Sunday, 18 November 2012
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!