Learning Chinese 學中文Parenting 3G-CBC

“M restaurant” and “brown milk” and “N channel”

Oh, the decisions regarding raising a child – large and small!

One of the quirky – or you could say 強調 (“emphatic”) – things I was about sheltering and/or Chinesifying things from the toddler. Three examples come to mind as we come across them fairly often.

M 餐館 (“M restaurant”) has my name for McDonald’s. I constructed it so that he’d know implicitly which letter it started with and he’s thus familiar with the vocabulary and idea for “restaurant”. All kids love McDonald’s and know to ask for it when they are frighteningly young so I like to keep him innocent and less entitled sounding asking for something in our language. Meanwhile, his cousin who has a knack for vocabulary it seems, has been saying “McDonald’s” for ages and Kiddo is reconciling the two.

The next hurdle is how long I can tell Kiddo that they ran out of Happy Meal toys and so we got a book. It doesn’t help when that same cousin has piles of Happy Meal toys and will one day describe to Kiddo in detail how you get them.

There are plenty of Cantonese terms for McDonald’s in addition to the one I am familiar with, that is, 麥當勞: 老麥, 麥記, 麥當當, M記, 牡丹樓.

I highlighted in bold the two I like which are variations of what I concocted so when Kiddo wants a proper Chinese name, I’ve got them.

Oh, and don’t forget the too-respectful name for creepy Ronald McDonald: 麥當勞叔叔, “Uncle McDonald”!

啡色奶奶 (“brown milk-milk”) has my name for chocolate milk. Yes, I’ve tried to obscure the concept of “chocolate” from him because … what kid doesn’t love chocolate and won’t ask for it! Maybe this will help him be descriptive in his speech because his vocabulary is a little lacking (for now). Thus far, I would be defensive to say that I haven’t been giving him – at odd times – “chocolate cow’s milk” because it’s been chocolate almond milk or chocolate soy milk. Or that it’s not chocolate if there’s no cocoa butter – for example, if I make a smoothie with cocoa powder – that’s not, in a manner of speaking, chocolate…. And finally, I usually have carob chips around for baking which Kiddo enjoys thinking it’s chocolate and I feel smug about the (vegan) switch.

N 電台 (“N station”) has been our name for Netflix. Similar reasons to the rationale behind McDonald’s so he can identify what the name starts with, as he’s learning his letters and starting spelling, and he knows the concepts of stations/channels. Instead of knowing the “app” concept, “channel” or “station” is a bit of a throwback I don’t mind him referring to. We cut off videos as distraction during meals and nightime milk because it was tallying up to a horrifying total and YouTube is a minefield for what it suggests and he’d rather watch than Cantonese Peppa that I’m trying to confine him to. He also doesn’t have as clear an idea of YouTube as the next kid and that’s a proud moment for me.

Anyways, it was fun while it lasted but let’s be realistic that I can’t keep him in a bubble. The walls of the bubble are wobbling but still holding as he’s going on to four-and-a-half though!