Liam at Two

December’s long season of presents is over and Liam is now two years old.

He’s recently started the famous language explosion, learning several new words each day. He’s obviously aware that he speaks two languages, now learning to say both words instead of preferring the first one he’d learned. He still prefers hand gestures where he has learned them first, seeing no need to learn words for them too.

For the past couple of months Liam has spent the mornings in the crèche over the road. That’s why I’m online again every morning. It’s great for him to learn some independence and spend time with the same kids every day. Leaving him there in tears has been heart-breaking every morning for weeks, but now he’s happy to go there and is nonchalant about us leaving.

I was worried when he suddenly learned more German at the crèche, but that has settled down now. Still, I make an extra effort with plenty of English books and music and some DVDs of gentle British children’s TV from the 70s, such as The Wombles and Ivor the Engine.

The language explosion was accompanied by a sudden increase in general understanding and concentration. Now he happily listens as I read all of a Dr Seuss book to him and seems to understand narrative instead of just wanting to identify objects. His imaginative play is more complicated, with detailed routines.

We’ve had a little snow in Munich this week. Liam learned to walk in last year’s snow. I hope he remembers enjoying this year’s.


5 thoughts on “Liam at Two

  1. I just wanted to say I find very interesting your post about educating liam, specifically the ability to speak two languages, as I plan to do the same when I’ll have children, it’s not very common here in spain to do that but I think it’s a very good thing for him..

    How much english do you speak to him (50% german, 50% english)? do you plan to bring him to a bilingual school when he’s older?

    Congratulations for such a good son!

  2. Nelson, I speak only English to him. Everyone else speaks only German. That’s apparently easier for children to deal with.

    We’ll see about schools. German schools are quite bad anyway, and finish at 13:00.

  3. Hi Murray,

    From experience, don’t be surprised if, when he’s a little older (say school-going age) if Liam starts “blocking” on English a bit. Thomas didn’t speak much English at all from the age of 4 till this year, but he still understood me completely, and liked English DVDs and books. There was a period where he felt a bit “different” with it, though, when he was 6, and he didn’t even want the English stories or films for a while – he’s past that now, though, and is speaking more & more English with me.

    Funny enough, we haven’t (yet) had the same experience with Paul. He speaks mostly French, of course, but also comes out with English phrases very often. Sean’s in the middle of his language burst now, and has more French words than English (symptomatic of me spending less time with him, I suppose).

    This happens differently for every child, though – I know other couples where the children speak only English with their (english-speaking) mother and french with everyone else. The end result is typically that the child is autonomous in the “second” language around the age of 7 or 8. At that stage, it’s as much a question of being required to speak the language (because Granny doesn’t speak French, for example) and gaining confidence as anything else.

    Cheers,
    Dave.

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