I think I will just stop apologizing for not writing more often! And for not speaking more German with my kids! The bottom line is: I haven’t given up!!! So here’s where we are…
Aleksander is reading up a storm. My jaw hits the floor on a regular basis when I realize how much he can read. At least in English. But what about in German?
As a tiny means of sneaking in some German print, I have started making a maze for him to do every day as part of his naptime routine (no, he isn’t napping every day any more, but does have quiet time in his room). You can quickly and easily make mazes (and other puzzles) using the Puzzle Maker at Discovery Education. I insert them into a Word document and then enlarge them, so that the pathways are nice and wide for his young eyes. Then I add a few images and some text. I’m still trying to have some focus with a theme: right now we’re in the thick of winter. So, for example, today’s maze said: “Die kleine Robbe sucht ihre Mutter. Kannst du ihr helfen? [The little seal is looking for her mother. Can you help it?]” And there was a picture of a little seal at the top and a Mama seal at the bottom of the maze. At first I didn’t think this was doing much. But my eager reader is gobbling up as many words as he can. Including German! He still remembers some of the words from our German Vocabulary Advent Calendar, such as Schneemann [snowman] and Schneeflocke [snowflake]. And he’s guessing at words he doesn’t know. It’s a small step, but I’m still thrilled!
Meanwhile, Kearnan is growing leaps and bounds. He’s already 13 months! How did that happen? He’s starting to show us how much language he understands. “Kearnan, do you want to climb the stairs?” we ask. He’s off like a rocket toward those stairs! He’s signing, too. He can tell us no, more, milk, and water – some of the most important things in a toddler’s life! He understands some German, too. I try to at least get in a book a day in German. We read a book called Babys and another one called Sonnenschein. The first one is all about the things babies do. When I ask where Kearnan’s teeth are (in German), he opens his mouth for me to tap on them. The best part is, he actually asks for these books regularly. (He’s actually quite particular about the book he wants at bedtime – signing “no” until I show him the one he’s after!)
One final thing to report on: we are planning on having a German au pair! We’re thinking of having her start toward the beginning of the summer. I am a little nervous about the idea. Just having someone live with us, hoping it will be a good fit. But I am thrilled at the potential it will have for increasing our use of German at home! If anyone has any tips on how to go through the process – what to look for, what to avoid – anything at all, I’m all ears!
And now, my little one is waking up early from his nap. Isn’t that always the way?!