On Friday the principal of my daughter's school showed the kindergarten class that he was hiding coffee and bananas in a ceiling tile in his office.
I still say the word, "banana" like an English person. And yet I've gone to the effort of pronouncing, "tomato" like an American. I'd decided to do that because I'm in a foreign land effectively speaking a foreign language. But more so because I thought it would be really weird if my kids (my in particular) grew up pronouncing it like an English person. I've willingly plowed in and pronounce, "basil" and, "oregano" and all that stuff in a North Atlantic American accent. But for some odd reason I've deliberately taken a stand with the word, "banana." Which is particularly odd because every single night when I put my daughter to bed the story I make up involves a banana (it's alright - don't panic).
You may or may not recall that each night I read her a book (or she reads it now - which is longer but nicer) and then - after the light is out - she says, "Daddy - tell me a story about when you were a little..." before making up a random thing that I have to be. But regardless of whether she picks a little cloud, a little sausage, a little icicle or a little bumcheek (her current favorite) I somehow surreptitiously insert the lovable character Bobby The Banana into the storyline. Which she now recognizes as a clever post-modern callback to a popular character from other stories, rather than a rehashing of old material just to fill up time while she slowly gets drowsier. And each and every single time I very cleverly bring up Bobby again I pronounce, "banana" in an English way. All of which has led me to think that perhaps I should work on scrubbing out the speaking-with-Americans accent that I've developed over the years. Especially as - much to my surprise - some people I chat with don't think I'm foreign at all now but just think I sound somewhat drunk, simple or am an Irish descendant.
Speaking of Irish I did mention the, "We're All Irish!" irritation of an American St. Patrick's Day over the weekend. And how pre-K and kindergarten kids are even taught that everyone should wear green, bang on about leprechauns and mispronounce it as, "St. Patty's Day" even though the correct Irish name Paddy is well-known to everyone already. Obviously my daughter enjoys it thoroughly (which in turn makes me really happy - especially the leprechaun shenanigans - causing me to be torn in two competing directions). All of which was topped off by the class "accidentally" paying a visit to the principal to let him know that leprechauns had not only left glitter and green footprints all over their classroom, but that they'd also somehow turned the toilet water green. So to put them at ease he let them know that he knew how to capture them. Which - bizarrely - involved baiting them into a trap made from some coffee and a banana. Which everyone knows are traditional Irish foodstuffs. Presumably once they nosh down on that they are so backed-up that they can't run off and can be gathered up, taken out the back of the school and killed. Actually I don't know what happens to them. Although I will find out.
Anyhoo - my daughter did make one of these -:
And - astonishingly - one of these. Which you'll notice has her, "Irish" name on it.
Lastly though I wanted to show you three pages of a book I got from the library. I sometimes consider myself to be ridiculously childish. But I defy anyone to read the three consecutive pages below to a five year old without feeling entirely wrong. May I recommend reading them out loud to someone else and I promise you will think you're reading very badly written mouse porn.