(written for my journal on 14 May 2018)
Me: Before the kid came along, was I saying I would speak only Chinese to him?!
Him: I don’t know. I think so.
Me: Did you think I’d be able to do it? Are you surprised I’ve managed so far?
Him: Yeah, not surprised.
You see, I’m fishing for a compliment. And I don’t believe he’s too wise to fall for it. I believe he’s being a jerkwad, claiming to vaguely remember something he doesn’t at all.
I think I’ve done pretty well but the obstacles are mounting against me, against my efforts. The kid is getting older, he’s spending more days at daycare that is 100% in English. And as I noted to someone over the weekend, someone who tried to reassure me that it’s a Chinese environment at the grandparents–it’s not. That with two toddlers around and because of the other toddler and because they think they are so Chinese but aren’t, I observe the grandparents speak a lot of English to the kids.
I still don’t feel guilty that I have never directed the grandparents to speak to him in exclusively Chinese. They should know that’s my preference seeing as I’ve kept it up with him, when I display curiosity about learning a commonly used Chinese word. And I know that I haven’t asked them to speak Chinese because I am uneasy that if they really did, the kid would know a language (dialect, Mandarin) that I don’t. And the other toddler would benefit from it, too, as he tends to benefit a lot with a older cousin around.
So it’s my sacred job that when the kid is not in the clutches of daycare or grandparents, that he’s back in a Chinese speaking environment. Heck, the kid might think in Chinese, for now – isn’t that amazing?
I feel like NPY has failed me. His Chinese is so poor and furthermore, he doesn’t try enough for my liking.
Tonight, I made dinner as I do, then I continued on by meal prepping for tomorrow. That left NPY to feed him and interact with him while feeding him. More often than not, I’m the one doing the feeding (when I forego meal prep). J gives the bath and plays with him while I clean up. If I don’t spend an hour with E while he’s eating, then he continues to have English all around him all evening. Putting E to bed is super sacred time for the cuddles and before-sleep conversation, but I was tired and bored by him playing with his multiple cars and I fell asleep.
I feel like I have failed the kid today, that I did not provide enough antidote to the poison that is English in his life. That I made a mistake to do other things and yet can I drop it all to talk to him all his waking hours he spends with us? Is that what I need to do now?
This pressure is growing on me and I’m getting more steamed over it. My mum would provide a more Chinese environment – she just doesn’t like speaking in English enough – this is just what it is.