Thursday, March 10, 2011

German and the Clarity Fairy

Kaya came back from her grandparents' today, and once again, as I experienced three weeks ago, I felt ecstatic about how much German was leaving her mouth. In the past, after she's returned from their house for a night or two, she's full of English for at least a day or so, if not a week. Granted, when I say full, that means that, with me, she's speaking less than her previously 'normal' 55-60% German. These past few visits, however, have been much different. At least on the tail end.

We rendezvoused at the gym. As I sat in the parking lot, I scanned the road for their car, eagerly awaiting the return of my Kaya. As they pulled up, I flagged them down, and ran to Kaya's window. Her face lit up with a smile. As I opened the door to love her in person, I noticed a young guy walking past our car. He made eye contact with me, smiled wide, and looked back at Kaya. Our love was emanating into circles beyond ours.

I greeted her with my typical hello: Hallo mein kleines, ich hab' dich vermisst! [Hello my little one, I missed you!] She continued to smile and bounced excitedly in her seat.

On the way home, as I talked a lot with her Uncle Greg (in English), she didn't say much until we were driving past the train tracks: "Zugschiene" [train tracks], she said, as she often does in observation of the train yard. Once we pulled up to the house, the German started spilling forth, much to my excitement. It might sound crazy, but when she's upset and speaking German (vs. English), I have so much more patience with her. It's like this underlying high that pervades everything: My daughter is speaking German!! I can deal with anything! Whine all you want, Kleines, just keep it auf Deutsch!

Kaya was reluctant to come in the house...she was fascinated with the "wahda an dem Dreirad" [water on the tricycle] and wanted to stay on the porch to point it out to me. I, however, was hungry and eager to get her down for a nap before she grew over tired. I tried the oldest distraction trick in the book: Zeig mal deinem Onkel dein neues Puzzle! [Why don't you show your uncle your new puzzle?] It was during puzzle time that my excitement really grew.

For the first time ever, Kaya was using mostly German while putting together her puzzle:
"Das kommt da...die Sonne kommt da..." [That goes there...the sun goes here...]

In the past, she has used bits and pieces of German, usually ending her sentence with the English word, "der" (there), as in, "Sonne 'der'" [Sun there]. Today, though, she was using far more German in this 'task' than I've heard her use in the past.

I find it really interesting that I, as someone who sees her for at least 9 hours almost every day, can recognize so clearly when she's undergone a major shift. Geoff too. I would think that it would work more like it does with hair and body changes--you know, how it's hard to recognize the changes when you see someone regularly? But it feels really different with our daughter. On Sunday, Geoff and I looked at her and were both surprised at how old she suddenly looked, like she'd aged a month or two overnight. Today was similar, but instead of an overall maturity, it's more of a massive language shift. It's as if the clarity fairy visited last night and cast a clarity spell over every word that leaves of her mouth. It seems like the full-sentence-fairy might have peeked in a bit, too, but didn't stay as long as his cousin.

Do other of you parents out there notice this too? Like one day, every once in a while, you suddenly have a different kid?

Thanks for bein' here...for sharing in our joys! Would love to hear from ya!


  1. "The Clarity Fairy"--I love it!

    I also like your new header photo of the family in a tree, by the way!

  2. Thanks, Sarah! Great to hear from you again! I love your ABC book and am definitely inspired...


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