Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Max: Leaps and bounds (leaping and bounding)

If you had asked me two weeks ago, I would have told you to talk to the hand. I was feeling rather down about Max and his speaking skills. In the past month, I've been away for work for 2 days at 2 different times. When I got back from the my first trip, it was like Max had forgotten how to speak English. So I told myself to chill, relax and all the other things I don't know how to do.

But then, over the past two weeks, Max has made a huge jump, both figuratively and literally since he now realy knows how to jump. Suddenly, there was a click in both physical and verbal skills.

So when I got back from my second business trip, I was pleased to see that he remembered how to speak English. When I picked him up from the crèche last Friday, the director said ,"Max commence à très bien parler. On comprend tous ce qu'il dit." (Max is starting to speak well. We understand everything he says). She asked if it was the same in English to which I replied no, but it's coming a long. Some examples of Max's progress are:

  • he said "P come" when I picked him and the neighbor's kids up the other day
  • he says to us "come see" when he wants us
  • he is beginning to use verbs in the present progressive form like reading, crying, eating, sleeping, etc. He especially likes to tell me when someone is crying espeically, "Suzanne crying".
  • he is stringing nouns and verbs together, often in franglais but who cares
  • he has begin some real code switching like saying "de l'eau" to his father and "water" to me.
  • He has begun creating words like waleau, dada (to sit on a lap), shoeshoe (which is a mix of shoe and chaussure).
  • he self corrects when he speaks to me in French, upon being prompted.
  • he repeats instructions such as "careful of the pit" when eating a cherries
  • he is beginning to recognize colors, which the crèche tells me is usually not until about 3 years old. We started on colors early because of the high risk of Max being colorblind.

Much of this is thanks to Suzanne. When it's the three of us, I hear her speaking to him in English. I can also hear Max mimicking his big sister when he says things like "puhleeeezeeee" when he really wants something.

And since Max is finally, albeit obsessively, into books, they are my second best English ally at the moment (the first being Suzanne). He is obsessively reading Baby Bear, Baby Bear What do you See by Eric Carle. And although it is quite redundant after you've read it a dozen times in a single day, it is helping Max pick out words and colors. Luckily he is also willing to allow Polar Bear Polar Bear and Brown Bear Brown Bear into the rotation. It's interesting how obsessive he is about his things and how decided he is about what he wants. He is obsessed with the "Happy" episode of Yo Gabba Gabba, which to our dismay, is his favorite show (for anyone who doesn't know Yo Gabba Gabba, it's kind of like Sesame Street on LSD).

Max is also an extremely decisive little person. He never flipflops or takes time to make up his mind. If you ask what he wants to drink, he answers instantly and then repeats it until he has it in his hand. This leads to a lot of tantrums since you can't always get what you want, in the immortal words of the YoGabblerz and the Rolling Stones before them.

But, I stick by my theory whole heartedly that OPOL is the way to go.

Here is a video of Max reading Baby bear to himself. You can hear him saying, "Mommy bear Mommy bear what do you see?", "Mountain goat what do you see?" and "digging" when he looks at the praire dog. At the very end, when he hears the sound of skype, he says "Melie" my sister in California:


Esther and Brian said...

absolutely, opol is the way to go! this is what we do in our household, too (english/hungarian)-i've left you a comment before, too...i was worried about color-blindness as i carry the gene for it (my dad is colorblind) and my twins each had a 50% chance of getting the gene. at 27 months, everything was blue!!! i was worried..then suddenly they 'got it" at about 29 months and now, at 33 months, know about 15 colors in two languages...so no worries just yet!!!!!!!!!
question for you out of my own curiousity: at what age do the french start teaching the children the alphabet/reading? i sometimes feel that everything is so rushed with little children (teaching the abcs in prek-3, for instance)..and at the end, high school test scores do not show much in favor of the states...just curious...in hungary, kids do not read until 6, or first grade, in general.

take care, esther

Reb said...

Thanks for your comment. colorblindness is one of those interesting genetic issues. Since my mom is colorblind - rare for women - I've always known my sons had a high chance to be as well. It's intersting though that colors are taught so late! I instinctively introduced my kids to colors, letters and numbers early. By the time Suzanne was 3, she was able to pick out a few numbers and letters on the licence plate, for instance. In France, they don't start to teach reading and writing until CP (1st grade) when they have a crash course. At the end of the year, your kid comes out reading. And Voilà! But I've generally seen that my French friends don't even introduce their kids to letters and reading much before then. Suzanne has always been intersted in reading so she already reads some words.

TN said...

Max sounds just like Mathéo right now. Even though he is 24 months. But he is doing the same things. I need to write down these progressions so it will be easier for me with baby # 2 (coming this fall!). He is also saying de l'eau, il est la, il est parti (Passe compose ;-). In English sentences are not as complicated but 2 words. I have been trying to work with him more...it's difficult since I am the only English Speaker we are also doing the OPOL but since we are the minority it's harder and I see the French creeping past the English.

I did discipline my husband the other day. When my son would say something in English to us he would say no it's blah blah blah the French word. I scolded him and said you can not do that. If you want him to say it in French say yes that is correct in English and then say in French it is this. I said if we were living in the US I would speak French in the home as it would be important for him to learn the minority language. I think he understood and won't be doing that in front of me anymore ;-0

I do the same when my son speaks French to me...I say yes that is what it is in French what is it in English. If he does not know I say it and have him repeat. He likes it usually or doesn't repeat it if the word is too difficult.

I feel it is becoming a competition...and like you I feel it necessary they learn at the same rate or are completely bilingual and feel happy when he speaks English. It's hard.

I was also away from the home 2 occasions recently (1 week long vacation w my husband then home for 3 days then off again for a family emergency in the states for 5 days). I came back to him speaking sentences in French (the il est la, il est parti etc...). He was with the Belle Famille for the time we/i were away. So I was glad to get back home and into the swing of things. Glad he could finally speak in a sentence but had hoped it would have been in English :-(

Keep up the teaching. Have a fun vacances we will be in Dordogne in a few weeks for 3 weeks can't wait!

Reb said...

TN, congratulations on #2! It's always reassuring to know that other kids are at the same stage as your own. That's one of the reasons I keep this blog....keep up the good OPOL work!

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