Friday, October 3, 2008

October 2008

Alexander is a little chatterbox - and definitely in both German and English. He will go on and on with me in English. "Mama! Hi! Mama cooking dinner? Alex want it ice cream. Mama cleanin' up? why? oh. Alex want it ice cream." Then papa comes home and Alex chatters away in German with papa, "Papa ein gekauft? Alexander auch ein gekauft. Alexander milch trinken. Was Papa gekauft? Papa yogurt gekauft? Alexander milch trinken."

on and on.....

until Lydia comes in and then they start fighting in japanese. Doh!

Friday, August 29, 2008

I just updated yesterday, but I can't help document what the kids are doing tonight.

It is bedtime and apparently they aren't ready to sleep because they are upstairs in bed talking to each other, reading stories to each other, and singing. I'm listening through the baby monitor hoping they will eventually be quiet up there....

They are babbling away in Japanese. First Lydia was singing a song with made up words:
"blah blah something. anpanman. blah blah. something Alexander." Then Alex starts singing and Lydia doesn't like the competition so starts yelling at him "yatenai! yatenai" (don't do it)
Lydia: Book ga ii? (wanna book)
Alex: Hai. inai inai ba. (yes. peek a boo)
*** silence for alittle while***

Alex: mama iku (mama come)
Lydia: yada (no)
Alex: pee pee suru (I wanna go pee pee)
Lydia: ii yo. pee pee shite. (It's okay. go pee pee.)
Lydia: Alex? Daijoubu? (are you okay?)
Alex: (laughter) BUMP shita. (I went BUMP)
Alex: Itai (it hurts)
Lydia: ii yo (it's okay)

the conversation continues like this for a long time... and I had to go up and break up various fights and solve some problems. But it was so funny to listen to them babbling in japanese.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Lydia 4 yo, Alex 2 yo, Hannah just born! - August 2008

Lots has happened since I last updated.

1) Alexander and Lydia's German grandmother (Omi) came to visit for 3 weeks.
2) Alexander and Lydia got a new little sister, Hannah.
3) Alexander and Lydia's American grandparents came to visit for 5 weeks.
4) Lydia attended one month of summer camp at the Deutsche Schule Kobe.
5) They both went on a 2.5 week vacation in Europe with German family members.
6) They both continue to attend Japanese preschool.

Omi's visit encouraged Lydia to speak more German and have more confidence with trying to say German words. She continues to have pronunciation problems in all languages, so she often gets frustrated easily when she is trying to say new words or repeat what she hears. Omi read lots of stories to the kids and Omi doesn't understand English (unlike Papa), so in order to communicate with Omi, Lydia was forced to speak German. She mostly got by with one or two word communication. I wouldn't say she was really speaking in full sentences, but she was able to get her point across.

Alex was didn't speak a lot more German, but he definitely took an interest in story time with Omi and I think it was great for his comprehension.

Hannah's arrival in late May was very exciting. My parents came from the US to help take care of Alex and Lydia while I tended to the new little one. Grandma and Grandpa are young and active and had lots of energy for many creative activities. Both Lydia and Alexander excelled in English during this time. Lydia is gradually getting better with pronuciation and speaking in more complete sentences. Alex is a little aper and repeats everything Lydia says (and subsequently uses some pretty poor grammar!!)

Lydia still usually says "My" instead if "I". Eg: "My drew a picture today." or "My thirsty." I usually correct her and she's fine with that and says it perfectly.

She has started using pronouns more accurately. She used to only say "Where's mama's glasses?" and now she will say "Where's YOUR glasses?" She always puts a lot of stress on the "YOUR".

Lydia is finally getting better at making sounds from the back of her mouth (K and G) and can do it pretty well if I draw attention to it. But it is still more natural for her to only make T and D sounds so it is sometimes quite challenging to figure out what she is trying to say. She usually calls her brother "Alets" (instead of Alex).
I am relieved she is at least able to make the sounds now - even if it it takes reminding. Also, she doesn't get so frustrated if I tell her about it.

Lydia became a lot more chatty in English while my parents were visiting. Alexander also likes to babble non-stop. He talks about everything. He also tends to say "My" (or the german Meine) instead of "I". So he sits at the table and babbles away, "Meine like it pumpkin. Meine no like it onions. Alex want it dessert too. Mama more milk please. Tant you mama. Uh oh. Meine drop it fork. No mama. leave it dere. Alex get it self."

