sure mom, whatever you say...)

But sometimes even I slip up:

"No, you can't take your doo-doo into the store, it has to stay in the car."

"Please don't make him cry, give him back his doo-doo."

"Oh, no. Looks like I'm going to have to sew up your doo-doo."

So the other day while driving my kids to school, I tried explaining why we needed to stop saying "doudou" when we speak English and instead use the term "stuffed animal." Of course they asked why, and the moment my kids found out that "doo-doo" is just another word for "poo-poo" in English, they laughed, and laughed so hard, even I was cracking up, and by the time we got to school my kids were saying stuff like:
      "You sleep with poo-poo!"

      "You play with your poo-poo!" 
I don't know why but at that age, anything having to do with poo or pee is the most hilarious thing with kids.  Anyway, we're still having fun with the word "doudou", though I wonder how long it's going to take before the word "stuffed animal" finally takes it's rightful position in my son's vocabulary...I have a feeling it may take a while, lol! 
The doudou. (:


  1. Love it - how fantastic that your kids will be bi-lingual.

  2. terribly hilarious conversation if we didn't know what doo-doo really was!

  3. Wreck It Ralph was full of poo humor and puns. I guess if it's in a kid's movie, it is a truth universally acknowledged that a child will find hours of amusement regarding doo doo.

  4. You could solve the problem by giving the toy a name. Just don't call it Willie.

    Moody Writing

  5. Sally: Thanks Sally. (:

    Tammy: I know, makes us chuckle. :D

    Michael: Haven't seen Wreck It Ralph, sounds like something my kids would love.

    Mood: I'd love to, trust me and I've asked several times in the past, but my son won't give it another name, Doudou has stuck. (;

  6. lol... wait til they get to know 'pooh', as in 'winnie the...', talk about confusion then ;)

    also, a big selling series of kids books is about 'walter, the farting dog'... have fun with those! :P

  7. What a refreshing post, Elise...even if it is about doudou. ;-)

  8. GREAT story! In Spanish there are a few things like that- off hand I can think of papa, which depending on where you place the accent means either dad or potato! The kids find that funny:) I wish my kids were learning Spanish with the ease yours are learning French :( Being in a mostly English environment has made using their Spanish unnecessary, and they're not nearly where we want them to be.

  9. Fun post to start off the day! Thanks. I feel better already (I'm getting over a cold).

  10. This is way too funny! My sib's and I grew up speaking English/Spanish and that made for some fun mix-ups, but nothing quite this funny :)

  11. This had me cracking up at work! :D

  12. So funny! And what pretty doudou that is! :-) Seriously, that is a beautiful stuffed animal. And it looks so clean! You must have won the fight to wash it.

  13. Lawolf: It's funny but I've already introduced Winnie the Pooh, and they don't bat an eye at that. I think it's because before it was just his however, I'm bound to get some silly questions about it! And the farting dog, sounds so funny, my kids would love something like that, I'll check it out. (:

    Linda: Funny how refreshing doudou's can be! :D

    Rose: Potato Dad! That's funny too. :D
    Depending on the situation it can be difficult to speak a different language at home. But for me, when I had my kids, I was hell bent on making sure they'd learn to speak English and I started from the day they were born. Everything in the house is English and I speak only English to them. And everything from music, movies, to bedtime stories are also English. However, I've learned to ease up on that rule because my daughter who is now 6 is at that age where she may want to reject English because it becomes a power thing. So once in a while I'll act like it's no big deal if the movie they watch is in French...even though inside it really bugs the crap out of me. (;

    Alex: I thought so too. Glad you liked it! :D

    Stephen: Well, I'm glad you're getting over your cold, I'm waiting to get the first one of the year, should hit me pretty soon. And glad you enjoyed the post.

    Meradeth: Spanish is a language I'd love my kids to pick up next, seeing how Spain is right next door to us. (:

    Cherie: :D Haha, I'm glad you liked it!

    Richard: Thank you Richard. (:

    Julie: Yes! I did win the last battle, but the war is not over I'm afraid... :D

  14. Hilarious! All my girls have been extremely attached to their doo-doos so I'll have to share this with them. :-)

  15. LOL!

    I can't imagine raising bilingual children... and I can't imagine speaking another language myself... my hubby speaks fluent Italian, which is cool--but it's so beyond me!

