My family has always used Portuguese words when referring to things you wouldn’t want other people to hear you say in public. Mainly, this is done for private body parts and private body functions.
Though a Brazilian neighbor of my sister recently told us we were pronouncing almost everything incorrectly, and that the endearing phrase we use with our toddlers doesn’t sound as sweet when you find out that we are not saying, “Come here and let me pinch your behind.” Instead we are saying, “Come here and let me pinch your ass.”
My husband has accepted this odd vernacular, with the exception of a couple of “boy parts”. Instead of using (mangled) Portuguese, he has taught our seven year old son to say, “balls” as if the kid has morphed into a 45 year old Italian. It’s like having a miniature Marlon Brando standing in my living room. “Mom, the lining of my sailboat bathing suit is really hurting my BAWLZ.”
But last week, things changed a little. At the cabin where we were vacationing, there was a hot tub. My husband explained that it isn’t okay for boys to spend time lounging in a hot tub because the extreme temperature can hurt the “little babies” he has inside him.
When we said there were babies our son took us literally. Though he didn’t grasp the concept that there were millions of them, but instead assumed that each testicle was a child. He even named them. Racer and Jennifer. I spent an entire evening trying to get him to understand that Racer and Jennifer would not come out when he pees.
The next day, we were at the pool when my husband noticed our son had stopped swimming and was talking to a woman sitting on the edge. She kept looking over her shoulder at us and smiling. Eventually, I called to him, “Go back to swimming and let that nice lady relax.”
The woman turned and waved. Then she said, “It’s okay! He’s telling me about his babies.”