From the very start, it has been our intention to raise Seiji as a bilingual child. He will undoubtedly learn Dutch living here and I want to be certain that he speaks English fluently and pronounces his words properly. It’s important the he can identify freely with both American and Dutch culture. Language is a major part of that identification.
We have spoken about how to go about this in length. Since I am not sending him to daycare or preschool and the primary language spoken in our home is English, we’re raising him to be fluent in English first. Dennis has repeatedly made the point that he will automatically learn Dutch in school, so we should make sure that his English is perfect. I don’t disagree, but my only issue is he isn’t hearing enough Dutch on a consistent basis so he doesn’t understand when anyone says anything to him in Dutch I think.
It’s not the biggest issue, because honestly most people speak to him in English and he isn’t around anyone who insists on only speaking Dutch. I suppose we can start off slowly by having Dennis start giving some directives in Dutch, but one thing I would love to incorporate somewhere down the line is teaching him Indonesian.
I think it would be wonderful if they learned the language together. I didn’t grow up in a multilingual home, but I count Jamaican patois as its own dialect and heard it growing up. When I started learning a foreign language in school, it was French and I soaked that up as well. I’d love to expose him to all of this in the next few years.
It’s all too early, still, but this year will most likely give great insight on how we’ll proceed. Right now we don’t watch any Dutch programs so he’s not exposed to any of it. We have a lot of children’s books, and a few are in Dutch that Dennis has started reading.
Are any of you raising multilingual children? How did you start exposing your child to language? What did you notice about their development?
Let me preface this by stating every family has their own way of dealing with every facet of their parenting lives. There is no wrong way or righter way, as long as everyone is loved, safe and secure. I respect other people’s decisions to raise up humans how they see fit, even if I personally disagree. The topic of sleep can be touchy, but this isn’t the place for soapboxes, yours or my own.
Before he was born, the topic of sleep came up a lot. In particular, where would the baby sleep in this sardine can of an apartment? I definitely wanted him in our room so the thought of setting up a crib in the living room was out. Our place is that small y’all.
I also planned on breastfeeding and I couldn’t picture myself stumbling out of bed to pick him up out of a crib anywhere. I don’t do well with leaving bed in the middle of the night. I’m prone to hurting myself in the dark and I don’t believe in turning on lights at night either. Plus, did I mention we live in a sardine tin for an apartment?
We did look at cribs and the one I wanted the most was way out of our price range, but would have been the best as far as size goes. The other option was getting a crib from Ikea, which I definitely wasn’t interested in hearing about while still preggo. It’s all love Ikea. I came around some, but still not buying a crib.
Dennis and I grew up differently. We both started out in cribs, but eventually he shared a room with his brother and I co-slept with my grandparents. Sleep sharing with my grandmother mostly, because my grandfather worked nights. Looking back through the lens of being a parent, I am so thankful for those years and I also couldn’t have it any other way now. I love the closeness of having him in bed with us.
Bed sharing has been excellent for night nursing by the way. Sometimes I don’t even remember waking up to feed him, but I’ve conditioned myself to nurse on both sides, so I do move on the bed at night. Our rhythm is in sync ad it beats having to listen for a monitor at my head. Most nights Pixel will sleep by my feet. A family bed indeed.
My advice is to do what feels best for you. This works beautifully for us. We’re all pleased and he doesn’t know any other way of sleeping at night. He’s about 13.5 months and he’s spent every night of his life sleeping between us.
Another mama that has done the same.
In Oss, lead designer Daan Roosegaarde of Studio Roosegaarde has invented solar powered road markings covering 500m of highway. The road markings replace street lights, created by using photo-luminescant powder mixed into the road paint.
One thing I will never take away from the Netherlands is their ability to be so imaginative and have follow-through. They do a lot of amazing things in this country that make you wonder how hasn’t this existed until now. I love it.
Roosegaarde has also invented a smog-sucking system to use in China, but is currently awaiting word from government to move forward.
Story via Wired.
Photo via Studio Roosegaarde.