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Feb 5, 2010

Things we learn from our 2-year old

Daniel has been going to this awesome daycare, the Children's Preschool Center, since being 9 months old. They offer a weekly music program for all children, starting at the infant level. Daniel has enjoyed it from the very beginning, and he is now a big music fan. He loves to play guitar (with a toy guitar or anything else he finds that can be used as a pretend-guitar), flute (or pretend flute) and drums. Recently, he has also started singing the songs he learns at daycare, and it's clear that he is completely into them. It was particularly striking when he started singing "Jingle Bells" very loudly in the middle of a flight, right when everyone was sleeping. I wonder if the other passengers appreciated the entertainment, though.

Now that he brings back from daycare a couple of new songs a week, it's been an interesting experience for us trying to keep up. Since neither my husband nor I grew up in the US, we have very little knowledge of typical children's songs. I even realized, as Daniel started to sing "Twinkle, twinkle" the other day, that I don't know the lyrics of this famous song past the first line!

So, we are usually left to try to guess what Daniel is singing based on what we can understand from him (his pronunciation isn't always very clear, so this adds to the challenge). For instance: "Baa, baa, black sheep, have you any wool" becomes "Baa, baa, black sheep, happy boy" when Daniel sings it! Love the creativity, but it doesn't help us recognize the songs!

We usually do research online; YouTube and Google are great resources for this. Or we ask the teachers the next day. Fortunately, because Daniel has a good sense of rhythm, it's quite easy to recognize when he is attempting to sing vs. saying a normal sentence. So, it helps us a little bit.

But, even when we eventually learn the lyrics, we will probably never be able to sing him the songs the way a native speaker would. We won't know any of the other traditions (movements, signs, expressions, etc....) that come with the songs. So we just need to hope Daniel will learn them at daycare, and some day, show us how things are done here... This is only the beginning of Daniel teaching us things!

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