Spring day singing
I may be a poet, but my son is better than I am at finding rhyming sounds and combining words in surprising ways. Right now "Elmo," "apple" and "elbow" are getting mixed up in his mind. When he says short sentences like, "eat Elmo," I giggle at the idea and rejoice in his playing with language.
Children learn extensively from their peers. Our bambino started daycare in December and a combination of the interaction with peers and the developmental stage he's in, he's had bursts of new words. This morning, he surprised me by pointing at the door and shouting, "door!" (He also surprised me by slamming it shut, but... that's something else.)
Toddlers are hard to understand and so I'm only mostly sure that he hasn't said any words in Italian yet. He can point at objects and body parts when I name them in Italian, but he doesn't repeat the words or sounds. There are many myths about bilingual children, including that they learn to speak more slowly. From his actions and spoken language in English, he shows that he understands more words every day, rather than very few.
Each new word seems to give him a sense of power. Since he could first ask for cheese and then find cheese on his plate, he is visually thrilled by what words can do. I look forward to hearing him not only name things, but describe his more complicated thoughts.
Toddlers reach linguistic milestones (and every other milestone) at different paces and in different ways. Talk regularly with your kids, even "parentese" conversations that help them to hear and experiment with sounds, reads lots of books to them while pointing at the pictures and discussing the book, and sing, sing, sing. Model correct language use, including vocabulary and grammar, rather than correcting them.
As for my poems, I'll try to follow his example of surprise and sound relationships between words. I've found my new muse.
Click through for earlier posts related to bilingualism.