“YOLO! YOLO!” I watched as a woman shouted up to her son at a soft play area a few weeks ago. While I admired her for getting involved while most other mothers sat around drinking coffee, and envied her positive attitude, I did wonder if “you only live once” was a bit of an over enthusiastic message for a toddler climbing up a slide.
After a few minutes, when her calls became a bit less encouraging and more demanding I realised it was actually time for Iolo (a Welsh name pronounced Yolo) to come out of the play area and have his dinner. It made me giggle to myself, and I started to think about other things that only parents living in Wales will understand.
As above, giving your child a Welsh name is a lovely way of celebrating your culture … BUT, it can cause difficulties if they choose to leave their home country. I worked with someone in England who for the life of him could not pronounce the name Angharad. The closest he got was Angry-rad, which I don’t think she was too impressed with. Fflur, Heulwen, Geraint and Dafydd are all popular, but are almost guaranteed to be mispronounced outside Wales … and don’t get me started on autocorrect, you never know what you’re going to get!
Football or rugby?
Which do you send your child to?! Rugby Tots, Soccer Tots, or do you avoid a family rift and go to toddler gymnastics instead?
The pride of pinning a leek or daffodil to your child on St David’s Day:
And knowing your son will come home with his leek half chewed!
Choosing a school:
Most parents will face a dilemma when choosing a school for their little one – does it have the right feel? Are the teachers friendly? Will their friends be going there? Add to that the decision of Welsh or English education and it becomes 10 times worse! On one hand, your child will be bilingual at a very early age, but on the other you worry they’ll struggle if you don’t speak Welsh at home. This is one I agonised over for a long time.
Googling nursery rhyme lyrics:
Our boys go to a bilingual nursery, so the eldest often comes home singing Welsh songs. It’s lovely until he wants me to join in and I have no idea what he’s singing! It doesn’t help when he doesn’t quite know the words either and we all end up making them up.
Explaining, or not, the difference between languages:
We’re trying to encourage the use of both English and Welsh at home, but it’s so hard to explain the difference between languages to a three-year-old. He was completely baffled the other day when a woman asked if he goes to English or Welsh school, and answered with “I go to Italian school”. She looked questioningly at him and he repeated slowly and clearly “I. Go. To. Italian. School.” That’s a conversation I would have missed if we lived in England!
All the comments on their accents:
Children’s features are exaggerated in so many ways, and our toddler has the most Welsh accent you’ll ever hear. Any time we leave our home town – yes, even if we’re still in Wales – I’ll have a comment about just how strong it is. It’s all “come yuuurrr” and “mammyyyy, MAMMYYYY” with him.
Welsh children’s TV:
You think there’s something a bit odd about In the Night Garden? You don’t know strange until you’ve seen Dai Disgo bust some moves. We watched in horror one morning, before switching back to sensible old CBeebies and never returning to S4C. Honestly, Welsh language children’s TV takes bizarre to a whole new level.
These are just a few examples I’ve come up with … can you think of any?! Let me know in the comments, or over on my Facebook page.