Tonight, I read for the first time a story book that has been standing on Leo’s bookshelf for a year now. The reason why he has always been reluctant to read it with me is quite simple. He has seen the movie. And we all know that having seen the movie always spoils the book.
In fact, it’s a bit more complicated than that. He’s seen the video in French, and the book is (originally!) in Swedish (Anton’s stenar). Since Leo’s mom and dad have a rather strict division of labor in terms of story telling – meaning that mom reads only in French and dad only in Swedish – it is actually quite logical that Leo didn’t want to read the book with me, since he regarded it as a “French” story.
Well, tonight that changed.
After some deliberating, Leo agreed to read Anton’s stenar with me. Leo immediately started filling in, interrupting and cutting me off – in French!
Me: “And then Anton picks up…”
Leo: “…une pierre!”
But it gets better.
As the story continues, Anton (a dog obsessed with collecting stones, by the way) believes that the stones he finds “are alone, bored or cold”. Hearing the phrase “ha det trist” (EN: being bored), Leo turns to me and asks me in Swedish, “what does ‘trist’ mean?” I realize he’s confused, because he actually knows the word, but has confounded it with the French “être triste” (EN: being sad). Of course, being francophone, he knows very well the meaning of being “triste”, but for the first time is confronted with a semantic dilemma. He looks to his father with a quizzical gaze, sort of: “are you sure about that???”
Resolving his dilemma with the faux amis was maybe not so spectacular – but getting there was and the realization that this four-year old is capable of stuff I maybe couldn’t learn until high school is mind-boggling.