From the diary of a bilingual mother, part 16

by | Apr 13, 2016 | Challenges, Family life | 1 comment

From the diary of a bilingual mother

Snapshots from the everyday life of our (growing) fictional multilingual family, written by a bilingual mother.


Feeling a lot better, no morning sickness anymore but still extremely tired, just like with the previous two. I fall asleep on the sofa most evenings and I am so happy that hubby has taken over most of the bedtime routines with S an D. Thankfully both grandparents are also helping by doing virtual babysitting in the evenings, reading books and playing games with S and D via Skype. The reading works great when they have some of the same books as we have here. S enjoys these one-to-one moments, especially with his grandpas. D still needs daddy to be there with her to turn the pages.


It has felt a bit like I am losing the battle on which language S and D speak with each other. Until recently it was my language, but since S has gone to school he more often than not uses his school language with D as well. I really don’t want to put pressure on him, so my strategy from now on is – especially with a new sister or brother on the way – that I need his help. He is the big brother and only he can help me teach both D and the baby our language. He gave me a curious look when I said this to him, as if he didn’t know what to make of it. When I explained that daddy can’t do it and grandma and grandpa are so far away, he seemed to accept and start liking the idea more and more. He now wishes for the baby to be a boy so he can teach him all the names for dinosaurs! That’s not quite what I was planning to start with, but hey, I will take it!

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At this rate our internet service provider is going to tell us that we are using too much bandwidth! There are often two simultaneous Skype sessions going on in the evenings and now hubby has started to open one in the mornings as well! If the kids are up, he places our laptop on the kitchen table, calls either set of grandparents and then they all have breakfast together (and I get a precious 20 more minutes in bed!) I am so pleased to hear that hubby noticed D getting braver each time and is no longer as shy to say something.


I think I mentioned that S has finally started showing some interest in learning to write in my language? His skills in daddy’s language are better and so is his writing, so it is a big relief to me that it wasn’t just a passing fancy to learn to write in mummy’s language as well. He has now started writing letters to his cousin! That’s real letters, not just emails or some other electronic messaging – we are going at a rate of one letter per week at the moment, and it’s now the first thing he asks when he comes from school: ”Did I get a letter?” I remember having lots of pen pals when I was young, I know the feeling.

Want to know what happened to the family before? You can read previous entries via these links:
Part 1  Part 2  Part 3  Part 4  Part 5  Part 6  Part 7  Part 8 Part 9 Part 10 Part 11 Part 12 Part 13 Part 14 Part 15

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1 Comment

  1. Noreen Paul

    very helpful to read this. English is my husband’s language and our kids who used to use mine at home don’t do it anymore because my oldest went to school in England for few months and that was enough to set the new tone! it is unfortunate in a sense that English is everywhere, there are good cartoons, cbeebees and all sorts in English but virtually not enough fun programs in mine. Living as expats now elsewhere, the oldest is confident to go to the International school whereas we have been trying to put the second son (3) in the local. Again really this doesn’t work, all expats want to get together, kids talk about the International school and there are playdays whereas doing that sort of thing with locals is not doable here. The older one however is showing interest in learning to write in my language and I need to work on it more. I encourage them sign aunties’ birthday cards in that language and helpfully one expat lady seeing the writing told my oldest she thought he was very clever to be able to write in that so he got excited. but oh man what a challenge! When our third was born I kept going with using my language with her too so they say things to her in that language rather than English- so far. Anyway, need to go back to the kids now.


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