Cheese for Abuela

May 03, 2011 By: erik Category: Family, Offspring, Videos 239 views

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Cheese for Abulea (video thumbnail)I’m sure the behavior displayed in this video is completely normal for a toddler, but it’s a good example of where Nora’s social and lingual skills are at the moment. She’s good at arguing. Since spending a week with her grandparents in Extremadura, she now interjects an exasperated ¡jolí­n! (a bowdlerized version of the Spanish F-bomb) “properly” into her arguments.

I honestly can’t recall how Americans interact with toddlers, but in Spain, the general pattern for an adult-toddler interaction, even with complete strangers, is for the adult to try to convince the toddler to give away a piece of food or toy or something. It always strikes me as odd for a man to walk up to my daughter on the street and playfully proclaim, “That doll is mine!” in an attempt to rile up her possessive response, which is now very strong. I’m not complaining, only mentioning that this interaction you’re about to see is very, very common.

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  • “¡Jolí­n! ¡Que no te enteras!” Love it! It’s so funny to hear those expressions coming from such a tiny person. She’s advanced so much since we visited…it’s amazing how kids change in such a short time. 🙂

    • erik

      I have a friend who has a nephew that got a little too used to saying “¡Que no te enteras!” (You don’t understand!) to his parents, so they forbade him to say that phrase to any adult. Eventually he learned and followed the new rule. A few weeks after that, he said to his mother, “Mamá, ¿te puedo decir que estás un poco confusa?” (Mommy, can I tell you that you’re a little confused?)

  • Cute video, but I wish my Spanish skills were better.

    I don’t know if it’s just not an American thing, or if it’s something I’ve managed to avoid, but people don’t seem to behave that way towards Eva. I don’t really recall people trying to get Eva to give away her stuff. But I do think toddler possessiveness is inherent, because even when people aren’t trying to take her stuff, Eva assumes they are.

    • erik

      The video is subtitled in both Spanish and English. You might have to press the “CC” button.

  • Alan G.

    Yeah, it’s the same here Erik. I guess some things are just universal. It’s the best way to get them into a conversation.

  • I ask my kids for food too. I just like snacking.
    It’s also amusing for them to take part in a role reversal and be the adult feeding a “baby”.
    And when my girls are in Italy they use the word “belin”, which is a Genoese equivalent to “jolí­n”.

  • This video and your commentary really intrigued me, as I had no idea about the typical Spanish adult-toddler interaction. I lived in Spain at a time when my Spanish nieces and nephews were are all very young, but to be honest I was a little scared of them since back then I couldn’t understand their toddler Spanish. Now that my husband and I are thinking about having a kid of our own I wish I would have paid more attention. He laughed when I asked him about the interaction you described, saying he hadn’t realized it was different for Americans. I appreciate your sharing your experiences with your daughter, it certainly gives me insight into how to raise a Spanish-American baby.

    • erik

      Thanks, Heather. It might be a common thing in the US, too (see Alan G’s comment, “here” = USA), but I’m just generally – and it sounds like you are too – so far removed from adult-toddler interaction that it seemed odd to me.