Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Max: 15 months and counting

One of the main reasons I started this blog - besides to complain about the French - was to keep tabs on my children's bilingual progression. Up to now, I haven't had much to report on Max because he wasn't very verbal. Like Suzanne, he was a late walker and took his first steps about 2 weeks ago. This morning, he walked into the creche by himeself for the first time.

Since birth, Max has been very tactile and observant. He has always shown interest in figuring out how things work, he loves peekaboo because it allows him to manipulate things, he likes building and stacking, but his patience for sitting still is limited.

One of the staples of my bilingual theory is reading. Each kid gets 3 books a night - Suzanne a fewer now since we read chapters in a single book. But the problem with Max is that he has never been able to sit still long enough for me to SHOW him pictures and EXPLAIN words to him. After a page of Imagier Français-Anglais, which was one of Suzanne's favorites at 11 months, he's already thrown it on the floor.

Over the past month or so, he has shown increased signs of interest in books, although his interest is borderline obsessive. For a month, I had to read Maisy Big, Maisy Small at least twice before he'd go to sleep; then it was Pat the Bunny, Charlie and Lola's Opposites and now we've moved on to Chicky chicky Chook Chook. But it is progress. He even brough me the bilingual picture book a couple days ago, but we didn't read it....he couldn't sit still after the animal page!

And somehow, even though Max's vocabulary isn't extensive, we all understand him. Max uses some sign language (he can't sit still long enough to watch the videos Suzanne watched so we use essentials) : milk, bread, more, banana, play and cheese.

Here is a list of Max's English vocabular. I can't really comment on the French vocabulary since I don't speak to him in French and often, don't recognize a word if it is in French because my ears are atuned to English :

lala = an adaptation of our cat Lola's name which is his word for all cats and dogs
pain=he uses the French word for bread to indicate any food, espeically bread
ba=this is the word he uses for bottle and pacifier. He also uses it when he wants water.
ba+sign for milk=milk
cow=his doudou is a cow
bee=play which he does with the sign
bah=bye while waving hishand like the Queen of England
ball= he says ball for anything circular or round including oranges, sausage rounds and pumpkins
pa=used for apple and pears
encore+sign for more=he uses the french word to say more
on = he pronounces it more like "aw"
baaaa=he says this to say bang which he also uses for drums or music
bow=bounce which he uses to do trot trot to Boston or to bounce on a ball or on a blow up toy
dah, duh, duz=these are all variations of "Suzanne"

Animal sounds : monkey, fish, lion, bear, dog, gorilla

He understands most body parts like hair, foot, ear, nose, leg, chest, hand

Max also clearly understands simple and complex commands in both French and English, which is reassuring.

They say you shouldn't and CAN'T compare your kids. But since I have no other reference for Max's bilingual progression than to take a look back at his sister's, let's say I'm NOT comparing, I'm just being intellectually curious: Suzanne's word list at 15 months.

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