Another week in the life of our fictional mother-of-two who, together with her husband (known as ‘hubby’), is raising a 5-year-old son and a 2-year-old daughter (referred to as S and D) to become bilingual. They have just moved from the hubby’s home country to another country, so a third language has been added to the mix. This week the family is on holiday “back home” in the town where our make-believe mother was born.
Every time I return to the town I was born in, I fall in love with it all over again. Being “back home” feels so good, especially since I haven’t lived here since I was in my twenties. What makes me really excited is noticing that S is happy to speak with his grandparents and other relatives and actually knows a lot more words than I thought he did. I was a bit worried about this, since I am more or less the only person he speaks the language with on a daily basis.
What I have however also noticed is that he is clearly lacking vocabulary in topics that I am not interested in myself, so I need to get better at covering sports, games and latest local kiddies’ stuff. S is very much into football now as he has seen his cousin play in a team (with real team shirts!), so I am off to recap on all things football in my language. D’s favourite past time is running after grandma and pointing at things so that grandma can tell her what they are called – somehow it is more exciting to play this game here than at home with me. It might also have to do with the fact that grandma seems to have sweets hidden in the strangest of places!
One of the greatest things about staying with my parents (or hubby’s, for that matter), is that he and I get the opportunity to have some real only-the-two-of-us time, At the same time the kids are immersed in the language and my parents have the chance to spoil their favourite people in the world. I call that a huge win-win-win! So on Tuesday we went off to the neighbouring city, did some shopping (I sometimes forget that it is possible to have a tranquil shopping experience) and had a wonderful meal without any interruptions. For the night we drove to the countryside and stayed at the most picturesque B&B – we ought to do this more often!
The kids weren’t completely out of my mind though (is that even possible?) – my shopping consisted mainly of books, DVDs and toys to support S’s and D’s language development. I always make some of the choices without their input (yes, we will go shopping for books together as well), because they will not always go for what I know is important for their language learning. My mum thinks I should always let them choose so they are interested in what I buy, but I have found that although they might not initially be that keen on a particular book, it won’t be long before they fall in love with it.
We are nearing the end of our holiday and, as always, the time has gone far too fast. I feel like I haven’t managed to do half of the stuff I wanted. I was planning to take S and D to a traditional fair, to a music event, to my favourite beach … but it is just not possible to cram everything in without making the holiday resemble a string of organised activities instead of the relaxing time I want it to be. I just have to do my best to transfer my love for my home country to them, so they will want to come back when they grow older and one day also visit on their own.