School holidays in Swedish, literally
‘Autumn school holidays’ have arrived this week in Sweden. This is the first time I have been able to be at home with the kids for a mid-term break. This sparks a lot of joy in me and we’ve been having a ball!
In Sydney, TSH got to be the on-duty holiday parent whilst I worked. Then, when we moved to Sweden, we were both working so Miss 7 would have to go to ‘holiday club’. Last holidays, when I told her she would be going to ‘holiday club’ she looked up at me with her big brown eyes and said, ‘but I wanted to spend the holidays with my family…’ My heart fell in two.
These holidays, we decided to keep the other two in daycare for the first three days so I could spend some alone time with Miss 7. We have been having so much fun; baking, going to the library/museum and playing games together. When I’d asked her what she wanted to do in the holidays she said, ‘play hide-n-seek with you’. Too sweet.
One game that we have been playing quite a bit of is ‘hangman’. “Hangman is a quick and easy game for at least two people that requires nothing more than paper, pencil, and the ability to spell. One player, the “the host,” makes up a secret word, while the other player tries to guess the word by asking what letters it contains.” All incorrect letters are written on the side and with each one, the host starts drawing a hangman. In Sweden, there is no hangman in ‘hangman’, you just drawing a sad looking face.
“We can play in English mummy, so it’s easier for you”
It soon became very apparent that my opponent was a 7-year-old who is in the life stage where she can neither spell, nor remain within the realms of just one language system.
Each ‘secret’ word was very secret indeed. It was secret both to anyone who speaks English or Sweden. Each match was getting longer and longer, and she was loving it. We decided to ‘help mummy along’ by adding an extra step whereby she was allowed to give me pictorial clues. Turns out, the pictorial clues were also quite cryptic.
Example hangman conversations
“Miss 7!!!! How can that picture be a clue for the word ‘mummy’???? I have short straight hair and wear glasses…”, “Oh, well that’s because it’s a picture of you 11 years ago when you married daddy”.
“Miss 7!!!! How can a picture of a red car be a clue for the secret word ‘ice-cream’?”, “Because two Easter’s ago when we were living in Sydney, a red car drove past and I said I wanted ice-cream”.
And after a very long drawn out match with tensions building:
Miss 7: First letter is R, last letter is N.
Me: Well let me think…. o.k I have no idea and your pictorial ‘clue’ is no help. Just tell me what it is…
Miss 7: Rich man’s sign.
Me: What???? No 1. That’s not a word. No 2. Why can’t it be a rich woman’s sign and No 3. now I see what you mean, I believe the correct term for what you are referring to would be a dollar sign.
Miss 7: Exactly! You’re wrong.
“You’re not too good at this mummy”
Yes, I know. BUT THAT’S BECAUSE THIS IS A GAME BASED ON SPELLING AND YOU CANNOT SPELL. YOU ARE USING ENGLISH WORDS BUT SPELLING THEM IN SWEDISH SO IT’S HARD TO KEEP UP.
ALSO, YOU ARE SPELLING THINGS PHONETICALLY BOTH IN SWEDISH AND ENGLISH, ALL IN THE SAME WORD. YOU TOLD ME THAT ‘Y” WAS AN INCORRECT LETTER IN THE WORD MUMMY, SO IT THREW ME OFF. NICE ONE. SURE, IT’S HALF IN ENGLISH, HALF PHONETICALLY CORRECT IN SWEDISH AND MAKES TOTAL SENSE IN YOUR HEAD. I AM USING WORDS LIKE ‘SNOW’. YOU ARE USING NON-WORDS LIKE RICH MAN’S SIGN. BUT I LOVE YOU TO BITS AND AM LOVING SPENDING THIS TIME WITH YOU.*
And in other news…
Next up will be Halloween – part 2. Trick-o-treating in the village on Friday night. Image the neighbourhood kids surprise when they knock on the door expecting candy, and I hand them a piece of scary cheese.
Truth be told, we will be handing out candy alongside a half banana pretending to be a ghost.
*She is actually the one with superior Swedish and drawing skills, so the joke’s on me.