Interpreter Lessons

The children sat at the picnic table eating their sandwiches. They ate slower and slower and slower. The oldest child looked at the playground longingly for the twentieth time.   “Three more bites,” Mom said.

The children cheered. The three oldest ate quickly and ran off to play. The youngest circled the table and looked up at her Uncle Rob with big eyes. “Unko.   Wanna die,” she said.

“You want what?” Uncle Rob said. “I don’t think I understood you correctly. Let’s ask your mom.”

He turned to his sister. “Hey, what’s she saying?”

“I wasn’t listening,” she said. “Sweetie, what did you say?”

“Wanna die,” the child said.

“Do you want to do on a drive?” she asked. “Are you sleepy?” She turned to her brother. “Sometimes we drive around and listen to music to get her to sleep.”

The little girl frowned. “Not die,” she said. “Die.   Wanna die.”

“Ride? Would you like a ride on the swings?”

Uncle Rob smiled. “I could do that. I’m good at pushing swings.” He flexed his muscles.

“Noooooooo. Not die.   Die. Die. Wanna die.”   The little girl stomped her foot.

“Well, um, how do you do that?” her mom asked.

“In dare. Zoom zoom,” the little girl said and waved her arm.

“In the dark? You want to hide?” Uncle Rob asked.


“In there? You want to spy?” her mom asked.


“Let’s see if your sister knows what you’re saying,” her mom said.

They called her sister over. “What is she saying?” Uncle Rob asked.

“Wanna die,” the little girl told her sister.

“You want to ride?”









“Wes. Wanna die,” the little girl said.

Her sister nodded. “She wants to play airplane. She wants to fly.”

“Oh, okay. Thank you,” her mom said.

“I’m great at playing airplane,” Uncle Rob said.   He flexed his muscles. “Wings out.” The little girl held her arms straight out. He picked her up around the middle and flew her around the park.

Finally, he returned out of breath and set her down.   “That was fun,” he said.

“Unko. Wanna day.”

Uncle Rob looked at his sister. “What’s she saying this time?” he asked.

“I wasn’t listening,” she said. “Sweetie, what did you say?”

“Wanna day,” the little girl said.

“You want to play?” her mom asked.

“Noooooo. Not day. Day. Wanna day.”

Uncle Rob laughed. His sister frowned. “I’ll figure it out. She just doesn’t know enough consonants yet.”

“It’s a good thing she’s learning then,” he said.   “Because you’re a terrible interpreter.”

His sister sighed. “I guess learning a foreign language is just not one of my talents.”