I didn’t realize how obsessed my 3-year old nephew had become with Cartoon Network (particularly Dexter’s Laboratory) until I entered MY room one morning. And there he was, sitting on the floor, smashing a scientific calculator on the wall, thinking he could fix it afterwards. When I opened the door, he turned to me and angrily hollered: “Tito (uncle), get out of my laboratory!!!”
This is bad, I thought. He thinks he’s Dexter and this is his laboratory. I knew I had to do something about it.
So I looked at him and bellowed, “Excuse me, kid! This is MY laboratory! Get out of MY laboratory.”
Bloody kid. I am Dexter!!!
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My nephew is the only pupil at his school (a community pre-school) who can speak English so fluently. That’s because we train him at home. We always encourage force the kid to answer in English when asked in English. And because when he’s with his playmates, he speaks Tagalog (our native language), we make sure that he talks in English at home.
So what happens when he fails to respond in English? I usually give him “the look” — you know, the kind of look that our parents used to give us when we were little to let us know that we were doing something bad and that we must stop it right at that moment. Whenever my nephew realizes he’s being given the look, he switches to English immediately.
Last week, I was shopping at a local mall with my nephew. He said he wanted a kiddie drum set. So we entered Toy Kingdom and began looking for one. A sales crew approached us and showed us two gorgeous sets: yellow and blue. The sales crew and I shared the same thought that the yellow one was better (but yeah, a little more expensive). But my nephew seemed to have made up his mind already.
“I like the blue one.”
But the sales crew was being persistent.
“I told you I like the blue one. I hate yellow!”
The sales crew was astonished by how my nephew speaks in English faultlessly. So he talked to the kid in English, “But this one is better.”
My nephew, being his usual self — stubborn and annoying — began shouting. “I said I don’t like yellow! It’s hideous!!!”
Even I was surprised to hear the word “hideous.” That’s a very big word for a 3-year old Filipino kid. So I asked my nephew, “Do you know what hideous means?”
“Yeah. Like him.” He pointed at the sales crew and turned to me again. “He’s hideous.” He said as-a-matter-of-fact-ly.
I felt embarrassed for the sales crew. So to tell my nephew he was doing something bad, I gave him the look.
His eyes narrowed. His brows met. Confused, he protested, “That was English!”
Pictures courtesy of mysimon.com, istockphoto.com and cartoon-secrets.com