I've been meaning to write for days, for weeks really, about how Kaya was speaking 80-90% German with me, and likewise English with Geoff, for about 3 weeks (as of a few days ago)!! I was in this state of bliss, with nearly every phrase and sentence that left her lips...it was epic. I still want to write that post...but as I sit here, kid-less on a Wednesday night (thanks Gramms and Grampa!!), I have tears in my eyes from an incredibly inspiring interview I just read through the Bilingual Carnival.
If you don't know about the carnival, it is a essentially a list of posts written by bloggers from around the world, dedicated to the topic of bilingualism, multilingualism, language learning and raising bi- or multilingual children.
To find out more about it, sign up for a newsletter, read previous carnivals, or find out how you can get more involved, Letizia Quaranta of Bilingue per Gioco is the organiser and the Carnival page is here.
The post that I just read is about an American man, Douglas Hofstadter, who raised his 2 children in Italian, his non-native language. They were raised primarily in the States, with annual visits to Italy; an Italian au-pair at home for a few years; and a few years living and going to school in Italy. His kids are 19 and 22 now, and get this...and not only continue to speak only Italian with their Dad, but with EACH OTHER as well!!
I feel a strong connection to this Douglas, not only because of our non-native language commonality, but also in regards to his thoughts about whether communication between him and his children suffered because of his decision to speak with them in his non-native language:
"No one ever seriously questioned my decision to speak Italian with my children, except for myself, every once in a while. There were certain occasions when, in speaking with my kids, I felt a little bit limited, a little bit frustrated by the “Italian cage” that I had put myself in. I simply wasn’t able to say some things in as lively, as expressive, or as colorful a way as if I had been speaking with them in English. But this was a deliberate trade-off — although the kids were doubtlessly deprived of a little color and humor in English (and also some subtleties of their Dad’s personality, since I am a very word-conscious person, and my entire personality revolves about how I use language), in return they gained access to the Italian language, the Italian culture, and a whole marvelous world of people and places."
I have often thought the exact same thing, that I'm caging myself in with my decision to speak a non-native language with Kaya, loving the interplay of language as much as I do. But he said it so well. In return, she gains so much.
I've been "leaving room" for the possibility that Kaya and I might switch to English down the road, should 'something come along' (like our waning desire...). After reading this post, however, I've changed my mind. I'm leaving no more room. I know, I know, that may sound very closed-minded, as I tout myself as the open-minded mama that I believe myself to be. But the way I see it...I am simply going to put energy, full energy, into what I want for me and our life, and if I 'leave room' in the way I've been 'leaving room', the energy isn't completely there.
I'm sure I've lost some of you. Energy schmenergy.
They probably think I should move to Sedona and grow crystals.
My point is this: I'm back to believing it's a possibility, this life-long German relationship with Kaya. I feel like I've gotten some solid reminders about how to instill a love of German (and multiculturalism), and for now, I'm gonna ride this horse and enjoy the feel of the wind in my sails!!
For more details, check out the whole interview!