What happened to kindergarten?


I was talking to my friend this morning who wanted another baby. She has one who just turned five years old so at this point in her life, everything is fine and dandy. Most of the time, at least. The thing is, though she really wants to have another baby, there’s this pressing thought at the back of her mind how tough it must be to start from zero again. (I started from zero again after 8 years so yes, I can validate her concerns.)

The things you have to go through again: pregnancy, possible morning sickness, the destruction of a million body tissues during child birth, the recovery afterwards (and if her luck is fucked like mine ending in emergency c-section…sorry)…those sleepless nights, the crying without reason spells (possibly colic so look it up), breastfeeding, weaning, toilet training, yada, yada, yada.

The list is long and to be honest, could be an effective birth control.

But in spite of it all, that newborn smell and that total baby MAGIC. That small being empowering you, making you think you’re a superwoman and can do it all. Can do it all over again.

I am writing this in tears.

My five year old son started kindergarten this month. Gone are the days at preschool when they would just sing Five Little Ducks and If you’re happy and you know it day in and day out. He is five years old –  far from being an infant so we have gone through the colicky stage, the fight to win my breasts back, the toilet training madness but the wonder of this thing called “parenting” is that it’s like you’re visiting an unknown town without a proper map.

Somehow you’re confident you’re going to be ok but the moment you think you’re going in the right direction, there is a surprise at a random corner. ALWAYS.

I’ve been through this once a little long time ago and boy, I can’t remember if it was this dramatic. Most probably it was but it’s just too long ago to remember. You know how they say anesthesia f*cks with your brain.

I just spent almost an hour helping Benjamin with his homework. RIGHT. Homework for kindergarten. Is that even a thing nowadays? Well, it seems so! Today his carer said Benjamin refused to do his homework: lower case letters a-z. If I am five years old, I would be ballistic too. Can you introduce me to a five year old who is maniacal obsessive about doing homework every night? If that’s your child, I would hate you. Sigh. No, I am joking. You tell me how it is done before I lose my mind. And you have to tell me real quick because I am on the verge of losing it.

And how many times was I on the verge of “losing it” in this 13 year parenting journey? Probably too much and too pathetic to count but that doesn’t mean I am immune to the feeling of failure, of being not good parent enough.

Benjamin is picked up by the school bus at 10:30 for his 11:30 class and then comes home at 4:30 in the afternoon. After what seems to be already a long day in the world of five year olds, there is a homework that needs to be done. When we’re supposed to read books or learn a new song or do silly stuffs that are fun stuffs, we sit down and do the darn homework..while he is already tired and surely running out of batteries.

My five year old son is struggling to write the alphabet.

“Benjamin needs to practice more. He cannot do it at school without the teacher’s help.” resonates inside my head over and over at work earlier this morning but I shrugged it off, telling myself,

He’s gonna be ok. He can’t go on like this – unable to write simple small letters! One fine day, he will get it. He will be able to write! I will not stress about it!

Well, boo hoo. I stressed about it. Heavily. I look at Benjamin’s older sister, my 13 year old daughter and I think: how did she survive this stage? What did I do before? Are girls really easier and more advanced than boys?

Now Benjamin is sleeping. He showed full force of resilience towards my nagging, didn’t say anything and just continued to do what he’s supposed to do, to complete his work so he could sleep but then when we finished, he had a very emotional outburst like his pet cat died or something. I bet he’s putting me in the list of his top most hated person in the world because as his mother, I wasn’t nice. I wasn’t patient. And he is not used to seeing me get angry.

I feel bad that I can’t help him help himself. I feel bad that I can’t help myself. When you’re a working mom, the last thing you would want your day to end is your kids resenting you.

(This is why from early on, I already know deep in my heart I could never become a teacher or I’ll probably end up in jail.)


While alone in the living room contemplating on what just happened (me losing it, forcing my son to write, and to be brutally honest – screaming…what a shame) I am recognizing there’s a problem with me and then there could be a problem with my son. And then most importantly, THERE COULD BE A PROBLEM WITH THE CURRENT EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM.

HEAR ME OUT – don’t you feel that the kindergarten now is what 1st grade used to be? Therefore, if your child comes to school not knowing his letters he or she will be behind and not do well in school. The expectations for a child in kindergarten and every other grade has dramatically increased. Teachers have no choice on what to teach – they are told the expectations the children in their classes must meet whether we agree they are developmentally appropriate or not!!

And what choice do we really have, as parents, presented with a child’s homework that needs to be done no matter what the cost?

