Trouble with S-P-E-L-L-I-N-G / by Susie Lubell

Parents have been spelling in front of their toddlers since forever. It used to be you could speak your native language in front of your kids so they wouldn't understand (although they always did) but now we all want our kids to be polyglots so we try really hard to get them to learn Mandarin from mom, Danish from dad, Nepalese from the nanny and English at school. Or in our case it's just Hebrew and English. So my husband and I are spellers, or at least we try to be. The problem is we each stink at spelling in the other language.

Yesterday we were at the park across from our house with the kids and I said to my husband, "Do you mind if we just give him C-H-E-E-S-Y P-A-S-T-A tonight?" That's our word for Mac and Cheese. My sister-in-law started saying that for some reason and it stuck in our family too. Anyway, we usually try to make him real food but sometimes it's a cheesy pasta night because we can't be bothered cooking.

So he looked at me sort of weird and here I am thinking, spare me your moral opposition to feeding our son a frozen entree, and as I'm formulating my retort - all five legitimating points and my closing argument - I can sort of hear some squeaking and clanking coming from the direction of my Israeli husband. And then I realize it's his brain trying to put those letters together and coming up short.

So he cracks a smile and I have a giggle. And then I see him actually spelling out the letters in the sand at the playground. At this point we are both hysterical.

Me: Are you KIDDING me?
Him: Wait, what was it? T-H-E-E...
Me: No, C!
Him: T-H-E-C-Y? What the hell is that? A sauce?

We can't even finish our conversation because neither of us is breathing from all of the laughing and snorting. The truth is I can't even ridicule him too much (even though it's entertaining) because I'm even worse. When he spells in Hebrew I literally have to sound out each letter which of course totally defeats the purpose.