Life in Poland

Parenting Tips

As mother of 2 small children, I have learned some things about myself and about parenting in these past couple of years. Surprising, since I feel that I am actually losing brain capacity due to sleep deprivation. (Rosie could work for the CIA.) I suppose that the parental learning process never ends and that is kind of scary. When will I figure it all out? As I mentioned at the top, I have learned some things not everything. Here are some of the things I have learned. These tips are not comprehensive and are not in any particular order and will stop as soon a I have to take dinner out of the oven.

#1 Take the plastic off of the cheese before giving it to the child.09042009(001) (640x480)

#2 Playdough is a major food group for 1-year- olds. Don’t turn your back (to write your blog, for example) on a 1-year-old armed with a handful of the stuff. It will soon become a mouthful.

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#3 Children cannot be allowed to bark orders at parents.

Misiu has taught Lizzie to ask for something in this manner, “Something to drink, please. Daddy, I love you”. “Cartoon at work (she means Cartoon Network), please. Daddy, I love you”. Sometimes she is so excited she forgets to add what she is asking for and comes out with a quick “Please, Daddy, I love you” which is also a nice, if not sneaky, way to get your kid to tell you that they love you a few times each day.

#4 Teach children to respect breakable items that are on low shelves

…but put the valuable ones (sentimental or otherwise) somewhere out of reach. We had a glass candy dish from 09082009(001) (640x480)the 1926 World’s Fair in Berlin. It was left in our house when we bought it and most likely was originally left there by the German family that was removed from this part of then Germany, now Poland after WW2. It survived the new Polish family which had 6 children only to be smashed to pieces by my Rosie. Here’s the bottom part that is left.

#5 Teach your child a foreign language from birth.

If you have such a possibility, it is a fantastic thing to do for your child. Believe me, I know. I teach English to adults and every last one wishes they had started to learn earlier.

I never imagined that I would have bi-lingual children. Me, a rural Pennsylvanian girl whose closest encounter with foreigners was meeting Amish kids at the market 😉 But alas, it has happened and practically without any effort.

While pregnant with Lizzie, I read up on all the latest information I could find about bringing up bi-lingual children. Most authors recommended that each parent speak to the child in their own native language. That’s how we began, with me speaking English only which makes sense because my Polish isn’t very good and Misiu speaking Polish only although his English is excellent. We were prepared to wait a long time for Lizzie’s first words. That’s what most of the literature suggested but around her 1st birthday she started speaking and she started in English. It was no surprise because she spent most of her time with me.

We have 2 children now and we have changed our tactics a little bit. Misiu speaks to the girls more in English as we see that they lack contact with the language. I never ignore the girls when they use Polish but I encourage them to speak English more. Lizzie mixes the two languages, but usually consciously for fun. At the beginning, she learned that there are 2 languages in a very concrete way. If you ask Nanny for chocolate, you get nothing. If you ask Nanny for czekolada, you get chocolate. She also knows that she can ask Mommy for either czekolada or chocolate and she will get…nothing. Through trial and error, she started to distinguish the words that got her what she wanted in different situations. I think also the brain sorts out the different language sounds and patterns easily at this age. Sometimes when Lizzie doesn’t know a word in one language, she asks us. Lizzie understands that some people know Polish, some English and some both. Recently, she was surprised to find out that I don’t know German. She thought her parents know all languages. Rosie’s understanding of both languages is very good so far but she’s not a big talker yet. She’s doing what Lizzie did, choosing the word which she is more familiar with or the one that is easier to say. Babcia or Baba is easier to say than Grandma (and it doesn’t help that Grandma is on another continent and has never met her grandchildren, sniff, sniff).

Some language hits:

Tatuś + Daddy = Daduś

żelek (singular) żelki (plural) gummy bears or other gummy treats = in Lizzie speak żelk and żelks

I will never sprząt all the mess. sprzątać=to clean

I want to syp out the toy box. sypać=pour out

raspberries are witaminki :0) that was taught by the girls’ nanny. so cute.

I need a break because my nogs hurt. nogi = legs

Moja mama mówi English. My mother speaks English.

Idziemy na soccer place. We are going to the soccer place.

I kop-ed a dziureczka in the sandbox. dig and hole

The cake is piek-ed. pieczone = baked

We can magic the car, I think but it will not uda. (succeed) My hands are not magically.

More to come!

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    May 16, 2021 at 2:45 pm

    It seems like you found a nice way to immerse the girls in both languages. I love the list of mashups, so cute. My father’s family had a phrase for their mashup of languages: “half na pół” !

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