Growing up Multilingual as Worldschooling toddlers
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My oldest daughter’s first words were “que rico” and “moon”.
I wasn’t “mom”, I was “mum” because we lived with a British family in the Andes. When she was little she learned to speak a funny Spanglish but then at 5, dropped English altogether, she then had no trouble picking it back up again at 13.
She was schooled in a very classic manner, meaning she went to school since she was one and a half and her school and friends are everything to her. I’m glad she’s bilingual even if she only did school in English for one year, it’s a very important skill to have.
“So many Toddlers!”
The difference between her toddler years and my new toddlers now is that she didn’t constantly ask me how to say words in differently languages, she just spoke however she figured was ok. Big Kiddo and Small Kiddo are always translating, asking the different meanings for words, in four or more different languages (English, Spanish, Indonesian, still some Thai, and sometimes the language of a place we are visiting but not living in).
When Big Kiddo was three and we were living in Phuket, he had very little English immersion apart from watching videos and hearing me talk in English with anyone from outside our family. One day he asked me very seriously; “¿Escoba en Ingles se dice Scobe?” I laughed for hours because it reminded me of the family I lived with when my first daughter was very little and the mum used to say things like “We are almorzaring”.
When we sing the Abc´s Big Kiddo always complains that I forget the ch, ñ and ll in the Spanish one! Small Kiddo sings in English, “a, b, c, my nose.” When Big Kiddo learned to sing the abc´s in English he would repeat “l, m, n, o, p” over and over.
The kiddos are being worldschooled; we move countries around every year or two and with that comes a new language and customs and new things to learn. We speak Spanish at home and as of this year they are going to a Montessori preschool in English with Indonesian teachers.
Whenever we are playing something like jumping or running or races and we have to do a countdown, it has to be done in three languages;
“One, two, three, two, one, GO!”
“Tres, dos, uno, YA!”
“Satu, dua, tiga, GO!”
Big Kiddos is pretty good at differentiating the languages and whenever he manages to say something new in English to someone, especially his teachers, he loves telling me about it, like a great achievement. Small Kiddo signs songs in English and mixes words back and forth all the time. She hasn’t mastered the difference between languages like her brother has.
Small Kiddo loves saying “open the door please!”
I don’t mind them talking in Spanglish, I still talk that way and I think it’s totally fine.