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Aug 14, 2009

My 19-month old is teaching me German!

Ok, ok, not really teaching me German quite yet. But Daniel read me a book in German!
I mean that he has come to a point, where he know his books* by heart, from reading them so many times. Instead of waiting patiently for me to show him the different pictures and explain what they represent, or for me to ask him "where do you see XX?", he now rushes through the book*, happily pointing to every single item, shouting the corresponding name. So far so good, very good actually... (whisper: as long as it's in French)
Except that this morning, he went through this one book* exclusively in German! And it had some hard words in it, such as "Fuchs" (fox), "Licht" (light), "schmutzig" (dirty), etc... Good I know enough German to keep up (and recognize the words after all... They don't always sound too accurate, especially the last one!)

Should this be that surprising? After all, my husband reads to Daniel in German a lot.

So his German vocabulary is increasing rapidly. Still, I had thought so far that Daniel hears a good balance of French and German, and that he is somehow starting to associate the right language with the right parent. And in general, I still think (hope?) it's true. Daniel has a lot of French vocabulary, but he learns a lot of words outside of books.

As it turns out, I hadn't spent a lot of time reading this particular book* with Daniel lately, while my husband had. So, Daniel might not have had the opportunity to learn the corresponding vocabulary in French yet. Poor guy, he didn't have any other option than reading in German!

In this situation, my competitive spirit kicked in. I am not going to let my husband be a full book ahead of me in teaching Daniel language. I need to catch up! So, tonight, I read many books* with Daniel... It's fortunate that he enjoys books a lot, so we had a great time together, while I felt good about reinforcing his French skills.

Wondering if Daniel might reach a point where too much language is too much if we try to cram so much vocabulary in his little head? He seems to be doing great right now, adding so many new words every day. It's very encouraging. Hopefully, this will continue, and he will eventually be able to know better than to speak with me in German!

* A book collection we like a lot for toddlers is "Usborne look & say". Very easy to read: objects are presented with big images and in context. Easy for toddlers to carry and turn pages.

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