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Translation is music to my ears...

Byline: Lindsay Bruce

AS A Scot in England, married to a Londoner with friends from all over the globe, I find myself in the "misunderstood" category quite a lot.

My central Scotland dialect is not often familiar territory for most of the people I know.

So it's no wonder that my offspring have similar problems.

Coupled with the fact Micah is only two and teething, his dribbly dialogue is often frustratingly difficult to interpret.

And the longer it takes me to figure out what his cute little self is after, the higher the chance of an impending tantrum.

But I do have some of it sussed.

"Samansam", for example, is Fireman Sam. That, though, is a doddle compared to the great communication breakdown that was this week.

"Muuuuum. I wanta my lilly." OK, thinking caps on, what is a lilly? I have no flowers so it's not that. We have had no little girl visitors leaving dolls, so it's not that.

Aha... "Is it Lilly from church? Your friend?" He looks disgusted, stamps his foot and says, "No. My lilly. Not Corban's."

OK, so that's a clue. Both he and his brother have "lillies". Am none the wiser so start rolling out every toy, game and whatever random objects I can lay my hands on, Generation Game-style.

No joy. I'm getting desperate. The tears have started.

He leads me to the computer. "My lilly on there. A boy and a lilly." Well after an hour of watching every clip on the CBeebies website we are still no closer to figuring out what a lilly is. He is so exhausted from his ordeal (I'm imagining therapy years from now, "My mother never understood me...") that he falls asleep. I search the house in vain so decide to change tack. Distraction is the name of the new game.

Hoping he would have forgotten about the damn lilly, he awakes, stretches, smiles then breaks into dramatic sobbing.

"Pweeeese muuuuuuummmmm. You geta my lilly."

Operation distraction kicks in. "Why don't we bake?" He ignores me. "Why don't we watch Samansam?" He looks at me, straight in the eyes, sticks his bottom lip out and the sniffles start up again.

"Why don't we do music." He cracks a smile. Wait, I'm on to a winner. As I reach up to the top bunk and pull down his little guitar he starts clapping and jumping: "My lilly, my lilly!" What the heck? All that for a... and why is he calling it a lilly? Then it dawns on me. YouTube. I showed him a clip of a little boy playing his ukulele. Or uka-lilly as my genius son calls it.

So the crying stopped, the sobbing ceased, the endless "pleases" abated too. Replaced by a marathon lilly session. I think I preferred the crying...
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:May 4, 2010
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