Battle for Britain.

Ava’s transformation is almost complete. All she needs is a backwards cap and a Ritalin prescription, and she’s a full-blown American child.

At home we speak British English to her – you know, the proper version of the language – but at school she’s mixing it with the natives. So, one day at a time, that lovely British accent of hers gets ground down, sprinkled with strange sounds, and mashed together into some kind of American language burger.

It’s too late for us now – we ask Ava about life in the UK, and she just pleads the fifth.

But for new arrivals to the country, there’s still hope. When your kid’s inner American starts to spill out, here are the tactics you can use to give them a great British smackdown.

1. In the UK, “ow” is what a kid shouts when they hurt themselves because they don’t know any good four-letter words. Out here, the kids say “ow-eee” instead. If this happens to your child, it is simply a confusion of cultural reference points, brought on by the bewilderment of their recent move. While she continues to scream “ow-eee”, ask her to clarify whether she’s still grieving for Bowie, or just missing the latest episode of TOWIE.

band-aid2. She’s now bleeding from the knee, and yelling out hysterically for a Band Aid. Give her what she asks for, and belt out a few lines of Feed the World.

3. She’s at the Doctor, and just twigged that the real reason she’s there is to get vaccinated. “I don’t want shots!” she shrieks. Channel your inner student, and force a tequila down her throat.

4. Your kid didn’t make it to the toilet in time, and is now standing in a brown mess. “Daddy, I pooped”, she says. Since “pooped” means “tired” in British English, what she needs is to be put immediately to bed, without hesitation. She’ll soon realize she said the wrong thing.

5. She’s getting into sport, and tells you she wants to play soccer. Give her the silent treatment until she refers to it by its proper name.

6. She changes her mind and wants to play “tag” instead. Stick a bandana over her face, give her a can of spray paint, and send her to the local train station.

7. Time for a fresh new look. She tells you she wants “bangs”. Fix her up a plate of sausages and mashed potato.chocolate_bars

8. She’s demanding sneakers. Drive to the nearest petrol station and pick up some chocolate.

9. When she speaks, all her sentences go up at the end? Like she’s asking a question? When she’s not? Respond to absolutely everything she says with “No comment”.

Follow these steps, and you can ensure your child will remain true to her British roots. That is, if you can get past step 3 without a visit from child protective services.


p.s. Kids don’t play “Stuck in the Mud” out here. I’m guessing it doesn’t really translate well, given the State of California is in a drought. I don’t see them playing “British Bulldog” either. What would be the equivalent? American Sausage Dog?


p.p.s Only America can get away with stealing a name like football, and then use it for a sport that’s played with the hands.

 

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14 thoughts on “Battle for Britain.”

    1. Too true Keri. Just another thing for them to be embarrassed of their parents about. It’s every parent’s duty, sooner or later. For now when she threatens to do something grown up like call me ‘Dad’, I shut it down straight away and she listens. Those days are definitely numbered..!

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    1. I almost corrected Ava when she brought home a painting for ‘Mom’ the other day. She’s learning to write so I had to bite my tongue. Self-restraint doesn’t come easy…

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  1. Loved this!!! Having spent my latter teen years in America I can totally relate to everything in this post! My parents watched my British accent fade into a so.Cal one scarily quickly! At that age I certainly wished they would have tipped a tequila down my neck at the talk of shots haha, that tactic might not have done much to discourage the behaviour!
    Having not lived in America for 10 years now (sob) my accent is firmly back to British but it really is a contagious accent, I find myself slipping back into it whenever I speak to anyone American….quite embracing and they probably think I’m making fun of them!!
    It does sound like it is well and truly too late for your little mini American now, although perhaps when she’s a little bigger and finds that the British accent is considered quite cool there she may come crawling back!!

    Thanks for linking with #myexpatfamily hope to see you join in again next month!

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    1. Thanks for your comment. Yes, I think it’s too late for my kid’s accent now – but we’re headed back to London for a holiday in a few weeks’ time, so maybe she’ll slip back into her old ways, if only for a short time. Thanks for letting me know about the linky. Look forward to another one!

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  2. Love this post! My 3 kids have spent their entire lives in Kenya and attend a very culturally diverse school. They have Swahili lessons in school and have nailed a number of accents during their time here. Scarily, we all have some pretty odd Kenyan/English expressions, which to our ears now sound perfectly normal! Thanks for the great read. It made me smile! http://africaexpatwivesclub.com/2015/11/decoding-kenyanese-for-new-arrivals/

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    1. Thanks for the comment! The other day my kid was telling me about ‘fahcells’. I had no idea what she was talking about. My wife then explained it was ‘fossils’. We’re back in the UK for a holiday soon – interested to see what the reaction will be! Thanks for the link – I’ll have a read through your post today 🙂

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  3. Lol! My two are at an American international school but luckly so far they are remaining adamantly British. They tell me off when I occasionally use an Americanism – apparently we say lead in the UK but I have started saying leash…..And in the mix is some of the terms only used in South Africa. It’s a pretty lekker place to live 🙂

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    1. Wow, I guess your kids have standards they don’t want to let slip! I was told by an American the other day that I could say just about anything in my British accent and I would sound intelligent. More reason to hang on to it I think 🙂

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  4. Mine are not too bad at this although Miss EE started saying haitch not aitch for the letter of the alphabet the other month (her teacher told her to apparently grrrrrr). They have quite British accents at the moment but a few years ago Miss EE was mid atlantic (American teacher) and Master EE was hovering somewhere around Poland. My husband, who is from the North of England, speaks with a southern UK accent and I (not British at all) speak with a very ‘proper’, learned English accent.

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