Monday, 20 June 2011

Max 22 months and hitting

I realize I'm not staying on top of the Max bilingual updates like I did with Suzanne. This is a really important part of the blog for me because I know that it helps inspire and reassure other parents raising their children bilingually.

I've said a lot recently that Max isn't speaking as much in english as Suzanne did at the same age. But it occurred to me over the weekend that Max isn't speaking as much PERIOD. Max hits and bites which are both signs of his frustration at not being able to express himself. Suzanne never did either of those because she was able to communicate in both languages at 22 months (and because she's not a boy).

At 22 months, Max understands everything in French and English. Words flow more naturally out of his cute little in French. I've mentioned before that he's in a nursery school where he hears 5 adults speaking all day long whereas Suzanne was at a nanny's with only 2 other kids and the nanny so most of her conversation came from me and our Wednesday anglo-escapades.

Max uses English freely when it concerns food. He also says thinks like reading and lie down, good night and I love you which are all me things since I am around more often than my husband in the night time rituals.

That said, Max has put together a couple of words. This morning I got very excited when he said "can't see" as he hid one book under another. I then realized he was saying "cacher" (to hide).

I was away for two days last week and when I got back on Friday, Max was 100% French. But I let it wash over me and by Sunday afternoon, he was back to speaking English : a 70/30 split which is better than nothing.

Here is a video of the kids over the weekend. It's a good example of how we function and I hope that other parents out there will find some sort of solace in the frustration/resiliance of raising bilingual kids in my home :


Esther and Brian said...

hi there! just recently found your blog and i relate to you quite a bit. i'm esther, born and raised in hungary, married an american while living in the states and our 33 months old twin boys are half-half. we are, too, raising them bilingually: i ONLY speak hungarian, daddy and community english only. they have not been in daycare yet, just with me- this will change in september as they enter prek-3. now, i wanted to tell you that my boys did not get their big language explosion, if you will, until 30 months. at 22 months, they had some english words and some hungarian words (of course they understood both perfectly) 24 months, they started to say 2-word sentences in both languages but mostly hungarian since at the moment, it is their primary language. however, at around 30 months, they REALLY started to communicate in both. at 33 months, their hungarian is amazing (we conjugate a lot like in french and lots of grammar that english does not have), but their english is more at a 24-27 months old level. that will change when preschool starts. the boys never mix the languages when speaking to the, i think that max is right on track for a bilingual boy, i truly do. if you are ok with tv and dvds, let him watch some english ones every day- we do that and that really helps with the twins' worries, he will speak both perfectly! i look forward to follow your amazing journey!!! esther

cmoi said...

Hi Rebecca,
I just waved goodbye to my folks after a 3-week visit from them and their English conversation (yeah!) to my French household. It is great to get some "new" English speakers around the boys (7 & 9 years old now) - that DON'T understand French - it's like a refresher course. Plus my older boy has to let go of his Franglais ways. We are all very lazy and, especially when talking about school, homework etc, get into bad Franglais patterns, i.e. "Take out your cahier du jour so I can sign it for the maitresse". I am sure you are encountering this with your daughter already. But that's OK too, as long as it stays "in the family". Anyway, it doesn't so much matter the percentage of the two language, they both have to be used and time does the rest. I agree with Ester that DVDs are a great way to introduce a wider vocabulary to the kids. After making our way through the whole Stars Wars saga in English this past year, my boys play Lego Star Wars ONLY in English, which is an exception as much of their play stems from school (football, marbles etc) and happens in French. And the lashing out isn't necessarily frustration, it's just boys! Bon courage (oops, I mean, good luck!)

Reb said...

Thanks to both of you for your feedback. One of the reasons I keep this blog is to have feedback from other parents in similar situations. Boys and girls are so very different I'm learning! Cmoi, those are some good tips. You do get lazy (I prefer set in your ways) after a while and don't make the effort. I use TV for Max more than I might have for Suzanne, but Suzanne was always reading and reading and reading. TV is the only way I can keep Max in one place (he's obsessed with Yo Gabba Gabba).

Esther, it sounds like you have a lot on your hands! And it sounds like you are very successful so far. Keep up the good work! And thanks for the reassurance.

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