I’ve been thinking a lot lately about language, not in a grand conceptual way, mostly in a direct observational way with my daughter who is just learning to speak. She is learning Hebrew and English at the same time, something that took a bit of convincing to get my husband on board with as the Hebrew half of our parenting partnership. I consider him fluent but he has certain gaps and finds that he talks “around” words that he doesn’t know. I am grateful that he has made the commitment to speak only in Hebrew to Ella because having a second language from birth is such a gift. Thankfully as Mo is speaking Hebrew to Ella, he is looking things up and Ben and I are learning along with her. I have heard that the addition of a second language can cause speech to be somewhat delayed, which we have found to be true. Ben spoke clearly very early and I didn’t know how much easier it was to navigate the toddler stage when I knew what exactly he wanted or was trying to communicate. When I gave it some thought I realized that the absence of much speech with Ella has been keeping her more of a baby in my mind, and I wasn’t always considering how much she understands everything that is being said and what is going on; she just can’t always respond.
Ella has recently started using many new words (in English and Hebrew) which is super exciting! She has been saying la’alot for a long time, meaning “to go up” or in Ella’s world, “Help me up on the bed” or “Pick me up and never put me down!” She also says, “lolo” for loredet which means “to go down” or for Ella, “Take me out of this car seat immediately!” “Help me off the table I’ve climbed onto!” In English she says hi, hello, bye bye, baby, and a recent addition of “Hey buddy!” which I love. A few weeks ago she started saying more, which sounds like, “moh” and was basically her way of asking for whatever she wanted. Then shortly thereafter she added mine, the sound and meaning of which were very clear. This week, she combined the two words into “mone” which seems to mean “I own everything, return it to me now.” I’m joking around a bit, but really it is so fascinating to me to observe the progression of both languages and how things shift and grow.
On a somewhat related note, as I continue to work on allowing Ben to learn at his own pace I am really enjoying watching him discover his interests and the technical skills they entail. The idea is that as he becomes interested in cars or art or building or beaches or whatever, learning opportunities across every discipline arise (reading, math, etc.). For now he is only five, so I don’t feel overly concerned about how much or what exactly he is learning, but so far it is going really well. I consider the past five months of official homeschooling evidence enough that kids truly do want to learn and will pick up every necessary skill when they are ready. Ben has learned to sight read certain words just because he loves books and we read together often. He has learned basic addition out of nowhere, telling me from the backseat, “Three plus one equals four. Four plus one equals five.” He can build Lego sets from the instructions, which no one taught him, he just really likes Legos so he has practiced building them. As he gets older we will have to pursue different ways for him to learn the “basics” and build upon his skills. I’m sure it will include outsourcing with certain classes, as well as more research and study on my part!
I am so thankful for the opportunity to observe my kids as they learn and I am enjoying milestones in a new way because we are together so much. There are moments and sometimes days that are so difficult and moments and days that are so sweet. Here are photos of one of our sweetest days lately, exploring Art Basel in Wynwood on Thursday.
I’m working on a post about our camping trip to the Keys, so stay tuned. Happy Sunday!