I don’t have children myself, but I love to hear the knee-slappers that my godson, his siblings, and my nieces come out with. Or, for that matter, the “logic” espoused by the adults around them when speaking to them.
To wit, what are the most amusing things you’ve ever heard in a household with children?
Well, to be honest I haven’t gone into a household of children in ages, but I have two sources to draw upon: my childhood, and life in Korea. As a teacher, I used to deal with kids every day, but I also sometimes ran into kids who were not my students but talked to me anyway. Kids have much less fear of strangers here, partly because they are actually a lot safer in public, but also partly because there? a kind of illusion of total safety that causes parents to let kids wander about as they please, without the admonition never to talk to strangers. Anyway…
(1) Poooooor halitosis baby!!! My sister and I teasing our baby sister, who happened to have peanut butter breath at about age 4. I think my sister and I, aged 6 and 7 respectively, must have learned the word from a TV commercial.
(2) “Weigukindeuli dalnara aeseo wasseoyo?” (Foreigners come from the moon?) A kid I met at the swimming pool changeroom who, once he started grilling me with the standard foreigner-questions, actually seemed to believe me when I told him I come from “the moon country,” where we eat cheese and sing all day.
(3) “Teacher: JUJU!” said a little boy, pointing at the huge false breasts in my “Dabang girl” Halloween costume and then trying (and failing) to grab at one. Juju in Korean means something somewhere in between “Titties!” and “Boobies!”
(4) “Well, Annie,” my mother told my baby sister, “Your hair used to be blond, but then you put your head in the over and your brains melted and came out your ears, all over your hair, and turned it brown. Isn’t that terrible? So stay away from the oven.” A wily didacticist, Mom is.
(5) “Teacher’s girlfriend’s name is… So Ju Jan?” asked one twelve-year-old girl. It was a very clever and deliberate pun, because all Korean names have three syllables, and So is a not-uncommon last name. But soju jan means “sweet-potato vodka shot glass”, and the students all knew that I liked bok bun ja ju, a kind of Korean raspberry wine, so the jump to soju was a short one.
Runner up goes to this conversation, the best moment of which was then a girl said to me in Korean, “I don’t speak Americanese!” Or this one, where a boy complains about food in a country that has no name. And for a more sobering, but still sometimes hilarious, change of pace, here are some letters my young students wrote to George Bush in English when the war in Iraq broke out earlier this year.