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.