When I was 5, I played, had fun, and learned age-appropriate things. Heck, I did not even attend kindergarten! Unfortunately, that is not the case anymore. Now, the kindergartners in most schools  are mastering things that I did not even learn until higher grades.

By the end of kindergarten, they are expected to learn how to read, to analyze shapes, to compose writing prompts and much, much more. The expectations of kindergartners are getting much too high that it’s become stressful and unrealistic.

When I look at my son now, with excessive amount of homework every night, I am terribly envious of the joyful, illiterate kindergartners of Finland.

And I bet there are no mothers there going mad and crying while writing blogs like this, you know?

I survived driving to Kite beach

beach day

Last weekend, I woke up and decided I would take the kids to the beach, never mind I’d be driving for 30 minutes to get there. If you know me, you know how I feel about driving, especially with routes I am not familiar with or have not driven to at all.

I’m happy to say that yes, we have arrived safely and in one piece at Kite Beach. I was so exhausted but after seeing Benjamin’s reaction when he stepped on the shore? Every drop of sweat on my palms and other body parts too scandalous to mention was worth it. Even Pristine was so happy never mind she couldn’t swim as the water was still too cold at this time of the year.

P in beach 1

Why was I driving when I dread driving? Well, the husband is away and I’ve been single parenting for the 2nd week now. This is actually nothing new because even when he is here, I am single parenting most of the time anyway. So when he is gone, I say to myself “Heck, what’s the big deal? What’s the difference?”

But alas, it’s only when the other spouse is away that we realize, it isn’t the same after all. This family thing is not a one man or one woman show, especially when there are children involved. We are a team and it’s not the same if one team member is not around. It’s funny how different it is when you’re married and have kids than when say, compared to when you were just dating. The I-miss-you-how-am-I-going-to-cope-up-without-you moments have been replaced by I-can-handle-this, I-should-handle-this! mentality. 

I am proud to say I can manage most things alone. I can run the house alone. But then, there are times when I wish my spouse was there to fill in the gap. Like driving, for one (and wirings gone wonky around the house…).

Though I was driving every day while we were living in Japan before our move to Dubai, driving in Dubai is a whole different ball game for me. I am terrified of driving to places I am not familiar with. Hello big burly speeding cars, impolite drivers and 7 lane highways!

(You have no idea how grateful I am for the Metro!).

Ben at the beach 1

p and b at the beach 1

The kids and I had so much fun at the beach where we stayed till around 1 pm. What a liberating feeling to have no restrictions on time. 


I didn’t realize there was a T Swift song playing in the background when I took this video… A video posted by Grace | Sandier Pastures (@sandierpastures) on


Don’t you just love days where you don’t care about what time it is?

I wish I could do this more often so I can conquer my fear of driving especially if the kids are in the car with me. But yesterday, I managed to get to Kite Beach (and back home) with Google maps, pure guts and sweaty hands.

Several articles on the internet point that frequent travel of one spouse have negative effects on the family. Maybe. But I think there’s also a positive side. The spouse who is left behind is forced to develop themselves to become a more mature, more courageous parent and individual.

I certainly feel braver now.

Benjamin and his love for maps

ben map 2

My kids – they don’t look anything like me. I’ve been mistaken for their carer instead of their mother so many times I’ve lost count nor care any more. Some won’t believe till one of my kids blurt out, “mama” to call me in public.

Most of their behavior are from their father too…well except one: love for geography, especially Benjamin.


Benjamin started to show his interest with the map on our living room wall before he turned two years old. I guess he was attracted to the colors and I taught him the countries which he gladly, openly accepted. He easily memorized some of them, the big, prominent ones.

I took down the map when we rearranged furnitures in the living room and it has not been up on the wall for almost a year. The almost worn out map was rolled and kept in one corner in the bedroom, forgotten, gathering dust. Last night, when I moved some things, Benjamin saw it and exclaimed gleefully, “Mama, the map! the map! I found the map, let’s put it up again!”

Oh yeah. That map. I put it up near his bed and within his reach when he’s on top of the bed. So last night, instead of reading books during bed time, he had fun pointing at the map and oh my God, he still remembers some of the countries, even if he had not seen the map for almost a year! I love it when his face lights up every time I clap and kiss him whenever he proudly points to: America! Greenland! Italy! Brazil! Philippines! Japan! Australia! India! Madagascar!

