My Toddler Still Thinks I’m An Idiot

James Proclaims (4)

Back in June I wrote a post called My Toddler Thinks I’m An Idiot. Essentially I recounted how my wife and I were attempting to bring our daughter up to be bilingual in French and English. We were always quietly confident about the English bit of that particular ambition, what with English being our first language and the fact that we live in England. Indeed, barring any developmental difficulties for Little Proclaims, we would be somewhat remiss were we not to provide her with the capacity to communicate in our native tongue. Our ambitions for French stem from the fact that both Mrs Proclaims and I can speak French (though she far better than I) and we thought it was worth a go.

And back in June it all seemed to being proceeding rather well. Little Proclaims was actually demonstrating a greater knowledge of French than English, partially I think because lockdown had removed much of her access to friends and family and so she was stuck with just her parents for company. And we were speaking to her in French a lot.

Nonetheless, the odd English word was slipping into her babbling and it had become apparent to me that those little English cameos appeared to be more common when she was in my company.

And I used that as the premise for the aforementioned blog post.

But I didn’t really believe in my heart of hearts that Little Proclaims genuinely thought I was an idiot.

Fast forward several months and, like it or not, the UK is starting to return to something that isn’t quite normality but is more normal than before. A state of affairs that has been dubbed by some as ‘the new normal’ but it might be more accurately dubbed as ‘the state of affairs that results when a government massively misjudges the appropriate response to a pandemic and then panics about the economy’. Anyway, as a result of this quasi-normality, Little Proclaims has been exposed to lots of English again and consequently her conversational skills in her native language have caught up with those of the language we have rather forced upon her. And although she is still only two-years old, her verbal communication skills are coming on really well.

And obviously, as a proud father, I’m delighted with this development.

Except it has now become quite apparent that she genuinely thinks I can’t speak French. Because she only ever speaks to me in English. Literally she will say something to me. Something like “look daddy, look at the dog” and then she’ll turn to her mother and say the exact same thing in French “regardes maman, regardes le chien”.

And yes, this is impressive. But it’s also a little heartbreaking.

Because my toddler really does think I’m an idiot.

Although it occurred to me that she never, ever speaks to Mrs Proclaims in English.

So presumably she thinks my wife can’t speak English any more than she thinks I can speak French.

So, as my wife was gently mocking me about this the other day I turned to her and grinned

“It’s ok, she thinks you’re an idiot too.”

  32 comments for “My Toddler Still Thinks I’m An Idiot

  1. September 7, 2020 at 5:31 am

    Toddlers occassionally make accurate assessments of parental intelligence.

    Liked by 5 people

    • September 7, 2020 at 7:42 pm

      I’m not so sure. I still beat her at chess more often than she beats me

      Liked by 1 person

  2. September 7, 2020 at 5:36 am

    C’est très triste. Je n’ai pas utilisé google translate, j’étudie le français comme une langue seconde.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. September 7, 2020 at 6:28 am

    Ah, the caring and sharing of parenthood.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. September 7, 2020 at 6:34 am

    Oh, you only think she thinks your an idiot. Wait until she’s a teenager and is sure she knows all there is to know about life and especially more than her parents. Then you won’t have to figure out what she thinks.

    Liked by 4 people

    • September 7, 2020 at 7:44 pm

      I fear we’re alarmingly close to that already

      Liked by 1 person

      • September 8, 2020 at 3:27 am

        lololol. I can remember telling my son more than once, “I wish I was 15 again so I could know everything.”

        Liked by 1 person

  5. September 7, 2020 at 8:58 am

    we got to a stage where everything I said was crap, although admittedly she was a bit older.

    Liked by 2 people

    • September 7, 2020 at 7:45 pm

      Then I have much to look forward to

      Liked by 1 person

  6. September 7, 2020 at 11:55 am

    Did you keep the receipt?
    I got the ‘I think my Dad is a genius’ model, generally easier throughout their early life and puts off the discovery of the truth for at least eighteen years.

    Liked by 4 people

    • September 7, 2020 at 7:46 pm

      I think she ate the receipt during the ‘I’ll eat everything except the food you give me’ phase

      Liked by 1 person

  7. September 7, 2020 at 12:30 pm

    You should have got a german model, they are far more reliable!

    Liked by 2 people

    • September 7, 2020 at 7:47 pm

      I think it’s best we steer the conversation away from German models…


  8. September 7, 2020 at 2:21 pm

    How utterly marvelous. Two idiot parents and a wunderkind who takes that into account when communicating.

    Liked by 5 people

  9. September 7, 2020 at 4:32 pm

    Come on James, face facts. We’re all bloody idiots!

    Liked by 4 people

    • September 7, 2020 at 7:48 pm

      That’s probably a fair assessment

      Liked by 2 people

  10. September 7, 2020 at 4:33 pm

    My eldest genuinely thought I was called Daddy Mendit…

    Liked by 1 person

    • September 7, 2020 at 7:48 pm

      I’m called Daddy Funny which I quite like

      Liked by 1 person

  11. September 7, 2020 at 7:41 pm

    Bienvenue dans le monde étrange de Mademoiselle Proclaims …

    Liked by 1 person

  12. September 7, 2020 at 10:03 pm

    Don’t be too troubled. All my children think I’m an idiot, and none of them speak two languages Nes Pas

    Liked by 2 people

    • September 7, 2020 at 11:12 pm

      I though I might have a couple of years of being a hero before I became the inevitable zero though

      Liked by 1 person

      • September 8, 2020 at 12:27 am

        It was going to happen you’re just a little ahead of the curve. Don’t worry eventually you won’t know anything at all

        Liked by 1 person

  13. September 8, 2020 at 2:11 am

    If Little thinks you’re both idiots, then she must think that she herself is a throwback!😊

    Liked by 2 people

    • September 8, 2020 at 6:48 am

      I wouldn’t want to even guess what she thinks


  14. September 9, 2020 at 6:40 pm

    It only gets worse as they get older…

    Liked by 1 person

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