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.

Mediocre Mommy

Hal brought home a sheet of paper from school recently with a series of boxes that had an English word, its Spanish equivalent, and then his artistic representation of the idea behind the words.

I was impressed with a number of the pictures – the school house had no fewer than 20 windows on it, for example. But the best, by far, was his picture of family.

We all had necks and five fingers, an improvement over older drawings, although we appeared to have no arms, our hands sprouting directly out of our sleeveless shirts. We were also bald, and the family was comprised of three members instead of five. But one of us had some wicked heels on our shoes.


I asked him who was whom while his siblings began to argue over who was left out. He explained that he didn’t have time to draw his Bubba and apparently had no intention of drawing Sissy. The one in heels turned out to be me, despite the fact that I very rarely wear them. The small guy with no feet at all was Hal, the other person was Daddy.

Daryl, who was standing too far away to see the assignments announced his assessment on who was whom. “Daddy is the big one and Mommy is the mediocre one…”

He cut off as Daddy and Jane burst out laughing and I expressed feigned indignation.

“I think you meant the medium one, Buddy,” my husband said as he got his laughter under control.

“No, I mean mediocre.”

More laughter.

“Doesn’t it mean average? Like, the middle one?”

“No, not quite, honey,” I said. “It’s got a more negative connotation than ‘average’. Here, let’s look it up in the dictionary.”

Is That Spanish?

As I have indicated before, Hal has tried repeatedly to claim a proficiency in speaking Spanish. Early in the post Chatterbox, he tried to tell me that “Somo” is Spanish for “alpha cop”. And in the post Speaking Spanish, he tried to redefine “yes” for the Spanish speaking community.

So I was more than a little surprised (and pleased) when he announced in the car yesterday, “Mi nombre es Hal.”

“Is that Spanish?” I asked.


“Is that Spanish that you are speaking?”


“When you said Me nombre es Hal, were you speaking in Spanish?”

“Oh. I don’t know.”


Speaking Spanish

Hal fancies himself fluent in Spanish. He often asks me if I know what a certain word is in Spanish and then gives me a clearly made-up word when I admit that I don’t know. Today, he asked if I knew what “yes” was in Spanish. Finally, a word that I thought he might have actually learned.

“Si,” I replied, expecting a surprised grin as he recognized my double answer.

He looked confused. “What?”

I studied him for a second before asking, “You don’t actually know what it is, do you?”

“Yes, I do. It’s… ummm… yessk.”

“No, Hal. It’s ‘si’. That’s why I said ‘si’ when you asked if I knew it.”


Jane jumped in and said, “No in Spanish is ‘no’.”

“But with a Spanish accent,” I added. She just looked at me. “Oh, come on! That was a little bit funny… right?”


Hal can be an entertaining traveling companion. Particularly if you like varied and interesting conversation. Allowing that the conversation doesn’t have to make sense, of course.

I picked him up from preschool yesterday. He retrieved the stuffed monkey from the floorboard as he climbed into the truck and informed me that its name is “Somo”.

“Wow,” I said as I started the engine. “That sounds a lot like Sobo-be-nye-nye, but shorter.” Sobo-be-nye-nye has been his best and closest imaginary friend for at least the last two years.

“Yes, except it’s Somo. Mommy, do you know what Somo is in Spanish?”

“No, I don’t. What is Somo in Spanish?”

“It’s Alpha-cop.”

“Really? I had no idea that’s what Somo was in Spanish.”

“Yep. It’s Alpha-cop.”

We traveled a bit further and then shortly before we were to get on the highway, he quietly said, “Mommy, I want you to pull over please.”


“Because I don’t feel good so I want you to pull over because I’m going to be sick.”

He didn’t look particularly sick and hadn’t acted in the least bit under the weather up to this point. I suspected that he was just imitating times his brother has claimed to be sick, so I didn’t pull over.

“What feels sick?”

“Well, because Rose [our dog] was licking me when I was a little baby and that’s why I’m sick now.”

“Hal, we didn’t have Rose when you were a little baby.”

“Well, that is what I call the kitty. And it is licking me and so that’s why I am sick.”

By this point, I had entered the highway and I didn’t bother pulling over. I didn’t think that kitty-dog licks were likely to cause vomiting, the primary motivation for stopping the car for a sick child.

“Mommy, why did they make birds?”

“Why did they make what?” (I had foolishly tried to shift my attention to the news on the radio.)

“Why did they make BIRDS?”

“Oh, well, ‘they’ don’t make birds, honey. Birds are born, just like us.”

He paused. “Well, they keep pooping on our window.”

“Well, honey, birds do good things too.” {Think fast, think fast, what benefit are birds besides being nice to watch…} “They help trees and flowers grow.”

“YAAAAYYYYY!!!! They are growing right now. They just need more sun.”

The truck and the conversation took a few more turns before we made it home and my chatterbox rushed inside to see his Daddy.