Oh, Benjamin. The places you’ll go. When I was seven, my father gave me the most precious and memorable gift: The World Atlas book. I spent so much time flipping through the pages of that book while it laid flat on the floor (it was huge). My father would show me the countries and what’s in there, the history, etc. That opened up my passion for leaning about new things, love for history and travelling to places I have never seen.

It was the night before Vienna



I got the SMS reminding me about my flight to Vienna tomorrow. In less than 24 hours, I am going to board a plane and be away from my family for a week.

Am I excited about this trip? Of course, I am! It’s been on my travel bucket list since forever.

But here I go again. I will terribly miss my kids.

Once you have kids, you are forever torn. I tell you, TORN. Your heart is no longer whole. Half of it, your children holds. I know I shouldn’t feel guilty. I don’t fly out very frequently. They will be taken care of when I am away. But here I go again.

When I became a mom, I (shockingly) discovered that motherhood is a state of permanent guilt. Should I work or not? Should I continue to breastfeed (even if my nipples are raw and sore and bloody) or use the bottle? Should I hover around my children or hands off? There are no cookie cutter right answers, only a feeling that you probably made the wrong choice.

Guilt is part and parcel of our mom lives. And no one is spared. We crave for me time but then withdraw when we actually have it because of guilt.

Are you a mom? What is your idea of a “me time”? You know it doesn’t have to be big or major but mine is probably solo travel because it’s just me and myself, trusting my instincts, my guts and basically about finding myself again.

grace in 1997 2

~ Me in 1997, barely one year as a student in Japan and I started exploring WITHOUT the internet (no Google Map!), just lots of research and a bus/train timetable book ~

Far too many moms skip “me time.” and little by little, day by day, we lose ourselves. Mom needs to be happy. We should be happy. And a little time to ourselves could also make us healthier, have a clearer head, feel refreshed, and even be a better mom.

Do I feel guilty about this solo trip? You bet. But will I cancel my flight and stay? No.

My children feel that I love them enough and they won’t mind I am gone for a few days because that doesn’t mean I’ve loved them less. I made them understand that. (They are wonderful travel companions, I am very lucky)

I seldom go on solo trips but I did so in 2011 to Thailand when my eldest and only child then was 8 and in 2013 to Turkey when my second was two. Of course I felt guilty when I took the time off but when I came back, I had much more energy and really appreciate everything I have. Life can become really, really busy and it’s so easy to lose yourself. Sometimes I want to be just me, Grace, not a mom or a sister or a wife or an employee.

And I find that Grace when I travel alone, when I do things alone.

…but that doesn’t mean I want to do things alone forever. I love my family. I love being a mom. My God, I am crazy in love with my kids. I couldn’t imagine life without my husband. They are my life. But I also have my own life…see? Torn, I tell you. Forever torn.


But I booked my ticket with words from a very wise friend hovering above my head: Children will not remember the few days you were not there. But YOU, the adult, will remember that you didn’t do what you really wanted to do, for the rest of your life.


Brushing the guilty feelings aside, I will enjoy this trip, heck I paid for it! I’ve never been to Austria and I am exploring two cities alone with the help of the internet and pure guts. Wish me luck! For the meantime, you can follow my journey on Instagram, Twitter and my blog’s Facebook page.

See you on the other side!

The Charm of Legos

Lego City

I’ll tell you something I can be proud of as a parent: I can take my children to a toy store and we can go out with no one crying. It’s not because I buy each of them a toy whenever we visit. In fact, it’s the exact opposite: I don’t buy anything from the store when I go out with them.

Truth is, we are not big toy buyers in the first place. My daughter only has one doll she cherishes since she was 1 year old. My son has only a few hand me down toys and some are gifts from friends for his birthday or Christmas. He has die-cast train toys I bought because these don’t practically break. I carefully pick toys I buy for my kids because I don’t like clutter and I hate toys that would just be an addition to our planet’s already brimming land fills.

But to be fair, not all toys are created equal. While most toys are rubbish, some are actually beneficial. Enter Lego blocks! Who has not heard about Lego? Our kids love LEGO. Colorful and easy to use, Lego have withstood the test of time because of their unlimited open-ended possibilities. There is not just one way to play with a set of Legos. The appeal of LEGOs is one that is timeless and universal. They provide endless possibilities for construction and creation. While model ships, airplanes, and cars create great replicas, LEGOs allow you to build whatever you want!

I find that my kids enjoy playing with these blocks than watching TV and they could spend hours on it.

LEGOs, in my opinion, are one of the best toys you can give a child. No kid hates getting LEGOs. Even if the theme is uninteresting to them, they can always ignore the instructions and build whatever they want.

