Before I came to the States, one of my worries about the Littleboys would be that they would pick up American accents which would take years to wear off.
Funnily enough, this no longer bothers me. So what if they sound like little Yankees when we return to London; if they pronounce bath as 'bay-yeth' and fast and 'fay-ast'. In a way I think I'd prefer that to either a Sarf London accent (which they'd have picked up if they had gone to the local school) or sounding like a mini Hooray Henry (if we'd gone private, perhaps...).
However, it has been dawning on me recently that there are certain expressions here that, while they seem perfectly acceptable in America, would not go down well in a British school.
For example: we've been given a book to read by Littleboy 1's school. It's a book that the whole school is supposed to read, two chapters a day, to encourage a love of reading, and of course, I'm all in favour of that - although I do think that a chapter book that appeals to 8 year olds is a little over the head of a five year old who can't even read yet. But, still. We started reading it yesterday and in the first chapter, was the sentence: "What a bummer!"
Reader, I missed it out. I do not want my five year old going around saying 'bummer' - which I am sure he would find hilarious. Sure, he's bound to pick up such expressions as time goes on, and I know it's not exactly a swear word (or curse word, as they would say here). But I don't want it to be from a book - surely that would sanction it as being something that's absolutely fine to say? And it's not the first time we've had that in a book - it was there in another kids' story, which he brought home from the school library.
The other one is 'butt'. Now I may be wrong, but isn't 'butt' perceived as pretty crude in the UK? (Personally it makes me think of Beavis and Butthead
- ugh). I don't know what small children should call bottoms in England - bottoms, I think is probably the best - I'm not sure I'd even be comfortable with bum till they are a little bit older, and definitely, arse can wait until later. But here in the States, butt appears to be a perfectly normal word, used by teachers, gym instructors and everyone else. Consequently, Littleboy 1 always now refers to 'my butt' (usually with weird kind of gyratory actions) and also, annoyingly, seems to have picked up the expression 'butthead'. Again, I really don't know how this would go down back in England, especially at school........ so I keep telling him to stop using the word, and have even tried to explain the differences between here and there. (Sadly I think the horse may have bolted on this one...)
So tell me, should I just chill out? After all, my own language isn't exactly perfect, and I don't object to adults or older children saying these words. Am I over-reacting, and should I just let it lie......or accept that it's, well, a bummer?