What?! might be your reaction to this but let me explain. While we lived in London, away from our families, our support network consisted of close friends and a babysitter who we occasionally used when we wanted to head out for a dinner just the two of us. And that didn’t happen very often at all, she was more of a back-up when I had some work commitments and neither of us was able to be with her during the day. So, naturally, she came with us everywhere we went and travelled and it never occurred to us that we could have left her home with our nanny for a night or two if we felt the need to escape. Maybe we just didn’t need an escape… 🙂Continue reading “My second time ever spending a night away from our daughter”
While I was studying child psychology, one module, speech development, was of particular interest to me because we’re raising a bilingual child – she speaks Estonian and English. I did a lot more extracurricular studying for that module and would like to share some myths out there and also draw some real-life examples from our own lives.
Myth #1 – Bilingual children have speech delays
Some children do start speaking later so there are no hard and fast rules they are the bilingual ones and even if there is a delay, it’s just temporary and by school age the differences usually even out. Just so you know what the speech milestones are, here’s a useful table I found. I’m sure there a different versions out there and not all can be 100%, for example, she can name the main colours and counts to 20 in English and 10 in Estonian at three years of age.
Now, speaking from experience, I do believe our daughter’s speech is slightly delayed compared to her peers. Her English speech isn’t as clear or fluent as her friends’ in London and she’s only picking up Estonian phrases since she started kindergarten when she turned three this autumn. I’ve spoken in Estonian to her since her birth but she repeated or remembered only a small portion of words but I’m confident that because I was so insistent in speaking in my mother tongue, she has a perfect understanding of it. And often this is the first huge step towards mastering a new language. I wasn’t too worried when she started state kindergarten in Estonia, I knew she would understand everything, it’s the other way around that concerned me a little, but turns out it’s been going quite smoothly. She has new words, phrases and songs weekly, if not daily! Whether I understand everything she says is a different matter. Also, rather than switch between two languages, she often mixes them up and creates the funniest sentences and she speaks with an accent!
Here’s a wild thought – could her slight delay be because Estonian is such a hard language to learn? I’m really not making this up because according to research based on Foreign Service Institute’s rankings it’s the most difficult Latin alphabet based language to learn for a native English speaker but of course, learning a language is subjective, it also depends on one’s memory capacity and motivation. Still, just saying… 😉
Myth #2 – Bilingual children mix the two languages
Most do while they sort out both languages in their heads. Normally, one of the languages has a stronger influence and the minority language will inevitably borrow words from the majority language vocabulary but again, experts agree on this, that it’s temporary – as the vocabulary improves in both languages, the mixing disappears.
Even bilingual adults mix the languages and I’m a living example. After being abroad for 16 years I speak a dreadful Estonglish, quite often I struggle with the Estonian equivalents and just use English words instead but I’m getting much better as I’m more exposed to Estonian again.
As I already mentioned, her Estonian has come by leaps and bounds since starting Estonian kindergarten and I’m glad I didn’t put her in an international one. The aim while we’re living here is for her to pick up Estonian better than I could have ever taught her. I’m now really curious to see (hear) how her speech develops and at what point she will naturally switch between speaking in English to my husband and in Estonian to me. Until then, I get this: “I magab here”, “I käisin pissil.”, “It mahub!” and so on…
Myth #3 – It’s too late to raise your child bilingual when they’re older
Yes, it’s true that learning a second language is easier for children under 10, and even easier for children under five, compared with how much effort it takes for adults. Studies show that after puberty, a new language is stored in a separate area of the brain, so a child has to translate or go through their native language as a path to the new language. But it’s never too late! It’s just easier to start earlier.
We are raising a bilingual child by choice. I spoke to her in Estonian before we knew we were moving here so I always knew I’d want her to speak this unique sounding language. A tiny population uses it but would you not want to stand out just because of it? Also, being bilingual has some real advantages – bi- and multi-lingual people are better at observing, multi-tasking, and problem solving. They have a larger working memory even for tasks that don’t require language skills.
If you only speak one language at home but can command another one (something that isn’t taught widely at schools) very well, why not introduce it to your child before they pick up a third or fourth language at school? Here’s a tip though – you need to be very consistent and having them watching TV in Spanish and hoping something will rub off won’t quite cut it. It’s good to have some structure through your daily conversations that are meaningful and connected to real life situations. Story time is a good option and learning songs or playing games in another language as well.
And some further reading to those interested – a great article on what clinicians need to know about bilingual development.
To have another language is to have another soul.’Charlemagne
Last week the news broke that Tallinn Christmas market will not be held for obvious reasons and while many people thought it wasn’t a big loss mainly due to its over commercialised appeal with the same vendors year on year I’m extremely sad we won’t be able to experience it fully this winter. I also do kind of agree with them and while I wouldn’t actually buy any Christmas presents from there and it really is overpriced, it holds a magical place in my heart.Continue reading “No Christmas market in Tallinn this year”
Me saabusime Eestisse umbes aasta aega tagasi ja peaaegu nii kaua oleme ka sellises vahvas mängutoas käinud nagu Torela! Tõsi küll, viimasel ajal ei ole enam sinna jõudnud, sest plika käib nüüd lasteaias, aga sellegi poolest plaanin varsti teha talle vaba päeva, et saaksime mänguhommikut taas külastada.
