“No, Amber, es pla-tan-i-to.”

It was no hope. Four simple syllables seemed to be too much for the six year old. Amber looked up at Mamá, frustrated, pushing her curly blonde hair out of her face. Oh, what a little munchkin. Her hair so golden, so shiny, that a police horse had once taken a chomp after mistaking it for hay.

Actually, resembling hay might not be such a great testament to her hair’s shine.

“Can you make papatinos?” she pleaded again. It’d already been a full minute or two of trying to get her to say it properly. As the older sibling of 3 years, it was my job to teach her how to do things, right? But oh, how fun it was to just mess with her…

“Amber, what do you want?”


Mamá, the best grandmother out there, erupted into laughter beside me. “What she say? Amber, qué tú quieres?” Between Amber’s golden coloring and Mamá’s dark skin, they looked nothing alike. I guess you could say I’m somewhere in between the two. The perfect mix to translate Amber’s English into Mamá’s Spanish.

“Amber, say pla-tan-i-to,” I prompted, “or Mamá’s not gonna make it…” Of course she’d make it. I could smell the cooking bananas on the stove right now. But Amber didn’t need to know that, did she? Yes, listening to the devil on my shoulder was a lot more fun than being the classic good big sister.

“Bella, tell Mamá I want papatinos!”

“You want what? I don’t know what you’re saying!” Oh, but that might’ve been too much for her, still so easily frustrated, to handle. Please, please, please don’t start crying…

“Amber, you know what that sounds like? A giant!”

“What?” her face, which had been priming to start the waterworks of begging, paused to look up at me. Even Mamá stopped laughing at Amber and remembered to go back to the stove, otherwise the so-called “papatinos” would burn.

“Yeah, Ams! It sounds like something you say if you’re a giant. Like, ‘Fee, fi, fo, fum..’” I struggled for a rhyme… “‘Gimme a papatino or I’ll eat your thumb!’” Yes, because that made total and complete sense. But hey, it worked! Instead of continuing to whine about no one understanding her, Amber started saying it, too.

“Fee! Fi! Fo! Fum! Gimme a papatino or I’ll eat your thumb!”

Now, let’s be honest. Who doesn’t love an adorable little kid threatening to bite your finger off for not giving her food?


(PS- shoutout to Miguelito Platanito!)