Sunday, we had friends over for a long lunch. (Hot crab dip with crudités, crostini with tapenade, crostini with fresh sheep cheese and tomates confites - roasted chicken with greek potatoes - arugala salad - pecan torte with lemon curd, for those of you who like to know what's cooking.) The couple JP and S, are both French and have two boys, aged 7 and 3 1/2. The adults drank and ate and talked, the boys ate and played and got very dirty.
When they arrived, we kissed (faire la bise) the way they do here in Laval, once on each cheek (in some regions it's twice on each cheek - R-L-R-L) . For kids, it's just once on one cheek, they get a discount since they're under 10. But even that is too much for Boy2 most of the time, who is too little to be requred to systematically participate in those kinds of rituals, at least that's how husband and I see it.
S (the mom), approched Boy2, said bonjour and tried to kiss his cheek. Boy2 hid his face in my legs and said, "Mama, I don't like her." S looked to me for a translation. I said, "He said he's feeling a little shy. Don't worry, he just needs a little time to get used to you." Which he did, sort of. He mostly just avoided her.
At one point during the afternoon, he had a slight altercation over a hole he was digging (thus the dirt) with one of the other boys. Gestures were made, names were called, pushes were exchaged. Boy2 ran over with a fake I'm-sooooo-hurt face for a hug. While in my arms, S, who was sitting next to me, tried to cheer him up with tickles and funny faces. None of which were well received. He switched his head to the other shoulder as to avoid her gaze and said, "I don't like you, leave me alone!" Again the please-translate look. I provided one, "He said he just needs to rest a little."
Now, S is a mom and she knows how kids are and I'm sure she wouldn't have been vexed by his comments. But still. It is so nice to be able to provide translations à la carte.