What I like most about LEGO is that it lasts. Buy a single set and you will be able to make stacks of different models. Lego doesn’t age. The sets my daughter Pristine had when she was young are still perfectly good and can be added to newer sets seamlessly so her little brother can still play with them.

Lego is known to be useful in teaching children Mathematics, patterns and spatial logic. My kids are into Lego City sets because it gives them the opportunity to build their very own mini city. LEGO city pieces include vehicles, buildings, figures!  All of the key themes can provide many hours of play, from the police and fire stations that my little boy loves to the many cool vehicles and iconic buildings that they  both love building and playing with.

Can you think of any there any reasons LEGO is awesome? What are your thoughts about Lego?

Weekend with Benjamin

weekend with Benjamin

Hi, how was your weekend?

Mine had been very exhausting yet very rewarding at the same time. I had a date with my son. Benjamin is my 3 and a half years old toddler and I don’t get to spend much time with him as much as I would love to because I work full time 5 days a week. I only have the weekends with my children and I intend to make the most of it every time.


Last weekend, my husband had an event at the Japanese circle where he is a volunteer teaching Japanese language for children (my other child also goes to attend the weekly classes every Saturday). I thought it would be fun to take Benjamin out, and spend the day in his pace, to do whatever he likes. And what he likes is pretty simple – roam around, maybe pass by a toy store, go to a park (not possible in Dubai’s current weather) and most of all, TRAINS!

I took him to ride the Metro and then the tram and we were lucky to be able to see the limited edition specially painted trains!

It was already lunch time when we were approaching Dubai Marina so I thought we’d get down and get on the tram…and then find a restaurant that’s out of our usual go to restaurants in Dubai. We went inside Dubai Marina mall and saw directions to “Pier 7 restaurants”. We’re late to checking out dining outlets at the Marina simply because we live on the other side of Dubai. The week prior, we attempted to go to Pier 7 on a Thursday night and found that most are pubby and not really suitable if with small children. But I want to give it another shot because I’ve read a few reviews…Benjamin and I chose to go to The Scene by Simon Rimmer, level 4 of Pier 7.


When we entered the restaurant, I first saw a pram..so that meant, the dark, pub like joint we saw last Thursday night had more to offer. It was actually nice to see the restaurant during day time.


The restaurant features British-style contemporary menu that has the classics lovers of British cuisine know and love, served in a casual open-plan dining area.


The interiors have that retro feel to it, which I like.

The Scene, Pier 7

The Scene, Pier 7

The place was bustling with weekend diners. It was actually full and with so many families. I had the Entertainer digital voucher on my phone so we even got a great bargain because using that meant, we get one main dish free if we ordered one main dish. Benjamin liked the Chicken Kiev, crispy on the outside and very tender and juicy on the inside with garlic and tarragon butter served with warm coleslaw and roast onion mashed potatoes.

Chicken Kiev

I had the 300g grass fed Angus sirloin steak served with proper chips (yes, they really looked and tasted ‘proper’!) and bernaise sauce. This was new to me as I am not used to having creamy sauce with my steak. Taste wise, it wasn’t bad but I could have wished for a more tender meat for the price.


The Scene was quite a revelation actually. I think I may come back to order their Sunday roast (served on a Saturday as Sunday is a normal work day in the UAE). The people near our table seemed to be enjoying it so it made me curious.Will be back again for sure, so many items on the menu I want to work my way through!

With our tummies full, we once again got on the Metro and chose to stay at the first car. I was standing all the way from Dubai Marina to Deira just so Benjamin could pretend he was a train driver. My legs were dead but my heart was so alive at his ooh’s and aaah’s every time there is an approaching train.

What a lovely weekend we had, had a great exercise by walking, discovered a new restaurant and saw interesting trains. We were back home at 6 pm and asleep by 8!

It’s Mother’s Day and I’m the bad person tonight

mother and daughter

It’s Mother’s Day and I came home from a full day’s work. It’s 37 degrees Celsius (98.6F) in Dubai at 6 pm. Our house is a good 20 minutes walk from the nearest Metro station. I am drenched in sweat. Sunday is normal work day in the UAE (Middle East) so don’t be surprised why I am reporting for work on a Sunday – as do other holidays like Easter Sunday or Christmas…those are working days as well.

My preteen hands me out a birthday invitation from one of her classmates. It’s going to be in one of the popular facility with huge trampolines where you can jump all you can, with friends. She’s excited. I am certainly not.

