Friday, October 14, 2011

Eva's First Bilingual Moment

Yesterday Eva did the Italian wave, which is opening and closing your hand with the palm facing you (picture squeezing a foam toy while giving blood) when I said "Eva, say bye bye!"

I have never associated the Italian wave with Bye Bye, mostly because it is purely Italian, and therefore more adapted to CIAO CIAO.

SHE made the translation. This was significant because it was the first time I noted that she connected meaning to words. She says mama all the time, but has not yet decided that it is me. Maybe that will be next.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Sugar Photo Album update!

For more pictures of 8-month old Sugar, try here!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Eva's Passport is here

In the race between the Italian passport people and the American Consulate in Rome, in a surprising twist, Italia won! The Consulate said it would be 3 weeks but it's turning out to be six. The Italians said 3 weeks, and this morning, exactly three weeks after the request, I have her passport.

Now we can FINALLY look for tickets to the States in August. Send us good vibes for a decent price and not too much travel time.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Food Thing

So I've figured out something about Miss Eva the Diva. She will eat anything, just so long as you let HER FEED HERSELF. Tonight we went out for pizza with some friends. I knew I could give her the crust of my pizza with some tomato sauce (the doctor, and I have a good one now, said so), and she could eat that mushy orange junk from a jar (no time to cook today, and they make those jars for a reason!) but I decided to order a plate of grilled veggies for her. It turned out to be a huge plate, by the way. There was zucchini, egg plant, yellow peppers, and red peppers, and (surprisingly) a dollop of mayonaise in the center.

Well, I waited for the veggies to cool a minute and gave her a big slice of zucchini. She gnawed on it and ate it all, skin included. Then a piece of egg plant, then more zucchini. She wasn't too interested in the red or yellow pepper, no big deal, Sweetie ate those. But the thing is, if she can get her paws around it, she puts it in her mouth and likes it. It's as if all that work of picking it up, or grasping it when I give it to her just makes it all worth it.

The only veggies (besides the peppers, and I didn't insist) she didn't eat were the ones I cut up into little pieces that I could put on a spoon and feed her.

A little independent lady, this Miss Eva is!! BTW I give her big chunks of food all the time. I read that after 6 months they are supposed to eat chunks, not everything all mashed up and pureed. And thank god. Because I am not the mash up and purée type. She bites off (she has not teeth, but today I felt two little bottom bumps) from the peach directly, eats a half of an apricot at a time, and eats half bananas at a time too.

If I have something mushy to spoonfeed her, I have to give her the spoon and let her pull the food off with her fingers and try it, then she will accept it from a spoon.

Trying out new foods every day with her is lots more fun than I had expected...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

How we talk to Eva

From day one I have spoken to Eva in English. Sweetie has always used Italian. She goes to a Slovene daycare and they speak to her in Slovene, although apparently they sometimes translate into Italian for her (I don't know why). BTW we live 10 minutes from the border with Slovenia and there is a large population of Triestini who are both native speakers of Slovene and Italian, so her going to a Slovene daycare isn't so strange. What is strange is that we asked for Slovene instead of Italian. Some people think this creates confusion. I'm sure it does not.

Here's what I think will happen. Even before Eva's goo goos and gah gahs turn into words, she will understand both Italian and English perfectly. She will speak both English and Italian as well, although she really won't think much about it at first,  she will identify a certain way of speaking with me and a certain way of speaking with Sweetie and his family and others here.

At some point she will figure out that I speak Italian (which I naturally do when I speak with Italians) and decide to answer me in Italian instead of English. Then I will import her grandmother or export her to grandma's house in the States, and that will put an end to that.

I don't expect her to actually learn Slovene but I do hope that contact with the language will help her later on, or somehow wire her brain, or create a blueprint that will allow her to study and pick up other languages easier later on. I also hope that she will decide that Slovene is important, since it's part of her heritage that was not passed on (Sweetie's mom is a native Slovene speaker but never spoke it with him because she was married to a non-Slovene speaker and it wasn't cool to be bilingual then like it is now). Grandma here no longer feels like a native speaker so she just speaks Italian with baby and that's fine with me.

You should always speak the language you're best at (your native language) with your kids otherwise they may REALLY resent you for being a fake. I've seen this happen and it's sad because parents think they're doing the right thing but it creates tremendous tension and hurt feelings when kids "find out the TRUTH". If you're not a native speaker, fine, get your kid lessons or have a friend or caregiver speak their language, that's all good. Just don't pretend to be a native speaker if you're not. That being said, let your kids see you speak other languages with people and study them, yes, yes, do that- that's good modelling.

