Monday, 17 January 2011

toddler translation

Max understands everything in both French and English. Unlike Suzanne who was all talk and no walk, Max seems to be a good balance of both. He does a lot of observing and then goes full on once he's understood the rules like climbing on tables, climbing out of the bathtub. You know, things his sister would never have even imagined at his age.

I remember Suzanne creating franglais words (my favorite Suzanne-ism was waleau=water) which Max has begun doing with words like bapom (apple). He has also taken to calling me Mommyca which comes from the creche calling me "Mommy Rebecca" since he wanders around all day saying "Mommy, Mommy".

Like his sister, Max picks up new words quickly. He spontaneously says "thank you" when someone gives him something in either French or English. And he also says "please" with the sign.

What amazes me most at this point is that Max is already showing signs of simultaneous translation. As a parent of a bilingual child, you never know how their brain is functioning. Are the languages seperate? Do they meet somewhere in the middle? With Suzanne, we would ask her to show body parts in French and then English to demonstrate she understood. But Max won't do that. But he is translating in other ways. For example, if I ask him if he wants to read a Maisy mouse book, he givesit to me and says "Mimi" which is the French name for Maisy.

Until last week, when asked a question, Max would answer "oui" (unless of course he was screaming "no!"). But over the weekend, he starting saying "uh huh" when I ask him something. I even heard him say "yeah" like a good American. I'm just waiting for both my kids to begin saying "yup" like real Americans.

Suzanne also continues to improve her English despite the overwhelming amount of French she has on a daily basis. At the movies a couple weeks ago, Suzanne turned to me and said, "I will not have scared". Realizing it was wrong, she repeated, "I will not be scared". A while ago, I commented on the fact that Suzanne doesn't use contractions in her speech. Somewhere along the way though, she began saying "gonna" without my even noticing.

I continue to grapple with mommy guilt. I am glad to have part of my life back but miss my me time. And when I do take me time, like going out one evening for example which is a rare occurence, I feel bad that my children aren't getting very much English. When Suzanne was Max's age, we had more TV on in the house (we don't let the kids watch TV during the week anymore because it gets Suzanne too worked up and then she's too tired for school), or some other background noise in English. Also, since Suzanne went to sleep later and woke up earlier, we had at least an hour more together per day than I do with Max. Although I try to put on American or English music when we get home, I get home so much later now after dropping my bike at home, getting the stroller, picking up Max at the creche, going the opposite direction to get Suzanne. By the time we get home, it's 6 PM and I need to get dinner going. So playtime is really limited. On the weekends, we are all so tired that we don't do much of anything interesting most weekends. But, I shouldn't feel guilty for that because the kids just have fun playing together, dressing up and making a mess all around.

Max's other recent vocabulary acquistitions include :

tv

da which indicates he wants to get on your lap. This comes from ah da da get on your lap

down

up

keys

eye


PS I just read through some old posts and found that Suzanne, who I was convinced was speaking full sentences by 17 months, was about the same level as Max.

2 comments:

Sarah said...

Re the American "Yup": Griffin, in response to my "Mais non!" today, replied "Mais yeah!"

Re your mommy guilt: banish it! You're accomplishing so much.

Reb said...

Thanks Sarah. It's hard being a mommy, isn't it?!

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