I know I am guilty of being what’s called a semi (not full blown!) “helicopter parent”, especially when it’s about safety. I hover too much, especially when we are in the water, when they are young and incapable. I had been called overprotective and strict when I refused my 7 year old to go to the movies alone with her classmate.

I had to gather strength to politely say no to this particular birthday invitation and I see the disappointment in her eyes. I can’t blame her – if I was her age, I would sulk too and I did when I was younger. There had been countless times I was not permitted to go out with my friends because my parents foresee danger. I’ve never done sleepovers. EVER.

At this point I think I’m beginning to sound like my parents, specifically my father. We were watching a news program one night in the 80’s, I think I was about 12 or 13 and the news anchor talks about a group of teenager drowning in the river (or was it beach? I couldn’t remember) and here’s what my father said, “If those boys and girls stayed at home, they could have been alive now.”

Why did we say no to this invitation of a day of fun with giggling preteens jumping on trampolines?

Along with the invitation card, the venue of the party she will be attending included a waiver in which parents/guardians need to sign. It read:

“You acknowledge that the activity is potentially dangerous and that by participating in the activity the child will be exposed to the possibility of personal injury.”

“You acknowledge that the recreational activities can be dangerous with many inherent risks and hazards. As a consequence personal injury, and sometimes fatality, can occur. You voluntarily assume and accept all such risks and waive the right to sue the facility for any personal injury or fatality by signing the facility’s waiver form.”

…basically, they could not be held liable for whatever happens with the child within their facility.

I won’t judge parents who readily sign those kind of waiver forms in the name of FUN. But I simply cannot sign it and hand over my child there. My child could hate me…I am sure she already does as I write this post. I am on the fence to be soft to let her understand that I am not that entity that robs her of all the fun, that I am mainly concerned of safety because I wish for us to be together longer. And that she can still have fun with minimal risk, without that scary waiver hovering over her parents head and driving them crazy until the party is over.

We could argue all day long that ALL activities pose some kind of danger. Your call. But mine too. Your child, my child.

As real and raw as this sounds, trying to strike a balance between honoring our kids, pushing them to fly, and protecting them is a challenge. I can already imagine it being more difficult from now on. Tonight, someone in my house thinks I am a bad person, the taker of joy. She doesn’t say anything but I can read her mind and it’s all in her eyes.

Our daughter is 11. We don’t have any issues with birthday parties held at home/restaurants, etc or pool parties with adult supervision but we abhor signing waivers from facilities that wash hands from any liabilities that could arise.

Top photo credit

A little man of few words…


This weekend, my boy recognized and pronounced the letter ‘S’. I couldn’t be happier because he can say all the letters in the alphabet except S. That sneaky little letter ‘s’ that escapes him all the time. That stumps him when he sees it. Snake becomes ‘nake’, stop is ‘top’ and taxi with ‘s’ pronunciation at the middle of the word? It totally morphs into a different word, “tikku”.

Don’t ask me why.

Benjamin’s speech puzzles me. Every day he tries so hard to babble away his requests, demands and daily conversations to us only to get blank stares. It is frustrating but let’s say I can now understand 80% of what he wants to say but I think the average person would only understand 10%.

To be honest, if he was my first child, I would be worried. Really worried that I would be in Google frenzy to find out if my child is normal or needs help. He is almost 2 and a half years old and can’t do a proper sentence yet. His sister Pristine sang songs when she was his age. But I would never compare him to Pristine, my first girl child because comparing their speech skills would make me panic. Pristine was very conversant (maybe being at the daycare since she was 1 helped a lot. Ben is not attending any preschool class).

But what Benjamin lacked in speech he makes up with his absolutely fantastic memory. And his love for geography! You probably would have seen some videos I posted on my Instagram account. As of today, he can point several countries on the map when I ask him where it is. It started as a game and he was hooked. He would asked to be carried and start our map game, “where is Russia, the big one up?” It was just Russia, China, Japan, Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, America and Canada, the prominent ones on the map at first.

This was our first map playing session (video taken by Pristine, without Ben’s knowledge)

Our ‘play’ became very frequent that I had to bring the world map down to his height level, for easy access. Then, bam! He memorized so many other countries afterwards: Mexico, Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, France, Spain, Portugal, Greenland, Iceland, Madagascar, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey, Italy, UK, Indonesia, Taiwan, Mongolia and just last night, Oman, Norway, Yemen and Sweden. Sometimes, it’s so fast that I would just point and name the country and ask him and he points it to me, correctly. Things happen so fast I could not even video it. And when I do have the time to video it, he loses interest. He stops when he seems he with a camera pointing his direction.

