Friday, August 10, 2007

Back from 1 month in the USA

Lydia's turned 3!:

We spent the month of July and beginning of August up to Lydia's 3rd birthday in the US with my parents. This was a great opportunity for the kids to get some more English exposure. Lydia and Alexander had such a wonderful time. And indeed Lydia switched from using mostly Japanese to using mostly English. I guess this is what I expected to happen because she couldn't get away with speaking Japanese and just assuming people would understand her.

Here are some observations about Lydia's language development during the month:

She started putting a lot of stress on the American "R" sound. ie. "Look Mama. Millie's caRRRRRR." "Lydia's tuRRRRn!" Before this, the "R" sound was more of an "Ah".

She started singing a lot of songs. Before now she only sung The Itsy Bitsy Spider and Zou-san (a Japanese song about an elephant). So I was surprised and amused when we were in the car and all of a sudden she was yelling (singing) "Da Warmer in da dell, Da warmer in da dell, Hi ho daderio, Da warmer in da dell" If you can't tell that would be "The Farmer in the Dell."
Then the next day she was singing "Heaaaaaaaaaad. Neezletoes Neezletoes, Heaaaaaaaad. Neezletoes Neezletoes." That would be "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes."

She still really doesn't speak in true sentences. She uses a lot of words together but skips many small words. And example of her sentence structure: "Ball under mama papa bed! Ball way way here" (The ball went under mama and papa's bed. The ball is way under there. )

While in the US, I couldn't help but compare her to kids her age. In Japan I really don't have any English-speaking kids her age to gauge her against. I know I shouldn't compare but it was interesting to meet some kids even younger than her who were total chatter boxes speaking in unbelievably proper sentences. But then there were other kids similar in age to Lydia whose language skills in English were pretty much on par with hers. Interesting how much variation there is in the stages of language development, even with mono-lingual kids.

She didn't have a problem communicating with my parents. Well I should say that it did start out a little rough, but then my parents learned to understand her!

Roland wasn't with us for the first 2 weeks in the US. When he arrived Lydia immediately started using German with him.

Now for Alexander's developments:

At 15 months he has really become a pro at the signs he has learned so far. I should really add some more because I think he would suck them up like a sponge! For now it's just milk, eat, drink, more, please, thank you, sleep and up.

He started sort of saying "up" (pah) and done "dah" and drink "juu" or "duu" (which I think actually might be juice even though we rarely drink it).