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Never play I-Spy with a four year old in Spain

By Mr Grumpy - Fri 16th Dec 2011

There are few things guaranteed to scramble your sanity and make you lose all sense of rational reasoning quite as much as being trapped in a vehicle with four year old whilst on a lengthy car journey.

Add in a good old fashioned bout of hyperactivity from a mid-afternoon sugar rush and things get slightly worse.

Chuck in a sizable dollop of said infant insisting on playing " I-Spy ", and things often become a little more fraut.

But, when said infant is also tri-lingual (and parents not), then life really becomes a struggle.

It wouldn´t be so bad, but hurtling down the A7 at 70km leaves you with little option but to play along with the challenging game of I-Spy.

The problem is that my daughter, like most other 4 year olds in our situation, assumes that it is perfectly normal to understand and speak English, Castillian and Valenciano equally. However, she is quite often incapable of knowing which language to speak at what time and in what situation and so, although she may know the word for something in all three languages, she doesn´t always know which one to use and when.

And she is also incapable of accepting that her parents just can´t keep up with her.

And under these circumstances playing I-Spy becomes stressful.

Just this weekend I was pressured into playing a game with Mrs Grumpy and the offspring. We were busy trying to spy something that our daughter declared to begin with an " X " - which is pretty limited being inside a car which contains no Xylene, X-Ray equipment or Xenon (Although I have to admit I did have a quick scan through the car for a Xylophone) - with little luck.

After what seemed like an aon, and after our daughter´s insistence that we continued playing, we were finally allowed to concede defeat and she triumphantly told us that she had actually spied " Chocolate ".

" Chocolate doesn´t begin with an `X´ ... " the Mrs explained.

" Yes it does ! "

" It begins with a `C´ ... like `Car´ and `Coche´..."

" My teacher spells it with an `X´ ... !"

Which of course, in Valenciano, they do. How is somebody that can only just about grasp two languages even going to know that ? - Even if they do know what language they are playing said game of I-Spy in ?

I have already refused to buy her scrabble this Christmas.

Comment on this Blog

I would love to have a live-in unpaid Castilian and Valenciano teacher !
P Coulson - Sun, 15th Jan 2012
Great story!
An Expat In Spain - Wed, 21st Dec 2011
I love the way that kids define the rules unless you close all avenues to shift the parameters you are working in. Good stuff Mr Grumpy
Steven - Mon, 19th Dec 2011
It must be frustrating. I can´t imagine how we´d fare with another language. The good thing is that your wee girl will grow out of I Spy. The bad news is it´ll take years and years! And mean old you, not buying her Xcrabble!
Mo - Mon, 19th Dec 2011

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