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.

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