Pap-a-day to you

Another thing you probably don’t notice yet about me is that my German is not very good. Apart from the French accent that I have when I speak it, my grammar and conjugation are just a mess. There’s also the lack of vocabulary which I usually make up for by using the word in English or, for example, having to explain with hand gestures and simple words what a fork looks like because I need one (who calls a fork “Gabel” anyway?!)… But I try and I won’t give up.

At Kita, you often celebrate other kids’ birthdays. The birthday kid brings snacks or a cake and some juice for everyone. I knew it had been someone’s birthday that day and asked you about it on the bus ride home. Among the many questions I asked, there was the one about singing the birthday song. As well as I knew how, I sang a little bit in German, to see if you recognized it from that morning’s celebration:

“Zum Geburtstag viel Glück, zum Geburtstag viel Glück…”

The look on your face: priceless. You were sure that nobody had sung anything like that at Kita. I tried again; maybe I wasn’t hitting the right notes or needed to concentrate on the pronunciation?

“Zum Geburtstag viel Glück, zum Geburtstag viel Glück…”

Nope. Nothing. Nada. It was humiliating.

At some moment, that day or the next, you started singing softly while looking out of the window on the bus. You were in your own world at that moment as I heard the magic words:

“Pap-a-dayyyyy… to youuuu…”

You weren’t hitting any of the right notes but it was brilliant. I’d had it wrong all along! At Kita, you sang the birthday song in English! It was very gratifying for me to be able to stop blaming my awful German and/or singing.

Uncle Nini reminded me of this yesterday as he left a birthday message for you, all the way from Uruguay, for your 3rd birthday.

So, mi chiquichiqui, “pap-a-day to you” from Nini.

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