My husband (DH) and I don’t communicate much during the work day, and when we do it’s usually via text messages. Mostly we discuss child pickup or dinner plans, but it can often turn hilarious. Fair warning: Considering that we spend a lot of time around small children, it’s not a particularly highbrow kind of hilarity. Here are a few snippets; expect some swearing and typos.
This one is from a few days ago, Friday. DH picked up the kids and got pizza, as I worked a little later than usual.
This one is from a few months ago, as DH was installing Windows 10 (he’s among the brave early adopters).
Btw, the shiiiit.com button says the chracteristic “Shiiiit” of a character from The Wire, a phenomenal HBO show that you need to go see now.
I love this! Can you post your chats with hubby more often? On a side note, it’s interesting that you speak English with your husband. Isn’t he also from unnamed European country? And do you speak English with your kids, too? I’m curious how other immigrants handle these things.
@C: Our kids speak only English and DH and I speak mostly English to each other (probably more than 90% of the time). We spend all day talking to everyone else in English, including our kids, so it makes sense that we use it with each other.
Occasionally, when we are alone and especially when we reminisce, we’ll use our native tongue. Also, if we don’t want our kids to understand something or when we talk on the phone with folks back home. But otherwise, it’s English. It’s really not a big deal at this point.
I get a lot of grief from everyone who hears my kids speak English only for supposedly ruining my kids’ chance at multilingualism: “But they could have been bilingual! It’s so much easier to learn a third or a fifth language when you already speak two!” I would greatly prefer not to have that discussion here, because I’ve had it a million times and it irritates the hell out of me. (Forgive if I am sounding a little testy below, it’s not really aimed at you.) In short, I firmly stand by my opinion that teaching my kids English as their first and only language is the right thing to do for us, because a) language is closely related to one’s personal identity; they were born as Americans I don’t want them being the children of immigrants from Wherever to be a prominent thing in how they feel about themselves or the thing that stands between them and their peers; b) it’s very, very hard to enforce a language when no one else anywhere around them speaks it, they go to daycare since a young age, and the family doesn’t go visit the country of origin ever; and c) language isn’t only the spoken word, it’s spelling and grammar, it’s the literature, jokes, popular culture, none of which they have any exposure to in my own native tongue; so what’s the hangup on speaking? And I don’t actually think it’s that big of a deal to learn any language whenever later in life, if they want to.
Thanks so much for your thoughtful reply! These questions have been on my mind a lot. It’s so great to hear from someone like you and it sounds like you’ve found a great system that works for your family! We have a baby and so far have been speaking with him in our native tongue, not for some ideological reason, but more so because it’s convenient for us. (And I have a super strong accent when I speak English, which I would hate for the poor little guy to pick up.) So far I thought he could just learn English at daycare, but maybe that’s woefully naive…
So far I thought he could just learn English at daycare, but maybe that’s woefully naive…
Oh, he will, especially if you start him early. You should do whatever feels natural to you. (Sorry, I didn’t want to sound like I’m bullying you in the previous comment– mostly it was my own irritation with people scolding me for my choices.)
I’ve been in the US a long time; DH and I spoke English to each other much less initially than we do today. We even tried to teach our Eldest (now 16) our native language; he did speak it for a little while when he was little. But he lost it after starting daycare full time because you have to be hypervigilant if you want your native tongue to stick against the language the kids speak with their peers. So it’s not like we started from an ideology; we tried things and adapted as we went along (Eldest was our guinea pig 🙂 ). Good luck! I am sure your little guy will do great!
Thanks so much for all the wise words! 🙂 And I totally get that this is quite a tricky topic (and didn’t feel bullied at all.) I find that a surprising number of people (often Americans) kind of glorify growing up bi-/multilingual. As if you could never really learn another language when you’re older. Which is perhaps their own experience though.
Ha ha I’m with you on this. I surprisingly get grief from random people for not being fluent in my parents’ native tongue. From people who don’t speak any other languages themselves! My husband and I are both “from” (in the sense that our parents immigrated from) the same country but speak totally different and not very closely related languages, so yeah, my kids don’t speak either. It was never something I cared deeply about so I’m not sure why other people care.
My parents spoke to me in their native tongue & I didn’t go to daycare, so they had to switch to English completely before I started KG so that I wouldn’t be behind, and I lost the other language (I understand 100% but speak at a small child level)
My wife and I mostly exchange themfies via hangouts during the day.
The discussion on childrens language is fascinating. We’re recent immigrants and still default to our mother tongue. This will be the first language of our kid as well and we’re assuming that kindergarden or daycare will eventually stuff some english into her little head. Ive never thought of the language-as-identity issue as a problem before, but I guess we’ll keep it in mind. Thanks