Saturday morning. We have had breakfast, and returned to bed, a big comfy huddle of soft suntanned goldy-brown kids and flowery duvets. Enjoying the feeling of not having to get dressed and go out.
We start singing a silly old farsi nursery rhyme at the princess, who has lost all her front teeth:
The princess has no teeth
She’s fallen in the sugar-pot
Hurry, bring a basket,
And haul her out
Take my word for it that it sounds much better in Persian- it is catchy and it rhymes. We sing it over and over again, laughing and tickling the princess. Then I notice the golden boy is shouting the word for “basket”, zanbil, with special force. I pause and ask: “Golden boy, what does zanbil mean?”
He laughs, showing his perfect teeth: “It means we are burying her underground!” he shouts.
The princess and I laugh at his silliness. “No it doesn’t!”
“It means a big loader full of earth!”
We laugh again. Then I ask the princess: “OK- you tell him what zanbil means.”
The princess pauses. She looks confused. “Car? No- box? Rope?”
Oh God. Identity crisis.
My children are growing up not knowing the word for basket in their mother tongue.