Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Bu xie

It's rare that a day ends without at least one major tantrum from L and tonight was no different. Tonight the impetus was that the lotion was cold. I just wanted to lube her up after her bath because the DC area is suffering under a brutal cold spell right now. We're all coughing and E woke up last night moaning that all of her skin was scratchy and it's just a safe assumption that if E's skin is bothering her, L's is, too.

L grabbed the bottle from me in a pique of I do it mySELF! and I didn't stop her. She pumped a generous squirt into her hand and smeared it across her belly and froze in paralysis at the shock of the temperature against her steamy just-bathed body. I wanted to get her in her fleecy footies quickly so I continued rubbing in where she left off and she grew rigid and screamed.

No, Mama!
Boojie! Boojie!

Sometimes she just speaks in tongues screams non-sensical utterances when she's upset but it suddenly dawned on me that she's been yelling that particular utterance a lot lately. So I asked her what, exactly, she was saying.

L just glared at me but E helpfully answered from around the corner where she was doing her very best not to brush her teeth. It's Chinese, Mama. She's saying no in Chinese.

"You are?" I asked L with no small incredulity in my voice. She nodded in a small way. I stuffed toes into footies and held her in my lap to warm her. "Since when do you know Chinese?"

Oh, one of our teachers taught us that, E answered for her again.

It took me until after their bedtimes and googling a translation with transliteration program, but bu xie means, essentially, "no thanks" in Mandarin.

And this little vignette is really throwing me off, because you know E has been saying she can speak Chinese for years now. And this whole time, I essentially nodded my head and addressed her language constructs with "yes, dear"s.

But now, who knows:

maybe the girls really speak some Chinese? Pin It

1 comment:

Emily said...

I wouldn't be surprised if the girls *do* speak some Mandarin. Katherine sat down to her afternoon snack today and said 'have a nice meal' in German, Italian, and Filipino. Italian, okay, but I have no idea where she picked up *anything* in German or Filipino! Kids are clever.