This is a very difficult word to describe a very difficult thing to achieve. I know people (like myself) who worked the best part of two decades to learn a second language at a level good enough to be considered “fluent”. So why are we surprised that bilingual children are delayed in their speech development? It’s not only normal, but predictable: they will take longer as they are doing double the work. And yet a child who doesn’t speak at 18 months is seen as “behind”.
As a parent of two bilingual children who can only say 3 words together (in fact only one of them can talk at all), I feel constantly under scrutiny.
When the twins were younger the questions was “do they sleep through the night yet?”. Now the question is “are they talking yet?”. My answer is always the same “No, but they sleep through the night now”. Some people look at me blankly, some smile politely and some ignore me and carry on as nothing has happened. I’m a parent of twins, every night in which they sleep through it still feels special to me. Even 18 months into it.
Maybe I’m asking for too much. Maybe I’m hoping for proper understandable words, when I should keep my eye out for “baby words”. So “ssssh” is in fact “shoes” and “ga” is “gatto” (the Italian for cat). In that case then I will have to pay more attention about their favourite word “ca” or “ka”. Everything between the two of them is “ca”, but which “ca”? Is it an Italian word like cavallo, carota, calze o cane? Is it an English word maybe? Car, cap, cup… who knows! If most of the words in their vocabulary does starts with “ca” is not really their fault, poor boys!
I’ll read them more books and speak to them more. I will turn the tv and any background sounds off. I will also repeat every word a million of times. But in the end I’ll just wait till they will speak two languages and been seen as “advanced”.
It will be worth the wait, I’m sure!
When I bought my washing machine two years ago, I was puzzled to see that among the normal washing cycles there was also a 30 degrees 15 minutes super quick cycle. I often wonder who could be in such a hurry to wash something and only have 15 minutes to do it. Apparently having toddlers answers a lot of questions…
At 1.30AM on a Wednesday morning normal people are asleep in their comfy warm bed, but I have twin toddlers so I am not in the normal people category. I was awake and using the 15 minutes super quick cycle on my washing machine!
It all started when B woke up and screamed. Although this happens often, this was a very strange scream. Almost as if he was hurt. So I went to investigate and found him being sick all over his bed. I let my husband deal with him while I changed his bed and calmed down his brother. After a wash, a new pyjamas (for B) and 2 long lullabies (for everyone), both boys were in bed and ready to go back to sleep. Even daddy was back in bed. Mums though, can’t really go back to bed that easily, so I adventured downstairs.
Putting everything in the washing machine to be washed immediately was an obvious choice, but choosing the 15 minutes cycle was a brilliant idea! In 15 minutes I managed to empty the dishwasher, drink a cup of hot milk, get myself ready to go back to sleep, prepared a hot water bottle and even started to write this entry to my blog. What a perfect length washing cycle!
It’s so obvious that the twins now understand each other. I heard people calling it twinspeak, a language developed by two twins that nobody else can understand. Not only that, but they understand each other much better than what I can understand when they try to communicate to me. As their vocabulary is limited to 5-6 words, when they want something all they can do is babble and point at stuff. That creates some really funny situations.
Today, for example, they were both pointing at something. I thought it was the back door. I thought they wanted to go outside in the garden. They thought differently!
What they were pointing at was the cereal box (next to the door). Before I realise though, I started to get them ready to go outside, so I asked them “what do we need to go out, boys?” And I pointed at my feet saying “shoes!”. They both looked at me, looked at each other (probably rolled their eyes) and pointed at the cereal box one more time. Why does mummy wants us to put shoes on to eat cereal?? She must be crazy! Once I realised what they wanted I felt very silly for suggesting to put on a pair of shoes, while they felt very accomplished they made themselves understood! It was a lovely twinspeak moment.
Going for your weekly shopping with twin toddlers is not as hard as it sounds, but you need a twin trolley!
This afternoon I adventured out knowingly that the shop wasn’t going to have twin trolleys and yet I went anyway. I’m not sure what possessed me. Maybe I simply felt brave. Maybe I thought I could handle them. Maybe I fell and hit my head, but I don’t remember it. All I know is that I will never ever do this again…
Getting the twins out of the car and walking to the shop obviously wasn’t a problem as we do that daily. Walking, I mean. Once B was in the single seat trolley and T on a harness, everything started to get worse and worse with each step. At the entrance of the shop there’s freshly baked bread, which T proceeded to grab. So I bought it. Then there’s a fruit and veg area, where I had to stop T from grabbing even more things, but doing so he started to get a little frustrated. When we reached the frozen fish aisle he was determined to open the freezer. When I tried to stop him, he had a proper toddler meltdown (with audience). Fortunately I left quickly and he followed.
After a few more random cries and shouts, T noticed that I put some bananas in our trolley and he was determined he was going to have one. Shouting “nana! nana!” he decided to sit on the floor. He wasn’t going to move! Not till he had his banana! Not even when a woman with a full trolley and a car seat tried to run him over! Fortunately mum is quick on her feet…
T was moved to the trolley and B was set free. Unfortunately he was not feeling so good and he had no intention to walk. I tried to hold him, push the trolley, avoid them kicking each other AND carry on my shopping, but it was too much. I must have said “I give up” out loud, because some people turned to see me walking off in the direction of the tills.
Obviously I picked the wrong queue! No, it wasn’t too slow or too long, but the person in front of me put a bunch of bananas on the belt and the “nana, nana” corus started again!