Bear with me here:
Sleep: Czech parents ‘spat’, their children ‘spinkat’ (excuse the infinitives)
Drink: Czech mums and dads ‘pit’, their kids ‘bumbat’
Eat: Grown-ups ‘jist’, their offspring ‘hamat’
Sick: You and I ‘zvracet’, little babies ‘blinkat’
It’s kind of cute that Czech children have their own set of words for the basic functions. And they’re such nice words too. I always thought another cutey-kiddy-sounding word was ‘blit’ (it sounds better if you decline it), another verb meaning to be sick (vomit). And since I have always been hesitant about using ‘zvracet’ – the consonantal cluster at the beginning makes me all hot and bothered – for ten years or so I have been using ‘blit’, thinking it’s okay, I’m a foreigner, they’ll think it's quite endearing. I used it with the sniggering workmen – yeah, the baby won’t stop being sick; the aghast parents-in-law – we can’t come over, Hatty and Edwina keep being sick; the unflinching doctor – I feel really sick, doc.
Tonight Hatty explained to me that ‘blit’ is most definitely not a children’s word. In fact, it’s worse than spray painting the loo, worse than barfing, much much worse than chunky blasting. I can imagine that Glaswegians might have something close, but even they wouldn’t say it to the doctor. It’s on a par with telling your mother-in-law I f*cking crapped my friggin’ pants, bitch. I’ve been acting like Mr Bean obliviously flipping the bird on Sunset Boulevard. Why did no one tell me? I feel… oh God, you know how I feel.