Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Look at me playing with my food in Japanese.... (Alex, nearly 3)

Apparently we ate dinner too early today because Alexander was definitely not hungry. He showed us this by playing with his pasta and putting it into his milk.

I removed his milk from the table and then we proceeded to ignore him (after telling him to eat of course). He was quite persistent in trying to get us to notice him before he finally decided he was ready to leave the table and let us eat in peace.

HEY! MAMA! Look!

HEY LIZ (our visitor)! LOOK!

LYDIA, hora MITE YO! (hey look)

I'm sure if papa had been here he would have tried it in German too.

He is quite persistent.

We continue to encourage the children to speak Japanese with each other because that is how they feel most comfortable. They seem fine speaking English with other English speaking kids and German with other German kids. They are also doing great with separating the languages at home.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Lydia is learning Hiragana

Japanese children first learn to write in Hiragana. Of course growing up in a western family, Lydia is learning the Roman alphabet first. She can write her name and knows more than half of the letters of the alphabet. She really enjoys letters.

Her friends at school are all impressed that she can write her name in Romaji, but Lydia, on the other hand, wants to write in hiragana like all of her friends.

I got some writing drill books for her and now we are working through them day by day. Today she was learning "te" て. "te" means hand. We were talking about "te" and other words that start with "te". She was practicing the pencil strokes and I asked her, "What letter are you writing now?" She replied, "Hand".

Lydia likes her "really really much"

Age 4 is presenting many challenges for us. Lydia knows exactly what she wants... but she doesn't quite understand limits. One of our daily battles is about picking up the baby. In reality I think she is big enough to pick up Hannah in certain circumstances and under supervision. The problem is Alex. If Lydia is allowed to pick up Hannah then Alex will want to pick her up too. So to make things simple, our rule is "DON'T PICK UP THE BABY!"

You'd think a 4yo (4.5 really) would eventually get this concept. I have to tell her 20 times a day... and still I have to tell her the next day, and the day after that. I am really losing my temper with this and have started making her sit on the steps when she breaks the rule. Then Lydia starts crying and says "but Hannah likes it. and I like Hannah reaaaaallly realllllly much!" How can I possibly punish her for loving her sister too much?

Hannah 10 months - our 3rd "talker"

Hannah has started using her verbal skills in a way that seems purposeful and not experimental. She likes to say "baa baa baa" and "maa maa maa". She definitely uses the "maa" sounds more regularly when she sees me or wants to nurse. And she always uses "baa baa" when papa is around. So I guess those are her first words.

She is also signing milk like a little lunatic. When she gets tired she waves around her hands frantically squeezing them in the "milk" sign hoping someone will take her seriously - poor 3rd child always waiting for someone to notice her! I try as best as I can to react to her needs quickly. I want her to feel like she can communicate with us.

Hannah loves music. She bops to anything she hears. Her favorite song is Japanese and I am probably going to spell it wrong: Ouma ma mina papaka hashiru (about a little horse...). She mouths along with the "papaka hashiru" part. "pa pa pa pa pa" It is so cute. I should be better about talking video.