Eva's favorite songs are:
In English: Rubber Ducky, Twinkle Twinkle, and The Eva song, which I made up and sing when she's sad and it makes her giggle because it has her name, my name, daddy's name and the dog's name and her birthday in it... all of her favorite things.

In Italian she learned the Batti le manine song (an Italian Patty cake song) with grandma yesterday and heard it in Daycare today and Miss Samatha said "She giggled and giggled when I clapped her hands together" which I imagine is because she recognized the song from yesterday. Cool!

Eva may decide NOT to be into languages because I am. That would be a rebellious thing to do, and that would be fine with me, of course, but let's hope she likes them.

Research on bilingualism

Why you should be bilingual.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Eva Slept Through Carnevale

We went as the three pigs. Pictures soon. They're still in the camera.


Here's what Eva can do now: giggle, meow like a cat, touch your face and laugh, gurgle, pet the dog, try to sit up, stand up, bend her knees, get bored.

Will post some video soon to facebook and put the link here. Eva's keeping me too busy to update as much as I'd like. Forgive me.

Friday, February 18, 2011

This is an Optical Illusion

Eva's pediatrician thought that one of her eyes was pointing a little bit more towards her nose than the other one. Of course, what he really said was that in his opinion she had  strabismus. A lot of newborns have this problem (not that I looked it up extensively on the internet to see what we would have to do to cure it or anything) but it often straightens itself out (literally and figuratively) by the time the little pooper is 3 months old or so. Sometimes it's not really a problem at all but an optical illusion created by the cut of newborn eyes or the width of the nose.

So we went to see our friend, Dr. Paolo at Ospedale Maggiore. On the bus --Eva loves the bus!

 A little rubber frog helped Dr. Paolo check Eva's eyes by going back and forth and up and down so that her eyes could follow. Then he used a little flashlight and Eva's favorite panda toy to check for strabismus. He shined the light right between the eyes and looked to see if the reflexion of the light was in the same place (in the center of the pupils) of each eye. It was.

Phyoo! We are very happy! Thank you, Dr. Paolo!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Eva's First Playdate

This is Eva and her friend, Daniele. Their first play-date was on Sunday. Ever wonder what 3-month old babies do on play-dates? 

First they have tummy time and see who can keep their head off the ground the longest. 

Then they cry and get put on their backs. 
Then they have something to eat. 
Then they fall asleep in their moms' laps.
That's about it.
It's pretty fun, though.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Ok You made me feel guilty

So here're two more. 

Party dress from Fabiola. Party pump booties from Grace. 

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Catching up with Eva

Gosh, I've been pretty lazy about posting Eva pictures. We've got some catching up to do. 

In case we forget when Eva was born...

After bath and baby massage. 

And artsy fartsy black and white with dog. 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Eva's Experiment

This is a very short clip of what Eva had to listen to for 20 minutes for that study. The arrows have nothing to do with the test and are only there to keep babies distracted. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

All in the name of Science

Eva was invited to participate in a study at SISSA on how infants acquire language. It was for babies between 1.5 and 2.5 months of age. 

 The researcher was Amanda from Slovenia. Here she is soaking a high-tech hairnet that Eva wore for the experiment.
Surprisingly, it didn't seem to bother her a bit.

Eva's only rule was she had to keep her head still for twenty minutes. Eating is really the only way to get her to do that, so I fed her until she fell asleep.

This is what Amanda saw on her screen. 

We were put in a sound-proof room and listened to strange syllables for 20 minutes and Amanda recorded Eva's brain activity. The syllables were recognizable ones like Putt and Tupp and clusters that do not exist in any known language as a syllable, like psst. The hypothesis was that already at this age the strange cluster will not register with the infant brain. 
Or something like that.

To keep the babies who don't sleep entertained, there was a computer screen with different colored arrows which appeared and disappeared. Eva didn't watch it, but it kept me somewhat distracted. 

 Good baby.
Those round marks went away pretty fast and we went on with our day. Our next study will be at seven months when they will test Eva as a baby with two native languages (I speak to her in English, Cristian in Italian). Apparently, while they used to say that the advantages of speaking a second language early were detectable around 3 or 4 years of age, now they have found that the same advantages are found even in infants under one year. 

Eva even got a paycheck of ten euros just for participating in the study. We have decided to spend that money on baby socks for the newborn babies at the hospital where Eva was born. That was the one thing the ladies in the nursery say they can never have enough of. 

Today was a good day. 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Tuesday, January 4, 2011