Spanish lesson: Dads, Parents, Potatoes, Popes & The Best Dad in the World

As a former ESL teacher, I know that one of the most difficult things about learning a new language is that words can have more than one meaning.

As a bilingual wife and mom, it's my job to try to take full advantage of those multiple meanings, every chance I get.

Case in point, Jack's homework.  His teacher sends home these ticker-tape style notes with the day's homework assignment.

Homework Example 1

At the end of the first bullet point, the teacher uses the words los papás.  Los papás can mean either "the dads" or "the parents".  Since this particular homework assignment included cutting several pieces of a tangram, I tried to convince Hubby that the teacher was clearly stating that she  wanted the dads to do the work.

But Hubby wasn't falling for it.

Yesterday, Jack brought home this paper with another message addressed to Papás.
Homework example 2

Since the teacher is thanking and congratulating the papás for their hard work and help with the homework assignments, it's obvious that she is referring to "the parents".  Moms AND dads.  But Hubby is convinced that she is just thanking "the dads".

What do you think?

Speaking of papás,  I want to wish Hubby, the best papá and husband in the whole wide world, a very Happy 39th Birthday!
Hubby birthday

I love you, Alfie!  Que Dios te de muchos años mas! 

*Bonus Spanish Lesson:  The word Papas, without the accent over the second "a", can mean either potatoes or Popes, as in head of the Catholic church.

**Linking up with my good friend, Latinaish, for a Semi-Spanish Friday


  1. njones@justicejonesie.comOctober 21, 2011 at 7:27 AM

    Cute story.  Sure the teacher meant moms and dads, right? :) 
    Happy bday to your hubby!  

  2. Happy Birthday to your hubby, he sounds like a wonderful guy.  

    Speaking of words meaning two things, you got me to the dictionary because the only meaning I knew for oración was prayer and I didn't think those were prayers.  Turns out, it can mean phrase too, or even sentence.  I'll have to figure out how to use it casually and see if they think I'm praying or talking about grammar!  

  3. Tell Hubby happy birthday!

  4. We use the word padres in El Salvador for parents, and I still haven't gotten the hang of where the accents go, so for most of this post I was finding it strange that in Mexico they use the same word for parents and potatoes.  I really do learn something everyday.

  5. Hi Jennifer!  We use the word "padres" for parents too.  But this teacher prefers to use the word "papás". Using the word "padres" though could still cause some confusion as it's also the Spanish word for "father" and "priest". :P 

  6. I think you're right.  In both cases ;)  ha ha ha.  Happy birthday to the hubs! Today is my daughter's bday, too. Birthday twins.

  7. What a sweet post, Leslie! Feliz Cumpleaños a Alfie!! Se ve como alguien con quien se pudiera pistear bien tranquilo, shooting the bird you know, jajaja!  And yes, I totally agree with him... that second message was clearly addressed to dad only!! Somos bien convenencieros nosotoros los machos, jaja!

  8. Another thing we have in common! :)  Happy Birthday to your daughter! 

  9. Happy Birthday to your hubby! 

    I guess he can take full credit for thanks today.  Next week is another story ;) 

  10. Jenny @simmerandsteamOctober 21, 2011 at 3:33 PM

    Great Post! Though my feminist inclinations immediately snap to attention at the ways in which languages can be so sexist (english included), but we'll give the teacher the benefit of the doubt :)

  11. Feliz cumpleaños to your wonderful hubby. I think he might be a little convenenciero when it comes to the meaning of papás.

  12. Or my favorite Spanish pun for Eggs Benedict: los huevos del Papa.

  13. oh I love this post! So cute!!! Happy Bday to your hubby!
    Psst.. I taught ESL for a time as well - I loved it. ;-)

  14. fun! Happy birthday to him and many more for sure. Great for you guys for raising a bilingual child. I don't know what I'd do if I didn't speak or write Spanish! gah! 

  15. Hahaha, smart move. I should start working my language to my advantage too! 

  16. Awww!  Happy belated b-day to ur hubby!.