Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Lost in translation

There are two situations we haven't been able to really explain or help Jet to grasp with English, Thai or gesturing.

The first is a touchy subject for any of us in our house. Since we had just lost our Sam right before traveling to Thailand, we are still grieving. Quite frankly, we still have up and down moments in regards to it. We have pictures around and haven't been able to get rid of his toys/bones.

Jet is very interested in dogs and loves to hug my sister's dog, Daisy. He naturally has looked at pictures and looked to me with questioning eyes. I know we have been able to help him understand Sam use to be here with us, live inside our house, didn't bite and those were his toys. But I do not know what he thinks happened to Sam. I have not had the words to explain why we are at times in tears about Sam. Why Bug prefers we don't talk about Sam in front of him. Jet at times, seems concerned and I am unable to give him an understanding. That is difficult for us both.

The second subject is a personal one for me. I am a plus size gal, to put it bluntly. Recently Jet saw a picture of me at my Grandma's from my HS senior year. Years before PCOS ravaged my body. He gestured with his hands indicating small to big while puffing out his cheeks. Lovely. I simply smiled and gave the "God makes everybody a different size, shape and color" comment. One or two more times here at home he has made similar gestures and I have responded the same as well. I don't want to discourage him from expressing his thoughts but do feel uncomfortable. Then he did it while waiting in line at the post office a day ago. Obviously, I am aware he means no harm by it. And I know he doesn't have a grasp on our words for inappropriate, hurts feelings, for me to let him know why not to do it. Difficult for me as I already struggle being comfortable in my skin.

We knew there would be times we would struggle with the language barrier and I must say it has been so much easier than expected!! Just a few of the quirky times I thought I would share!!



Jay and Chandra and Penny Regan said...

We had the same kind of thing occurring with our daughter. She would talk about how Daddy is FAT! Fortunately, she is old enough that she could quickly learn to use an electronic dictionary for translation. We managed to explain to her that it is considered rude to tell someone that and asked her to stop. For the most part, that kind of talk has ceased. But, she still says things like worrying that our kitty might get fat! Having lived in an Asian country (Japan) before I know that they tend to be smaller people and they're very overly concerned about gaining weight. But, now our daughter has been talking about friends of hers who were healthy and too thin. Now she wants to gain weight and grow. So, hopefully, with time your son will also understand what terms are acceptable and have a more balanced view of body size.

Jay and Chandra and Penny Regan said...

Oops I meant to say that our daughter's friends who were too thin were UNHEALTHY!

Ann and Bryan said...

I have also been worried about my size in comparison to my naturally skinny hubby and my son-in-waiting being soooo tiny. I'm trying to take it off at the YMCA but it's true that it gets harder in your 30's than it was in your 20' "they" say. Hopefully your son will get past this phase and just love you as you are...his mommy.

rosemary said...

I don't know if you will find this helpful or not but after working in Thailand for so many years I have observed many Thais (even well educated adults)say to one another "You are very fat right now" or "Look how fat she is in that dress" within obvious earshot of the discussed person. It doesn't seem to be culturally offensive at all. Even though thin is the desired look for all Thais, as far as I can tell, they don't seem to have the horror of pointing out the obvious that we do. One time I asked a Thai co-worker about it and she said, "It's ok to say that in Thailand. We love each other even if you are fat or skinny. Doesn't matter." These comments are so pervasive, in fact, that "fat" and "skinny" were two of the first words I learned in Thai because I heard them repeated so often.

Kam said...

Aww, Megan. That's so hard. But I know you are handling it beautifully! I've had our girls {who obviously aren't Thai!} look at old pics of me and Jase and kinda do the same thing because we look so much younger and thinner. You hang in there. He'll get it. I'm sure you're right and he wouldn't intentionally say something to hurt you.

Love the new blog look, btw!
Love ya girly~

Jen and Jeff said...

Sorry to hear that. Tough one. I have to agree with Rosemary, though. I did find that was very much the case in Thailand. I had to nicely tell my friend my she was here that I was kinda offended when she would point out when I gained weight. They call each other fat all the time but I had to say, um, that is not really a nice thing to say to someone here!