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.
2. 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.
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.