Vaata väikest galeriid me esimesest korrast novembris kuni selle aasta suveni:
Mäletan ühte varajast novembrihommikut, kui mõtlesin, mida temaga järjekordselt peale hakata. Rentisime Kalamajas korterit ja hakkasin igapäevasest jalutuskäigust Balti Jaama turule ja Telliskivi Loomelinnakusse ära tüdinema, teisisõnu olime hakanud oma uue piirkonnaga ära harjuma ja oli vaja leida uusi lõbustusi. Kiire Google’i otsing tõi esile mitu lähedalasuvat mängutuba ning esimeseks osutus Torela, kuhu ma tol hommikul ka otsustasin temaga kärutada. Ma ei osanud arvata, et sellest me uus lemmik hangout saab!
Mulle meeldis, et hinna sees on kohv ning suupisted. Ma ei tea mitte ühtegi ema, kes ütleks ära hommikukohvist, olgu see esimene, teine või juba koguni kolmas tass (no judging!). Londoni soft play ruumides selline asi tavapärane ei olnud, ikka tuli toidu eest juurde maksta, kui selline võimalus üldse esines. Tihtipeale tõin ma kaasa ka oma sülearvuti, et asju ajada ning need paar tunnikest võisid päris asjalikult mööduda. Vahel aga veetsin terve hommiku temaga põlvili põrandal mängides ja teiste emadega jutustades. Mängimiseks on seal palju huvitavaid võimalusi, tütre lemmikuks kujunes vist kööginurk ja pallimeri ja mulle meeldis Duplodest maju ehitada. 🙂
Külastasime ka mitmeid teisi mängutubasid, aga Torela mänguhommikutel käimisest sai meie uus rutiin. Meile sobis see asukoht – kui me lõpuks oma korterisse kolisime, siis olime siiski piisavalt lähedal, et soojemal ajal sain isegi rattaga sinna sõita, ja mulle meeldis, et olin perenaistega sõpradeks saanud. Meil ei olnud mitte kuskil mujal nii sooja vastuvõttu ja ma arvan, et see sai ka peamiseks põhjuseks, miks seal mõnel nädalal lausa kaks korda käisin. Ju oli ka minul vaja uut harjumust uues linnas kohanemiseks ning Torela aitas meid just sellega. Aitäh, et olemas olete ja aitasite meil sisse elada!
Minge ka uudistama!
When I moved back to Estonia last year I noticed lots of mum mentioning how tired they were. At the same time people looked at me funny when I put my then 2-year old to bed at 7-8pm. That’s how ‘selfish’ I am, because I want to live my own life too.Continue reading “Mothers, don’t be afraid to ask for help”
I’ve just finished child psychology studies and received Level 4 Diploma via distance learning from the UK. I studied it so I could understand my child better. It gave me a good foundation and further interest to keep exploring some subjects deeper.
“Instead of training children to meet the expectations of adults, we should be training adults to meet the psychological, emotional, and developmental needs of children.” – Zoe TolmanContinue reading “How you can use child psychology to understand your kid better”
There’s actually a whole other reason why I shared this post on Instagram yesterday.
“Since having my daughter I’ve remained a bit heavier than in my pre-pregnancy days and I’ve been moaning about it for years because I absolutely didn’t want to buy a whole new wardrobe. By some miracle I’ve lost about 2kg since moving to Estonia and finally, this summer, I started to celebrate my body more again. Fine, I’m not as athletic as before and I’m now softer and curvier. But my belly is the softest pillow for my daughter when she cuddles up 😆 🧸. My goal is to lose a few more but I’m in no rush and what comes off slower stays off longer!
And before anyone slams me for wanting to lose only a few kilos ✋🏼 it’s my body and only I know when I’m happiest in my skin! Here’s to #mumbods, they’re all amazing!”
Eelmises eestikeelses postituses kirjeldasin, kuidas me elusse Eestis sulandume ja kuna olen veel lapsega kodune, siis olen hakanud pingsalt ostma ja lugema kohalikke ajakirju, mis on peredele suunatud, et rohkem aru saada, kuidas siinsed emad elavad ja mis on väikelaste emadele aktuaalne. Continue reading “Miks nii paljudel (emadel) on tass tühi?”
Kirjutan väikese seeria blogipostitusi eesti keeles, kirjeldades meie kohanemist, ja tundus, et seda on õigem teha oma emakeeles. Võib-olla hiljem tuleb tuju need inglise keelde ka ümber kirjutada, kuna siiani olen bloginud vaid selles keeles. Continue reading “Justkui välismaalane enda kodumaal”