Thursday, March 10, 2011

"Daddy say it in Engish"

Geoff just came out of Kaya's room, sleepy-eyed from having fallen asleep in the rocker, and said, "You're gonna love this story for your blog..."

While he was rocking Kaya tonight, telling her stories and singing her songs, she began to look around her room. At one point, she noticed the lantern that we made in for St.Martin's Day in November. She began to sing the song we sang on our lantern walk: "Laterne, Laterne..." Geoff knows the song, as well, since we sang it over and over and over again as we walked around the block with our SwapnPlay friends. He started to sing, too, wanting to join his daughter in song: "Laterne...Laterne..." She was not pleased. She quickly looked up at him and let him know, in no uncertain terms, "Daddy say it in English." Quite surprised, Geoff followed her command and switched languages, adapting the melody as best he could to, "Lannnn-tern, Lannn-tern..."

Geoff was right.
I do love the story for my blog.
It's perfect and right up my alley.

I wish I could say that I was floored, that I was as surprised as he was when her command first left her lips. For me, however, I immediately thought of a story from two weeks ago that I wrote down on paper but never shared...

As Kaya and I were sitting at the table, eating breakfast, we were talking about the candle that we tend to light when we eat. Kaya loves it, and it sits in front of her spot, so it tends to be a common topic of conversation. Here's how it went that morning as Kaya was describing it's color:

Kaya: ohronjah one [orange one]
Mama: die Orange (pronounced ohranjah) [the orange one]
Kaya: die ohranjah Kerze [the orange candle]
Mama: du kannst "die Orange" sagen, und das heisst 'the orange one' [you can say 'die Orange' and that means 'the orange one']
Kaya: Engisch [English]
Mama: ja, das ist Englisch! [yeah, that's English!]

Despite my lack of initial reaction to Geoff's story, I am floored by both of these conversations. I didn't expect her to be recognizing and pointing out the languages so soon. I've known that she's been aware of the difference for a long time, but didn't know that she'd be able to verbalize that recognition until she was a bit older. Granted, I haven't been reading much on 'what's normal', but whatever normal is, I'm still impressed. I think it's fascinating, honestly, that a 2 year old can do all that a 2 year old can do. She's only been alive for about 700 days, and she can walk and run and get dressed and use scissors and recognize and speak two languages. In past tense, even.

The human brain is really amazing.
It really is.

In regards to the past tense comment above, on Feb. 27th and 28th, she said both "gesingen" [sang] (grammatically incorrect past participle of singen (gesungen), as well as "gestern Ei gessen" [yesterday ate egg] (incorrectly formed past participle of essen (gegessen)). I'm not concerned at all that she's forming the past tense incorrectly...quite the contrary, in fact! I'm overjoyed that she's begun to form the past tense at all, both with adverbs (yesterday) and verbs (ate/sang). She's clearly showing signs of being able to follow some grammar rules by adding a 'ge' on the front of a word to form it's past participle!


  1. Wow, I really am impressed... As you say, it's just amazing. And it shows what a good job you're doing with your daughter.
    At this side, we're making some progress too. I've started taking my daughter to a couple of English playgroups. The people in both of them are fantastic, and I hope it will make a difference in my baby's English after a while.
    Regards from Valencia xx

  2. Valencia, I'm SO glad to hear that you've found a playgroup that you feel comfortable with. It certainly WILL make a difference on MANY fronts, from my perspective. As I've experienced, from my attendance in playgroups, I feel better overall, which makes me a "better" parent with more confidence and perspective on what I want and how to get it.
    Thank you for your vote of confidence and your continues support. I look forward to reading your stories and updates, too.
    Thanks! Tamara

  3. I don't know what's "normal" at this age either, but I'm amazed :)
    The perspective you give of Kaya being alive about 700 days is a great one, too. WOW!! Even more impressive!

  4. Thanks, Pookabear (I think I know your real name, but I'll save it for when I know you're ok with be outing your identity!)

    I appreciate your presence here, and your comment, especially. It's so nice to hear from my readers...

    Will be in touch more soon, I'm sure!


I LOVE reading your comments, they make such a difference! Thanks for sharing!