    1. Oh! And I forgot to say thanks for signing up for the Cheers, Cavanaugh BlogFest! ;-)

  16. I love this! Since I did a lot of studies on bilingual/bicultural children this one is a great example of the complications that can come up. Thanks for the chuckle this morning before I have go into the kitchen and meet the turkey and cranberries.

  17. HA! This has been a recurrent theme in my home lately, thanks to a certain 5 year old who finds the subject terribly amusing. :)

  18. Tia: This was fun to share, glad you liked it. (:

    Morgan: Glad you liked it! I wish I could speak Italian. *sigh* My background is actually half French half Italian, unfortunately I never learned Italian.

    Lee: I'm so glad you enjoyed the post because I really enjoyed sharing it with you all. Have fun with the turkey and cranberries! :D

    David: The worst is when they start cracking up about it, and then the corners of my mouth start to turn up and then I start laughing too!

  19. Hahahaha! Thanks for the laugh. I only wish our unilingual children had that problem. Bravo for you and your bilingual children.

  20. It's so cool your kids are bilingual. And French is a language I'd love to learn!
    Thanks for the laughs here! :D

  21. Jenn: Thanks Jenn, glad you got a laugh out of this, it sure made me chuckle! :D

    Jackie: Thanks Jackie! French is a beautiful language, but spelling and grammar are crazy!!

    Carrie: So glad you enjoyed it!

  22. Hi Elise .. I have a feeling those emotions will be around for many a year yet - I embarrassed my mother hugely in Basle in a very posh hotel ... where I got my brothers in hysterics for the whole evening with potty antics - poor Mum!!! Heaven knows what everyone thought - zee English ... and we were in the middle of this enormous dining room ...

    Cheers - fun age for your kids ... and for you - and good for a hefty smile and many memories of youthful hysteria ... Hilary

  23. I have bad news. When they get to middle school, it only gets worse. Throw in burps and farts and you'll have an idea of what you're in for. hahaha

    How about 'lovey'? Some kids call it their lovey. Or he could name his doo-doo. *snicker*

  24. That is so funny! Now I'm going to be talking about doo doo and poo poo when referring to my kids' stuffed animals!

  25. This is awesome. And SO cute. I love how funny little guys think poop and pee is. I'm sure this will be a running joke in your house for a good long time to come. haha

  26. No wonder you son wants his doudou all the time. It does look all soft and squishy. Yup, I'm thinking he won't graduate from the term doudou for a while.

  27. Hilary: Potty antics can be so funny, hard to control even in a room full of people. Must have been quite the scene with your poor mom turning a few shades of red, but it sure makes for fond memories, kinda like 'doudou.' (:

    Melissa: I guess I'm not out of the woods yet, lol! At least it may give me some material for post ideas! And I like the name 'lovey' a lot, I just need to sell the idea to my son.... :P

    Sherry: LOL! :D

    Tamara: Thanks Tamara, this is definitely a story that will be retold for years to come. :D

    It is soft and squishy, and it can be used as a hand puppet too. (: I'm afraid you're right, doudou is here to stay. :D

  28. You won't believe it, but within our community, the word doo-doo is a colloquial term for sleep, specifically directed towards toddlers...
    The rhyming sounds have a special appeal to kids, poo-poo... choo-choo... pee-pee... etc. and it's funny how they pick up on the connotations of poo and pee
    But doo-doo talk is cute, and it won't last forever... enjoy the phase.

    1. Michelle: That is interesting because in French the colloquial term for sleep 'dodo' I've inserted a clip to a common lullaby that we sing to kids about sleep (dodo) is it pronounced the same where you live?

  29. You had me at sewing up the doo-doo :)

    Classic post and I shall have to delve into my Netherlands memory bank and see if I can remember what doo-doo is in Dutch :)

    1. Ha! Let me know what doo-doo is Dutch if you remember. I have a feeling my kids would love to learn that one. :D

  30. I'm going on 42 (week!) and this story cracked me up. :)

    When my kid went away to college this August, I gained custody of his plush toy Rupert, a dusty Siberian Husky. How do you clean one of them suckers, anyway?
    Some Dark Romantic

    1. I meant eeek, not week. Gah!

    2. You're lucky you only gained custody of the two! (:
      I usually throw them in the wash, or vacuum them. Some people will put them in a plastic bag with baking soda and shake, leaving the stuffed toy in the bag for a few hours. Then you'll need to vacuum up the baking soda and it helps get rid of odors, etc.

      So are we gonna have a party for your B-Day?!!! :D


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