Lost in Translation

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My daughter was playing with plastic eggs left over from Easter when she decided that she wanted the egg that was on the top  shelf.

I was napping when she asked me to get it.

“I am going to get the egg later“, I said.

Like a typical four-year old (this happened last year), she had to have the one egg that was out of reach.  It did not matter that she had 2-dozen other plastic eggs in front of her.

Real eggs that we decorated

She begged.  She cried.  She pleaded.

I was still trying to nap.  I begged!  I cried!  I pleaded!

At this point, my feisty little girl started stomping her feet.  It was now a full-blown tantrum.  She was now screaming and demanding that I get her toy–NOW!

I am a preschool teacher so I am no stranger to  meltdowns and tantrums.  I have been told that I am very patient with my students.  I don’t get annoyed, and I am usually calm and composed.

But, when my own children start to make unreasonable demands —like getting a toy when there are other toys to play with—I go bananas.  More bananas than usual now because a nap, that I seldom take, was interrupted.

So I said, “No!”

She got deliriously mad.  She was now stomping both her feet, screaming at me, and telling me to get up and do what she is asking me to do.

Oh, I did get up!  And I sent her to her room.  But not before I said something that sounded eerily similar to what my mom would have said…

Aba, aba, aba!  Huwag mo akong kakausapin ng ganyan.  Umakyat ka sa taas!

(Very loosely translated to:  Hey, hey, hey!  You do not talk to me in that manner!  Go upstairs!)

My kids know that being sent upstairs is not a punishment.  That part of the house is good for helping them calm down and regroup, though when the words came out of my mouth, being sent upstairs seemed like a punishment.

I called her on her behavior because to me, talking that way was being disrespectful.

Sometimes, when children are caught up with emotions that are spiraling out of control, they need to be taken out of the situation.  The room where I sent her has toys, books, and a soft bed —things that could pacify her during this meltdown.

Blocks

Reading can always calm her down

Later that night as she was helping me with dinner, and all traces of that ugly argument forgotten (or so I thought), she asked me in her sweetest voice,

“Mom, what does aba, aba, aba, mean?  (She clearly understood the rest of my Tagalog command.)

 It caught me by surprise,  “It means, I don’t like what you are doing.”

“Ohhhhhhh.  Next time just say, I don’t like what you are doing… because I don’t understand what aba, aba, aba means. Okay?”

To which I retorted,

Aba, aba, aba!  Now you know.  So don’t do it again!

________________________________________

 http://www.bansa.org

aba: Word: aba!
English Definition: (intj.) an exclamation of surprise, wonder, or disgust; emphatic denial.
Examples: Aba! Bakit ngayon mo lang sinabi? (Hey, how come you only said it now?)

________________________________________

Any wisecracks you’ve heard from kids?  Share them in the comment section, please.

About Teacher Tina

I have been a teacher for more than 15 years in the Philippines and the United States. Teaching is a vocation that I am grateful to have embraced. It certainly prepared me for motherhood.

6 responses »

  1. Aba! Naku! Naman! Ay! – they just express the inexpressible.🙂

    Reply
    • Could not have said it better. My children are getting the hang of it though…they can now predict (by saying it before I do) when I would say, “Ay naku!

      Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment.

      Reply
  2. I remember an American counterpart asking me how do we use “BA” in Filipino. He finds it quite confusing to use… like in a dialogue in an elevator, he overheard a guy asking a companion ” BABABA BA?”, to which the other replied in the affirmative, ” BABABA”…. Hahahaha,,

    Reply
    • Amazing how using just one syllable multiple times, Filipinos actually make sense. Tagalog really is an interesting language. My children are still trying to understand how to pronounce words that are similarly spelled, but has different meanings—hapon, kahapon, Hapon, maghapon!

      Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. Come and visit again.

      Reply
  3. I love your reading your blog!

    Reply

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