Two and a half
Continuing on the theme of two, and just before the second month of the year, Bean reached two and a half, and here’s what she’s been learning (play-based):
In under two playdates with a 4-year old, her English vocabulary and frequency of use has exploded; now, it’s almost as if her English switch gets turned on as soon as she steps into her play area. Whether she use words in the right context, or put together nonsensical sentences or words which I know is her attempt at English, she isn’t afraid to try – and persist when we don’t understand her. When she first started speaking (signing and Cantonese), we understood her – it was almost as if she saved up all she learned before speaking, so this babbling is new to us! I’m certain she understands more than she can express, which generally happens when one learns a new language; it’s easier to pick up a language when reading and listening than speaking and writing.
As I listen to her speak more and more English day after day (which I worry she might soon forget her Chinese), I wonder how much more quickly we would pick up a language if we adults approached language learning that way: not being afraid to just go for it even when you might not make sense.
For some of her Cantonese, sometimes I can tell who she has picked it up from based on the words she uses. For example, if I hear “啜筒” (zyut tung), I know it’s from Joseph and his side of the family, because I say “飲筒” (yum tung); likewise with “裡頭” (lui tou), I say “裏邊/面” (lui bian/mian) instead.
She still enjoys singing songs and will spontaneously break out in song all day long, especially ones with actions – either ones that she’s been singing at Music and Movement, the library, or ones I’ve been teaching her – so I am trying o find Christian songs that are easy to learn in Cantonese to pass on (so far, I’ve managed Jesus Loves Me with 2 missing words, and parts of two other songs I sang in my childhood).
Colours and Letters
She’s also at the point where she will make and remember associations, so I’ve found success with helping her identify colours and alphabet letters, although sometimes, she will just say the association, like “Daddy” instead of “D” – but I know that she recognizes that letter now, because she says the same association every time. Other letters she recognizes is O, “Breanna” or “Baby” B, “mama” E (maybe because of my name?), “doggie-bone” I, sometimes “moon-crescent” C and “snake” S, and consistently “Leia P” (but it’s really an A). This opens up new activities to try, such as at restaurants, instead of doing word search on the kids menu, we do letter search.
For colours, we’ve progressed from doggie brown to sunshine yellow and fire engine red – and she just somehow knows the colour green, so it’s her favourite colour of the moment. She can sometimes also identify cloud/blueberry blue, purple and pink. With her new-found love for green, she has also begun to collect objects of the same colour and sort them.
She has started to assert more independence (which often leads to doing especially when told not to do), or wanting to do more things on her own, so I’ve asked her to help me get a diaper and wipe when changing her brother, pick out her table setting and bring it to the table at meal times, (re)wash her bib after she’s done with it, and let her figure out how to put on a pair of elastic-waist pants and bite my tongue when it ends up being backwards.
I know many children at this age can put on clothes, socks, jackets, etc. but we haven’t mastered those skills yet. Toilet-training is also slow progress – some days she knows and will tell me she needs to go, and other days, she is happy to pee in her training underwear and not care or seem to notice the couch has gotten wet (still thankful she self-trained for poop for over a year now).
Meals are still spent half self-feeding, with help from an adult once she gets bored with self-feeding (or isn’t as hungry anymore), especially with food choices that aren’t as easy to self feed because it requires utensils or may be messier, like soup noodles or rice with soong; she can pretty much eat an entire sandwich or a serving of sushi rolls on her own though.
When it comes to art and drawing, she’s starting to be able to trace around objects and the other day, she coloured within the lines – we have yet to find out if that was an accident or not. She is starting to cut by following lines with scissors and thread objects through a pipe cleaner, but she’s not at the point where she does it repeatedly / enjoys it yet.
This afternoon’s blog post is brought to you by the peace and quiet of two children napping away, a first! Will report back at three; hope it won’t be the terrifying threes.