He has just entered the "why" stage (mostly just repeating what Lydia likes to say...) Fortunately he usually accepts very non-informative answers from me. Alex: "Why mama no have socks mama?" Me: "Because I don't have any socks today, Alex." Alex: "Oh."

German Summer School:
Lydia really had a great time at the Deutsche Schule. She became much more comfortable playing in German. She seemed excited to use German at home with Papa, instead of shy or frustrated. She made lots of friends.

2.5 week Vacation with German Family:
This was a fantastic opportunity for language development of both kids. I stayed at home with Hannah and as they were with Papa and only german family, they heard and spoke exclusively German for the 2.5 weeks. When I spoke with them on the phone all of the answers were in German. When they came home they automatically switched back to English with me, but it was a noticeable effort to change their thinking. Lydia is much better at forming whole sentences in German. Alex is just really really good at repeating. Both kids are more chatty with Papa when we are at home. Lydia now wants to explain things to him, where before she would ask me to say it.

Continuing with japanese preschool:
Both kids are doing great with japanese. Lydia is starting to read a little bit. She and Alex both play at home in mostly Japanese. They fight in japanese. They discipline each other in Japanese. They read stories to each other in Japanese. They automatically switch to Japanese when we are out and meet someone on the street. It is really to the point now where Lydia definitely understands plenty of things that I don't understand.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Lydia 3.5 years, Alexander 1yr10mo

As I haven't updated for a while, I figured it was about time.

At 3.5, Lydia is definitely having a preference for speaking English lately. She tends to reply to Papa in English sometimes - especially if we are all together. When it is just the two of them she is more likely to default to German with him. She has also started to ask me (in English) to tell Papa certain things. For example, if she wants to tell him what we did during the day but doesn't know the right words in German, instead of trying to use the words she does know, she said, "Mama tell it."

I'm wondering if we need to review the day in German before Roland comes home so she can have the proper vocabulary fresh in her head. I'm not sure.

Another thing that is putting more stress on the English lately is that we have an American woman living with us as of a few months ago. Karen spends a lot of time with the kids and obviously speaks English with them. It has been good for Lydia's confidence in language, but definitely putting a lot of stress on English.

Lydia constantly makes us laugh with her creative grammar construction. This must be a result of the differing grammatical structure of the three languages. She seems to just pick and choose whatever makes most sense to her. I get the impression she is using the Japanese construction a lot - she often puts the negative at the end of the sentence.

Here's an example:

"Karen sick more nope?"
meaning: is Karen still sick?

When Lydia and Alexander are playing together, Lydia usually speaks with him in Japanese. It is very choppy and somewhat made-up, but it is Japanese.

Roland's mother will soon be visiting for a month. It will force me to speak more German and I am hoping this will encourage Lydia to have more confidence with speaking it as well.

Alexander at 1 year and 10 months has become somewhat of a chatter box. He is such a mimic. Our conversation goes like this....
Me: "Alexander, what's that?"
A: "What dat?"
Me: "What's that?"
A: "Dat?"
Me: "Yes, what's that?"
A: "What dat?"
Me: "That's a doggy."
A: "Doggy"

(but if I ask him to point out the doggie, he will point to it right away)

He also is learning some really funny grammar and mixed up language from Lydia. If Lydia wants to know what I am doing she will say "Nani mama doin'" (nani is japanese). Now Alex repeats, "nani mama doin'"

He talks about what he sees. It was big excitement last week because we flew to Thailand and were on airplanes, boats, taxis and buses. While in the airplane he probably told me a hundred time, "I see it. Airplane." And on the boat when we see other boats going by, "I see it boat. I see it fish." And looking out the taxi window, "I see it purple taxi. I see it orange taxi. I see it pink taxi. I see it car."

He is also going through a terribly independent phase. He MUST do everything by himself. "I"LL do it" (as a screech) is just about his favorite thing to say.

In regards to German, he seems to understand that he uses different words with Papa than he does with mama. If he wants up, he says "HOCH" to Roland. If he wants down he says "RUNTER". If he is finished with his food he says "VERTIG" if he is talking with roland. There are some terms he understands better in English... for example the other day Roland was saying "Tür zu" a gazillion times and then finally I said it in English, "close the door" and he finally closed the door. I get the feeling there are some things that Roland says a lot that Alexander doesn't necessarily understand in English because I don't say the same things.

In regards to japanese, he seems pretty much right on track. He is having a fine time at preschool.