Un Poquito

Hal regularly makes bogus claims about his proficiency in speaking Spanish. The older two have slightly stronger claims but only barely.

This weekend, Jane announced she knows a lot of Spanish. To prove her point, she told her Daddy, “You are hombre. That means man.”

“Que?” he asked.

“What’s that?” she responded.

We had been hugging when she approached to show off her knowledge and I was still cuddled up against his chest. I looked up, turning slightly, held my thumb and forefinger a short distance apart, and said dismissively in her direction “Un poquito.”

“What does K mean?!”

“See?” I said, looking up at my husband. “Un poquito.” Then I snuggled back in.

“I know more than a little bit of Spanish!” she said, indignant at my insult.

“No, no you don’t,” I said. “You don’t get to claim any proficiency in Spanish at all if you don’t know what que means. Even people who don’t know any Spanish know that much.”

“But what does it mean?”

“What?” said my husband.

“What does K mean?!”


“Oh.” She paused briefly, slightly embarrassed. “Well, do you know what woman is?”

“Chica,” said my husband with a smile.

“No! It starts with an M,” she said, resuming her place of presumed superiority.

“Senora,” I said, just to be difficult.

“That’s lady! It starts with an M.”

“Muy caliente chica!” said my husband.*

“That’s not woman! And I know what that means!”

“Your mom is a woman and she’s a muy caliente chica.”

“Stop it! Just stop! Don’t talk like that! Oh my gosh, I have to get out of here. That’s so gross.” And with that, she fled the room and we hugged in peace.

*Before any Spanish speakers take it upon themselves to correct our grammar and vocabulary, I will state that, unlike our children, we know full well that we don’t speak Spanish. I will further state that we were simply goading our daughter for fun, without concern for accuracy. Kind of how we used to drive our Latin teacher nuts by announcing “Semper Ubi Sub Ubi!” (Always wear underwear – technically, always where under where). It was guaranteed to get an outraged reaction at our mangling of Latin for a simple pun.