Saturday, 5 June 2010

Peace Love and Understanding.

When we were little, my sister and I loved going to Boston to see my family for lots of reasons of course...One of them was my uncle Marty's house. They had cable. AND they had MTV. This was back in 1980ish when we still had black and white TV in our house. There was no remote. We didn't know what cable was.

My sister introduced me to MTV and music. She explained to me - in all her prepubescent knowloedge- that the videos were all fake. The bands didn't really exist. MTV made the bands up. David Byrne's big head in the Burning Down the House video, platinum blond Billy Idol snarling at us from the TV, Naked Eyes and a dorky looking man named Elvis Costello...None of this actually has anything to do with the rest of this post except that Elvis Costello and the Attractions recorded a song entitled the same as this post...

Last week, Max started clapping. By the end of the week, he was clapping when verbally prompted without hand gestures in both French (bravo) and English (clap). By the end of the same day , when the nanny said "au revoir" to Max, he picked up his cute little hand and twirled it around in the air while bending his little fingers.

As we were leaving some friends at the park a couple days later, Max did it again! But this time, he began waving bye-bye before I'd even said we were leaving, before he was even in the stroller. This means he'd picked up on some non-verbal social clues which is key to bilingual kids (or so I've read).

But wait, I'm not finished. As I was feeding him lunch on Saturday, I asked if he wanted more while making the sign for more with my hands (we try to sign with him a little like we did for Suzanne). And half way through the meal, when I asked him if he wanted more without signing, he put his little hands together repeatedly and tried to immitate the sign without me prompting.

That's it for the understanding. Any parent - especially the parent of a bilingual child for whom it may or may not be more complicated than monolingual kids- is in a state of relieved awe at the first reciprocal sign that their child has integrated and understood all the garbled confusion they've heard over their first few months of their little lives.

The peace and love part is the silent moto in our house at the moment. Suzanne and Max love each other so very much and I do hope that sibling rivalry (and any future toy theft or worse) will not take that away.

1 comment:

Scott said...

Woo hoo for Max - I still remember that relief and I wasn't even worrying about the bilingual thing.

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