Fantastic news from the father of our fictional multilingual family, who are living the very real highs and lows of millions of bilingual mothers, fathers and children across the world. They welcome the latest addition to their family on what is the last page from the diary for now. Don’t despair, though, there will be more diary entries but with a slightly different twist!
I don’t know how women do it – I am lucky to have been able to be present at the births of all our children and my respect for my gorgeous wife knows no bounds. These are the times when the phrase “I’d do anything for you” is an understatement of how much I appreciate my gorgeous wife. So when she whispered “Could you write the diary this week?” just before she drifted off for a well-earned nap in the sofa, I said “of course!” without hesitation. Then it hit me what I had just promised. Me. Writing. Diary. With emotions and all. Empty head. Wa-a-a-y out of comfort zone. But here goes, bear with me, I am new at this!
“Stop waffling and write about the big news!” – I could hear my sweet wife’s instructions in my head. Oh, of course:
IT’S A BOY!
and we are all deliriously happy (and I don’t mind being wrong in predicting it would be a girl). We are now a family of FIVE and it feels perfect – how far she and I have come in the nine years after we met in the tiny old café in her home town!
Living in a house with a new-born baby, his understandably still very tired mummy, an enthusiastic but a bit grumpy 3-year-old (she wanted a sister), an equally excited (but not really showing it) six-year-old big brother and two over-the-moon grandmothers feels a bit chaotic (another understatement), but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Our parents have been such a big support for us, especially with the languages, that I am ready to put up with almost any amount of “let me do that for you”, “are you sure that’s the best way to do it?” and “you have to taste this, you’ll like it” from both my mother-in-law and my own dear mum. I am however looking forward to (and simultaneously dreading) the time when we can be on our own, learn our new routines and get to know the life of a family of five.
Today S, D and I took grandma MM (my mother-in-law) to the airport and there were tears all around as usual. Not that I would ever admit it publicly, but even I shed a tear. She has stayed with us for almost a month and has been a tremendous help, not only to my wife, but to S and D who have been playing and singing with her every day, not to forget the bedtime stories – learning new words and becoming more and more confident in using mummy’s language. They are already missing her so much, and – although I can’t always follow everything she says – I am truly grateful for her help. She and my mum are so different, so I admire them for getting along so well (except a few rather funny tiffs about how to dress the baby).
Sometimes I do have doubts about whether we can manage to maintain all the three languages for our little ones. If we stay in this country (which I think we will, at least for the foreseeable future), they will learn the local lingo. They will also be speaking much more of their mummy’s language as she will stay at home with them for a couple of more years. What I am worried about is how I can keep my language going with D and the baby. Since S was already five when we moved here and is generally chattier, he is a lot more confident and switches languages easily. How can I achieve the same with D and her little brother? They will never be surrounded by the language like S was during his first five years. Will I have the strength to keep it up? Grandma PM (my mum) will be staying with us for another week – I know I will need all the help I can get from her and my dad with passing on the family language to their grandchildren.
You know what, this diary-writing isn’t that bad after all, it kind of crystallises your thoughts…
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 Part 16 Part 17 Part 18 Part 19
Thank you for taking part in our family’s multilingual journey so far. Look out for an ebook where you will be able to read all entries (PLUS some additional ones) – all in one go! You will soon also be able to continue following the family in a new, slightly different series of diary entries.