Exciting news from the real life of our fictional multilingual family!
Sorry for not writing for a long time, I have not been very well … or actually, I am feeling fantastic, over the moon to be precise! Yes, you guessed it, we are having baby number three! If all goes well, there will be five members in our multilingual family in August. I have been so tired these last few months so have only managed to do the absolute necessary apart from my teaching job at the university. I am so, so happy I am only working part-time.
It was a really lovely afternoon today, so I decided to pick up D a bit early from the nursery and go for a walk in the park – also, I really needed some fresh air. D has picked up so many new words now, so I am having a hard time keeping up with her language journal. During a Skype session with grandpa and grandma last week she learnt a new word for a specific type of biscuit. I didn’t think much of it at the time. D loves those biscuits very much so I took some with me for our walk. Since she knows that I have them in the bag, she first asks for them quietly, but when I say that she can have them when we sit down, she shouts the word very loudly. It was not until I saw the appalled faces of an elderly couple that I realised what the word sounded like a very naughty word in this country. Oops … at first I was going to go and explain to the couple, but when D repeated her request a few more times before I could reach for the biscuit, I just continued, hoping to make a quick exit. D was happy and shouted the word once more in a very delighted voice just when we walked past the couple. Sigh … those biscuits will only be eaten at home in the future.
Today I noticed for the first time that S used the language he speaks at school when he talked to D. I can’t help but feel a bit disappointed, I was hoping I could keep up my or their dad’s language as their common language, but it doesn’t look like that will happen. This puts a bit of a worry in my mind about our next family addition – how will hubby and I manage to pass on our languages to him or her, when big brother and sister are bringing in more of the majority language to the home?
I am so happy we started focusing on more daddy one-to-one time for D. Feeling like I do, I really don’t know how I could have coped with both S and D around me, with all their energy and wanting me to do this, that and the other. The extra time hubby and D have been spending together has really made a difference to her vocabulary in “daddy’s language”.
Don’t kids just know when you are really exhausted and don’t have much energy? I have tried for so long, without success, to get S interested in learning to read and write in my language – and when do you think he announces that now is the time?! Early on a Sunday when I have just come out of the bathroom having been sick all morning. There he stands with a pen and paper and the school book that grandma sent, telling me he needs to write something in our language. Apparently another boy at school, who is also bilingual, knows how to write in his home language and S wants to show off his language too. I don’t know where I mustered the oomph to sit down with him, but some moments are just too precious to not grab hold of. Let’s see how it goes.
May the peace and power be with you.
© Rita Rosenback 2017
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