Monday, June 22, 2009

Mama says, Papa says and Grandma says

Minglun and Arthur's Mama is from China and speaks Chinese. Their Grandma from father's side is from Peru and speaks Spanish. Grandma lives close by and plays with them often.

When Minglun was little, Mama liked to play Flash cards with him in Chinese. Sometimes, Papa joined in and said some words in English. Like when Minglun lifted the card with a picture of an elephant on it, Papa would say "Elephant". Minglun frowned at Papa and lifted the card to Mama and Mama would say "Da Xiang". Minglun nodded his head satisfactorily and gave Papa a disapproval look.

From Minglun and Arthur's house to Grandma's house, there is a ranch. Many times on their way to Grandma's house, they see some cows in the field eating grass. Mama will point to the cows and say to Minglun, "Minglun, look... Niu. Hao duo Niu." However, Minglun seems to pick up Spanish first. One time, when Mama was saying, "Wow, Niu, Hao Duo Niu.", Minglun started saying, "Vaca, muchos vacas." And then sometimes he will repeat after Mama, "Niu, Hao duo Niu."

One time, Minglun asked, "Mama, why you say Niu and Grandma says Banca?" Mama said, "Because Mama speaks Chinese and Grandma speaks Spanish." Minglun asked again, "What does Papa speak?" "Papa speaks both Spanish and English."

Later when Arthur was learning how to talk, he also discovered the language differences. When he tried to count, he would say, "Grandma says, 'Uno, dos, tres.' Mama says, 'Yi, Er, San'". Everytime after he counted in English, he would say, "Mama, now count in Spanish." What he meant was in another language since he was not using the word Chinese well yet. Then he started counting "Yi, Er, San...".

What time is it outside?

In Minglun's house, there is a garden themometer in the backyard hung on a shelf. Every morning, Mama likes to look through the window toward the backyard to take a look at the themometer outside and decides what clothes to put on for Minglun and Arthur. Minglun has been observing Mama and he didn't know what is that for.

After Minglun learned how to read a clock and read the clock correctly several times in the kitchen, one day he finally asked when Mama was trying to read the thermometer in the backyard. "Mama, what time is it outside?" Mama laughed and said, "That is not a clock. It is a thermometer." Minglun asked, "What is a thermometer?" "Thermometer is to tell you what temperature it is. Not the time. From the temperature, you can know if it is hot or cold."

"Okay, then I can read a thermometer!" Minglun was so excited and started reading the number. "It is 60 o'clock." Mama laughed again, "It is 60 degree, not o'clock. But you are doing very good Minglun. Sixty degree means that it is nice outside, but just a little bit chilly. You can wear your jacket and go outside with Arthur."

So from then on, Minglun started reading the thermometer every time they need to go outside. He will say, "Mama, it is 50 o'clock outside, me and Arthur need our jackets." Or "Mama, it is 65. We can go to the backyard to play."

It took him a while to say "degree" instead of "o'clock" and Mama was having so much fun hearing him saying that.

Minglun, Mama's sweet boy, just one step at a time.