Wednesday, July 15, 2009

1st alphabet recital (for us), other language and progress tidbits


When Ksenia picked Natalia today, "Gigi", her care-giver, was quite excited to say that Natalia can count to five and say the entire alphabet -- if you say each number and letter, i.e. she can repeat. We knew that but not in the sense of such a prolonged enterprise such as this!

Sure enough, Daddy had to try it out!

I was so proud of my 21.5 month old! She did recite the alphabet as I prompted her letter by letter. She had trouble with a few letters -- differentiating between the "b", "c", "d", "e", "g", "p", "t" sounds were tricky but she did very well. She was self-conscious or distracted in other spots and so missed repeating "s" and "w" (though I think it might be a tough one for her at this stage -- double "u": three syllables).

Then came 1-2-3-4-5 and she'd hold up one then two of her hands to show, yes, she had five fingers on each of them!

Later she needed changing before bed. It wasn't a particularly messy one and so, once we'd replaced it, she promptly popped off the couch and picked up the diaper.

Mark: You look like you want to take that somewhere. Do you want to take it to the garbage?

Natalia: (nods and then as if it would explain everything she said slightly uptalked) Mommy?!

Mark: OK, Mommy's busy so let's go to the kitchen and throw that out. Bring it with you...

Natalia dutifully follows carrying her used diaper. Mark opens up the garbage lid and Natalia races over and dunks the diaper in and laughs!

Natalia: All done!

A conversation


Scene: Ksenia and Mark are reading the papers on a lovely Sunday morning. Natalia is wandering around the table exploring. She stops, leans backsward into the lattice supporting the grape vines and climbing roses and the back her head gently hits it.

Natalia: Ouch!

Mark: Oh-oh, did you hurt yourself? What's hurting you?

Natalia: My head.

Mommy and Daddy's grins got very wide indeed!

Natalia's Polish-English, an update

We already knew that Natalia knows both Polish and English words but up until the other day, she used one word -- could be Polish, could be English -- for each object/person/animal.

Milk is not milk, it is mleko, for example. (Or Go-gecko to imitate Natalia's current pronunciation!)

But the other day she demonstrated her beginnings of possible bilingualism (or even multilingualism).

As has been previously mentioned, one of Natalia's current favourite books is Eric Carle's Have you seen my cat? This particular day I read her the book in question. Everytime I read the repetitious line, "Have you seen my cat?", Natalia would point to the cat and say, "cat". She's been doing this for a little while so I thought nothing of it.

I had been unaware that Ksenia reads her this book as well . But Ksenia translates it into Polish.

When Natalia and I finished the book, she promptly took it over to Ksenia to read. Ksenia read it to Natalia in Polish. So instead of "Have you seen my cat?", it was "Widziales mojego kota?" And, whenever Natalia heard that, she would point to the kotek (cat) and say, "kotek". (Which sounds more like Go-tec when she says it.)

Kotek is a small cat or a kitten; kotka is an adult female cat; kot is an adult male cat.

New Words, word development and some conversation July 2009

Again, no editing yet!

2009-07-06 -- Natalia: Hello! (He-row) Mark: Hello! How are you? Natalia: How are you? (How are oo?) Mark: I'm fine, how are you? Natalia: Hi! Mark: Hi!

Polish: Dobre (pron. Dobra with short 'o') {she says "[d]ober"}, Czesc (pron. Chesh-ch) {she says "chess"}

English: p[l]ane, birdie, ducky -- these are all up in she points plus t[r]ain! (the tracks are behind our day care giver's house across the street and so this is probably her imitating the other kids there); birt[h]day

New Words May-June 2009

We've been busy so I didn't have time to add (or edit) this --

chodź tu (pron. Ho[t]ch-too) = come here, Daj (pronounced dye) = give (to me), mleko = milk {she says "Go-glecko"}

English: hot, my/mine, all done (pron. a[ll]-dun), ...four, five, six... (pron. fo, fi, sick), where going? (pron. whe[r] go-ink?)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Natalia and Polish -- a little progress in her language skills

One morning recently two interesting events occurred. I can only put them down to Natalia's increased understanding of language(s) and her confidence speaking the few words -- English and, particularly in this case, Polish -- she knows in conversation with us.

Ksenia brought Natalia into our bedroom to wake me up and say good morning as they do from time to time. But this particular morning Natalia decided she wanted to play a variation on the "escape across the bed away from Daddy" game. But in order to begin that game she needs to be on the bed...

So she made it clear, through non-verbal clues, that she wanted out of Mama's arms and to be put down onto the bed.

"But Natalia, you still need your shoes put on," Ksenia told her as she put her down.

Very deliberately Natalia, who was now facing away from Ksenia, turned back to her, put out her hands and said, "Daj...daj" clearly referring to her shoes. When she was given those shoes, she gave them to me saying "shoes", expecting me to put them on her as is usual and which I happily did.

Daj (pronounced like "die") means 'give' [them to me] in Polish.

Later, just before we were leaving for work, we were finishing up getting our little girl ready for "Gigi" (the name she calls her day-care provider). Ksenia wanted Natalia to come over to her to put a new shirt on.

ź, Natalia, chodź, chodź!" Ksenia said with pleading emphasis because Natalia was holding back and we had to get going.

Natalia seemed realize this and so, grinning slyly at her own little joke, walked very slowly toward Ksenia and said, "C

Chodź (pronounced similarly to "ho[t]ch") means 'come' in Polish. It is often accompanied by tu (pronounced like "to/too/two", which means here; thus chodź tu means "come here").

Natalia inflection, when she said it, started high, lowering with each repetition of the word, and ending low like a sigh.
The words and Natalia's delivery of them were clearly said in such a way so as to attempt to parrot her Mama. It was hard not to laugh!

Such small steps, yet so important!

Monday, June 8, 2009

In the enchanted world of the raspberry thimbles

Sometimes in our very serious adult world we forget that simple acts like putting fruit and yogurt and such on the bottom shelves of the refrigerator after a trip to the grocery store can be anything but mundane and practical ideas. Yet through the eyes of a toddler acts like these can take on legendary proportions or certainly magically delightful ones!

Since fruit and yogurt happen to be amongst Natalia's favourite fun foods, placing them on the bottom shelf means they are readily available on her level. And so, at times like this, for Natalia the opening of a refrigerator door
rises above the ordinary: it instantly becomes a tasty game. That open door reveals an enchanted world where the berries and grapes and fruit-filled yogurt are within her reach. Fruit that is bite-size, and sweet; fruit that can be popped in her mouth. Without having to wait for Mama or Daddy to cut it up and put it in her bowl.

But why do just that when the raspberries, particularly, can be first worn like a thimble on the tip of her finger and then popped in her mouth.

It is times like this that videos like these get taken. They must be. And shared...

After berry time comes yogurt sublime!