The other night, I was tucking the boys into bed. I occasionally use a few German words with them (I don’t know all that many myself, but hey). They’d been rather bored with it, so I had dropped it for a few months.
I said to Oliver, “Gute Nacht, Oliver. That means good night in German.” Oliver laughed. I said it a few more times. He laughed some more. Jacob peeked down from his top bunk to see what the fun was, and pretty soon was getting into it also.
Apparently I’m quite the comedian, because when I said Auf Wiedersehen, Oliver burst out laughing uncontrollably. Finally he’d say, “Say it again! AGAIN!!” And I would, and he’d laugh and laugh some more.
And then, I happened to say tschüss. Jacob loved that one. He said it over and over, much to Oliver’s delight. Finally I closed the door, and heard the laughter still going on behind me, as Jacob would yell out a mangled German word, and Oliver would fill the room with laughter.
I was a little surprised, but figured it’d end there. Not so much.
The next night, I tucked them into bed like usual. I left their room, and about 10 seconds later, I heard frantic yelling from the boys’ room. I went back in, and poor Oliver was so upset he couldn’t even say what he wanted. I finally figured out he was pleading, “DAD! Say gute Nacht again!” So we went through some German words again, and I left the boys much relieved. Phew.
The next night, I almost repeated my horrid mistake of no German at bedtime, but Jacob stopped me before I left their room. “Dad! You forgot to say tschüss!” So I did, with the boys prompting me on what words they wanted to hear.
Then Jacob started asking me how to say these things in other languages. He was rather disappointed, and I think also didn’t really believe me, when I only knew a few of those phrases in Spanish and French. Though he was surprised that I could come up with them in Greek. Καλησπέρα (Kali̱spéra / good evening) was a hit.
By this point, another day or two later, Jacob says tschüss when I leave. Oliver wishes me “gute Nacht” at breakfast time. We’ll have to work on that one.
So, if you ever walk in the door at our house some morning, don’t be surprised if our 2-year-old wishes you good night, our 5-year-old says goodbye, and they both start laughing.