I love to listen to grown-ups when they talk. Sometimes, they say weird things. And that’s when I have to ask for explanations. I have made a list in my head of “expressions” that can be quite funny. I feel like sharing them with you.
Without rhyme or reason (in French, “It has no tail and no head”): when something doesn’t make sense, when we don’t understand what it means. For example, this is a story without rhyme or reason (in French, “This story has no tail and no head”).
To get on one’s high horse: to get annoyed, to lose your temper, to get angry. For instance, if I do something silly and mommy gets angry, I could tell her, “Get off your high horse”. But then she would say I am impertinent and she would remain on her high horse, so definitely do not say that to mommy when she loses her temper! The meaning in English is different as it means someone with a pretentious attitude. So: similar expression but different meaning!
To take the bull by the horns: when you are facing a problem or find yourself in a difficult situation, and you try to find a solution. For instance, the other day, I had a lot of math homework, and I felt discouraged because the only thing I really wanted to do was play. So I took the bull by the horns, I sat in front of my math notebook and started working.
Your eyes are bigger than your tummy: when you take another serving at the table while you really are not hungry anymore. Just like the other day, when we made a pizza that was so beautiful but especially delicious (I had selected all my favorite toppings!) I had already eaten two slices, but I was a bit of a glutton and I asked for a third slice. After one bite I could feel that my belly was not ok with this. I was not hungry anymore. But my eyes were bigger than my tummy, which is why I had asked for more (mommy was not happy about it because I do this quite often).
To toss in the towel (in French, “To give your tongue to the cat”): to give up. When we don’t know an answer and that we don’t want to try to find it anymore. Sometimes, when my grandpa and I solve riddles, and I don’t find an answer, I toss in the towel.
Like pulling teeth (in French, “To pull the worms out of someone’s nose”): to get the information, to draw a secret from someone . It means to try to get someone to say something they are not willing to at first. Just like the time mommy came to pick me up at school and she told me there was a surprise waiting for me at home. I asked her tons of questions to try to make her tell me what the surprise was; it was like pulling teeth. (It actually was a strawberry lollipop!)
To sleep like a baby (in French, "To sleep on both ears"): this is when you have a very good night rest. When you get up tomorrow morning, if you slept well, you’ll be able to tell the grown-ups, “Well, I slept like a baby.”
To have a green thumb: to be a good gardener. When I see how well all the plants grow in our little garden, I really think I have a green thumb!
Not be faint-hearted (in French, “To not feel cold in your eyes”): to be bold. This is when we are not scared. Mommy often says that my little brother is not faint-hearted because he follows me in the big-kid areas without hesitation!
It is not all that difficult (in French, “It’s not the sea to drink”): for instance, when I took the bull by the horns to do my math homework and that it did not take that much time, mommy could have told me, “You see, Ptit Bunny, it was not the sea to drink!”, but she would actually have said 'it was not that difficult!'.
It is so much fun to learn!
Translation and adaptation by Nicolas, Véronique and Kim Peacock-Geenens