Here are two video snippets.

I am really amazed not just because this love for geography might be the only piece of genetic he got from me (the rest of his behavior/character is very similar to my husband!) but because this boy cannot read so I don’t know how he does it at all.

So, he doesn’t talk properly yet but comes with more confidence of being a mom the second time around is that comforting thought that children grow up and develop their skills differently. No two children are alike.

I am willing to wait. One day, he will talk. And He will blow my mind away with his first complete, proper sentence.

family weekend

Dad is home on the weekends

family weekend

Do you have that habit of questioning things when they are too good to be true? I do, even when I really shouldn’t. 

My workaholic husband’s work schedule has changed since the beginning of March (this year, 2014). No more night shifts; coming home at 2 or 3 am when everyone is asleep. Sunday-Thursday work schedule just like mine. Friday-Saturday day off, just like mine. Honestly, I wasn’t too sure how to react to it (there was even a point I dreaded about it because he is not the friendliest when he is stressed and tired) – the kids and I, we are not used to having him home on the weekends because he was always out working and late night work shifts on weekdays was often. We managed to function as a family of three instead of four, for years. I was like a single mother.

And somehow I had to be ok with that.

I have more than 3,000 photos on my iPhone and maybe only 1% of that has the father of my children in it. He just wasn’t there.

Enter March 2014 and he’s at home when we wake up on a Friday morning – it’s a different feeling and even the kids are confused. “Why is papa here?” I told my daughter about her father’s change of schedule and also said, “no questions, let’s just enjoy the moment.”

family weekend

So far, we’ve spent two weekends straight as a happy family. We took the kids out for lunch and to the park, like how two real parents normally do. I was juggling both the mom and the dad role alone for years and for a change, now someone gets to carry the heavy diaper bag or the sleeping toddler.  I look at my children and thought, while they were happy and ok before with just mom, these little ones need their father.

And now, they have one. I feel a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. 

So this is what a normal family weekend feels. This past couple of years, I’d forgotten what is ‘normal’.

Ben and his nanny

Small children are born multilinguists

Pristine and Benjamin

Hello beautiful people! Hope you’re all having a better week than I am. I can’t believe Thursday has come again. Work had been hectic, as always, every after vacation. You get that feeling that your body is at the work place but you somehow left your brain at somewhere.

And then the paper work just piles up.

The two kids are at home because it’s still summer vacation, at least for the next 3 weeks more. I spent two weeks with them at home this summer and though I get frustrated with things I couldn’t do when they’re around, I terribly miss being with them, to hug, cuddle and kiss them at any given time.

Pristine is excited to go back to school again, or at least, get out of the house and spend time outside without bathing in sweat. It’s still very hot in Dubai and humidity is at killer high. No outdoor life yet.

Meanwhile, Benjamin is turning 22 months in a couple of weeks. There had been a lot of changes. Like, he had his first real boy haircut.


He has become very playful that when he wakes up randomly at 4am, like today, he’ll motion me to peel myself off from bed and play with him in the living room. I’m having a grand time (no sarcasm) except that I really would love some decent sleep soon. Hmm, maybe in a few months more.

He seems desperate to talk, resorting to bird language…he sounds like he’s chirping the words, it’s so funny. He can make out words like papa, mama, bye, buh-bye, de (to refer to the boobies), de (again) for candy. What he lacks in speaking, he compensates on comprehension…in at least 3 different languages!

Ben and his nanny

I speak to him in English, mostly and he perfectly understands. I also use a Philippine dialect spoken in the south of the country, the language I grew up with. His nanny, who takes care of him until I go back home from work speaks Tagalog, the national language of the Philippines, my husband talks to him in Japanese. ALL of these languages he understands by the way he reacts to what we say!

Some people think that exposing babies to more than one language confuses them and that it will delay his speech. But that is a MYTH.

Great read about raising a multilingual child:

Two or More Languages in Early Childhood: Some General Points and Practical Recommendations
Raising a bilingual child: The top five myths
Ask a Linguist FAQ – Bilingual and Multilingual Children: A Different Perspective

I admit – I’ve had apprehensions and thought of telling our nanny to only speak to him in English but held myself. And observed my son. The rapport between them is amazing. He fully understands what she says and he is not less comprehensive with regards to the languages my husband and I are using. He understands us too.

Now, we patiently wait what language he will use in his first complete sentence!