I’ve always loved interesting expressions from other languages. Similarly to the German words shadenfreude (the feeling of pleasure at another’s misfortune) or fremdshämen (the feeling of embarrassment on behalf of someone who has done something embarrassing and didn’t notice), sometimes people in another part of the world have found an efficient way to describe something we all recognize, and I enjoy exploring those words and phrases.
A while ago, I was talking with a friend who works in Budapest about the trials of parenthood. He has a new baby girl, while I have a teenager and another child who is approaching the teen years. While commiserating about the various tortures children (no matter how wonderful) can inflict, he said
Kis gyerek kis gond, nagy gyerek nagy gond.
This roughly translates to “small child, small ideas; big child, big ideas”.
My initial thought was something I heard once (and I wish I could find the reference!): “Small minds, small ideas,” referring to intellect or pettiness. But that really didn’t seem to fit the context, so I thought about it and asked my friend for clarification.
He confirmed that this saying refers to the much larger capacity older children have for getting into trouble. I think any parent knows that the older children get, the more, well, interesting their ideas become. I’m all for expanding both minds and horizons, but it does come with the occasional downside.
In this vein, I’m also looking into another Hungarian saying that translates to, “dressed up like a grape,” which I’m told refers to fancy dress. I’m not sure if this is a reference to wine or maybe to the expensive dyes involved in blues and purples, but I’m very curious about the source of this one. I’ll share if I am able to find out more.