Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Hubris Is A Beetch

La Mom was excited for Big Fry’s school talent show. His group was performing the only English song at the show: I’m A Little Teapot.

If you’d been a fly on the wall at playgroup the week before the show, here’s what you would have heard:

La Mom: The French moms at school don’t give me the time of day. I’m never going to make French maman friends.

Chicago Mom: Don’t they know that you speak French?

La Mom: Of course they do. I was the only mom asking a million questions, in French, at back-to-school night.

Brussels Mom: French women are hard to crack.

La Mom(cues Monsieur Hubris): Well, Big Fry’s going to have the best English accent on stage. He knows the words to the song by heart. The Frenchies will all be envious. They’re probably jealous, anyway, because I’ve got the only kid in class who’s truly bilingual.

Fast forward to the talent show. All the kids have one sentence to say before singing I’m a Little Teapot:

“Good morning Mister waiter, a cup of tea, please.”

One by one, the French kids repeated the sentence with the same accent, “Goowd morneeng meester wayteh, eh cup uf tee pleess.”

Here’s what the French mamans were proudly whispering in the audience (and what La Mom was thinking):

Paris Mom Un: Oh la la! What a great accent Ariane has!
(La Mom: You call that an English accent? Clean the wax out of your ears.)

Paris Mom Deux: Our Jules speaks English so well!
(La Mom: Not really. The only English word I recognized in that sentence was "cup.")

Paris Mom Trois: I didn’t know your Cédric was so fluent in English!
(La Mom: Fluent shmuent. Give the kid another twenty-five years and a few study abroad trips and maybe he’ll be half as fluent as Big Fry is. Maybe.)

La Mom sat there smugly waiting for Big Fry’s chance to show them all how it’s done.... We’ve been singing "I’m A Little Teapot" since he was a baby.

Big Fry: Uhhhh, uhhh, goowd morneeng meester wayteh, ay’d like eh cup uf tee pleess.

Mon Dieu! Was he kidding? My bilingual Big Fry made himself sound like his Frenchie classmates. He pretended that he couldn’t speak English because he didn’t want to be different from his friends.

Oh how Monsieur Hubris is a beetch. Here’s what the French mamans said to me after Big Fry’s stellar performance:

Paris Mom Un: La Mom, Big Fry has a French accent when he speaks English. Mais dis donc!

Paris Mom Deux: He’s not that bilingual after all. Heuresement. Mon Jules peut le rattraper.

Paris Mom Trois: I think his French is better than his English.

Ouch. Way to stick a knife in La Mom’s heart. Tell her Big Fry is more French than American.

Hubris - eet ees eh beetch.

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