On raising a bilingual child – 30-month mark

So much more talking as he absorbs like a sponge words. I swear he hasn’t heard them many times and if he is interested, he will retain it. But practice is necessary and I enjoy it. NPY is impressed in that realm about how much I teach him. I end up de-emphasizing things like letters – but at least there’s no Chinese version it’s battling against – and numbers. I got the Cantonese numbers into him and grandma saw that and taught him the Mandarin.

It’s equally adorable in an Anglophone child but the sentences he puts together are totally adorable. I find that words that he won’t hear often in daily context, that are less interesting, he will probably know only the Chinese version for a while. For example, he knows “car” for sure but still says “che” for now.

In December, I got him to recognize the character for car in the Chinese chess set. Now I need to find some sturdy flashcards to hand-make some.

We introduced him to a tablet loaded with games and that had its growing pains early on. That is, he doesn’t understand the boundary that we need to consistently maintain that is he doesn’t play tablet games while at home. Hopefully not in the car either. But it’s okay in the restaurants when he’s bored. After he is accustomed to “games outside the house”, maybe he can understand that learning Chinese from the tablet is acceptable tablet usage at home. But that could be a hard line to re-inforce (at first).

Speaking of Chinese learning, I was checking out some apps. Lingokids sounds really good but I can’t do the $120 outlay for it and for a two-year-old it is probably much. I will ultimately spring for the full set of lessons on “Kids Learn Mandarin Chinese”. It’s $14! For “grown-up apps”, we are accustomed to paying no more than $5 or so but these are educational and NPY thinks anyone can make a killing creating and marketing apps for kids.

I love the idea that he has two words in his head and his brain is reconciling between them. He knows. Sometimes I find myself play shouting at him the word in Chinese and he smirks and says it in English to me. He knows.

In the heat of the moment, NPY told me that because I speak to E in Chinese, he feels like he doesn’t connect to the kid especially when the kid is riled up or upset. This is in contrast to proud moments when NPY thinks that he’s an awesome dad and he and E really “get” each other. I think that was NPY trying to lash out. But I do harbour a smidge of worry. I so de-emphasize English that I don’t correct if he says something wrong, like his “lisp” where he says “dar” instead of “star” and “pinning” instead of “spinning”. I wonder if he disconnects from what’s going on at daycare and doesn’t listen to authority because it doesn’t make as much sense as it might to and English speaking it.

A new year’s eve gathering, a friend reported that the kid switched overnight around age four from all Chinese to all English. I know it happens and I hope to stave it off as long as possible.

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