Connecting the Dots of a Bilingual Prayer

November 20, 2013

Our bedtime routine is the same every evening: baño, leche, libro (bath, bottle, book). And then prayers. My Cuban grandmother always referred to God as Papa Dios. So, Papa Dios it is. 

So I say, “Let’s pray to Papa Dios.”
Which Rafaella has taken and interpreted like one of those songs that you sing the wrong lyrics to and she says says, “Decir aDios.” 
Ok. She gets the gist. She’s in the ballpark.
Last night, in the middle of reading, she pushed the book down and said, “Decir aDios.” So, we began to pray, to thank God for all of our blessings. It’s two fold really. She comes up with the things to thank the big G for and I get to tag along on her thankfulness for most things that I’m grateful for too. I also get to thank Him, something I too often forget to do on my own. And we have a lot to be thankful for. 
But here’s where this takes a different turn. While there’s something very peaceful about praying with my two year old daughter at bedtime as she wriggles her body from laying next to me to cozying in and laying her head on my stomach and looking me in the eye as she speaks her gratitude list, it is also a time for lots of laughs as I wander down the path of the inner workings of this kid’s mind. 
Here was our prayer last night:
Gracias Papa Dios por (Thank you Father God for):
(she begins) 
ona – this is short for chambelona which means lollipop – I smile because she’s a kid. Of course she’s thankful for lollipops, sepcifically the one I told our nanny, Shelly she could give her today.
She rolls her eyes to the side in thought and hums a quiet hmmmm… in preparation of what to be thankful for next and then smiles, “Shelly – I see she didn’t lose sight of who gave her the lollipop.
With ease she clumps together next, “Yago (her nickname for her brother Santiago), Papi, Mami.”
I repeat the names and add, “Who love you very much.”
“Papi, Mami.” She must be super thankful for us tonight.
From here she is thankful for Mum and Harrison. Mum is our Canadian friend. Her name is Julain. Julain’s son calls her Mum so Rafa calls her Mum. Rafa adores Mum. Mum adores Rafa. The adoration is a two way street.
Since she’s on the friend kick she’s thankful for Saskia and Nouk (pronounced Nook.) But her name is not Nouk, it’s Anouk. Did I mention Rafa likes giving people nicknames?
Still on the friend train she thanks “aDios” for Amelia and Amalia – the two little girls that live downstairs and play in the communal courtyard who love on Rafa whenever they see her. Amalia has a sweet grandmother who also adores Rafa. She reminds us that her mother’s name was Rafaella and so she has a special place in her heart for Rafa and so whenever she sees Rafa she gives her a lollipop.
“Paleta,” which also means lollipop – leave it to our girl to know both words for lollipop.

Lollipops have turned her attention to food. 
“Tica,” (prounounced teeka). 
“Tica?” I ask cause I’m not sure what that it. 
“Tica,” she says again with a quick nod of her head like I should know this one. 
I say it again with a slight intonation. She knows I don’t know what she’s saying.
She moves on…
“Fish,” her shortened version – aka nickname – for Goldfish – which we don’t feed her but that sometimes the kids on the playground eat and share with her. 
Now she comes back – and I think this is brilliant because she comes back to “Tica” knowing she just gave me Fish and I now realize that tica is galletica – the word for cookie. But stay with me here…
In spanish a cracker is called a galleta, a cookie can also be called a galleta (or a galletica). She connected [Gold]fish to come back to tica so that I would know what she was talking about. 
Is this a 3 foot 2 genius I have laying on my stomach? I’m scared that she might be waaaay smarter than I think.
Without blinking an eye, she continues.
Agua. She is grateful for water. 
Mas agua. And she’s grateful for more water. More water I think. That’s a good one
And then like that she is ready for bed. She asks for NuNu which is apparently French for stuffed animal. 
Genius.

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