Maggie likes to say something that sounds like “Altooooonnnniiiiiaaaaa” while laughing and looking me in the eye with an expression that says she has a private joke. And the joke is about me. I started to realize that it often happens when I am telling her it is time for bed, or to do something she doesn’t want to do. I figured it must be a Spanish word for “stick it up your jumper.”
She’s been saying it for about a year, and I really should have gotten on this sooner. You would think that I would learn my lesson after the whole Ayúdame debacle. Maggie had been saying that little gem for about 2 years before I clued in that it meant “Help me!” Mother of the year right here.
One evening lately I felt determined to get to the bottom of this. I mean what if she was trying to tell me there was a foot-long millipede on the wall behind me, or the secret location of a stash of dark chocolate. I had to find out.
I started with Siri. I have to say she’s a lippy assistant who isn’t actually very helpful. Sometimes I think she does that “I’ll pretend I don’t know the answer just so she stops asking me questions,” bit that I may possibly – on occasion – like on days that have a Y in them – do when the kids ask me things. And I have to say she doesn’t take my constructive criticism in the spirit in which it is intended. In fact, I expect that I’ll be hearing from her union rep any day now to outline the expectations of her contract.
After giving up on Siri and sending her on an early lunch, I tried Google, a Spanish-English dictionary app, and finally my crack team of linguistics experts – the kids.
This is where I should have stopped. Unless it meant “I’m on fire!” I really didn’t need to know any other information. But instead I foolishly persevered. They told me that Maggie is calling me Petunia – the Grumpy Old Troll’s Bride from Dora the Explorer.
My daughter was calling me a troll.
AND got away with it for a year.
But it’s okay, because my neighbour has been calling me that for years. Even though I don’t think I know a single riddle.
And then last night it just got worse. I was asking Maggie to get ready for bed, and as we were doing her bedtime routine she began scripting in her sweet sing-song voice that she reserves for scripting time. It was cute. Until I listened more closely to hear “We have to watch out for the witch!”
On the bright side, it looks like I have plenty of costume options for Halloween this year!