(two silly chickens in their room chattering away)
Hank: Are you ready to get up, mana (sister)?
Molly: Sim (yes). Aussie pie-u?
Hank: What are you saying?
Molly: Aussie Pie-u, mano (brother)? Aussie Pie-u?
Hank: I don’t know what that means, mana (sister).
Molly: Aussie pie-UU? Mano, anda, anda cá. (come, come here).
Me: (entering their room and turning on the light) Good morning, chickens.
Molly: Mãe (mom), aussie pie-u?
Hank: I have no idea what she is saying.
Me: She is asking to sit by you. She is saying, “I sit by you.”
Molly: (nodding) Aussie pie-u, mano (brother)? Hulk SMASH. Aussie pie-u?
Hank: You want to sit by me on the sofa and watch Hulk Smash?
Molly: (delighted to no end) SIM (YES)!
Me: (smiling) Toddler speak is tricky. You’ve gotta decode your way through it using context and environmental clues 72% of the time. (lifting Molly out of the crib) Soon your sister will have full command of language and you will miss these moments of misunderstanding.
Molly: (clinging desperately to my neck, worried) Mama, Shur-megas? Shur-megas?
Hank: What are shur-megas?
Me: Molly, there are no formigas (ants)
Hank: Oh, (giggling)
Me: And anyway formigas (ants) are kind and our friends and you don’t need to be worried about a tiny little buggy. They are scared of you. You are so big, so big!
Hank: Come on, mana (sister). I will hold your hand. Don’t be scared of formigas (ants) or moscas (flies).
Molly: (scared, clinging to his leg, all bed head and footie pajamas) Ah! Mooscas.
Me: (making Molly’s bed) Oh MaGoo, you remember what I told you. Moscas (flies) are friends, too. Don’t be scared. Do not be scared of little buggies! Moscas (flies) just want to fly around like butterflies and say, buzz, buzz, buzz.
Molly: (toddling out of the room holding her brother’s hand) No quero (want) buzz, buzz butterflies. No quero (want). (shanking her head no)
Hank: (giggling) I will protect you and teach you to protect yourself, mana (sister). Don’t be scared, be brave. You need to be brave. Brave people are scared too, but they just do things anyway.
Molly: No buzz, buzz butterflies, mano (brother).
Hank: We’ll catch the buzz, buzz butterflies together and let them outside, okay?
Molly: Okay. Aussie Pie-U?
Hank: Yes, of course you can sit by me.
Me: (following behind with dirty laundry, beaming)
Glossary of Toddler and Portuguese terms in order of appearance:
Aussie Pie-U: I sit by you
Anda Cá: Come here
Shur-Megas: (from Portuguese) any bug on the ground.
Buzz Buzz Butterfly: Fly