My son is now almost two and a half years old and recently has been speaking quite a bit. He says things at night like, “Daddy, go to bed?” “Daddy, boat coming!” “Kai, neh neh (baby talk for sleep in Japanese).” He also speaks a lot more in Japanese, his first language. His language has been progressing at a very surprising and exciting pace.
I started a three-week vacation about three weeks ago (sadly only one day left before I head back to school). I have been spending a great deal of time with my son during that period. Both my wife and I have noticed a sudden explosion of language in the last month and luckily I have been present to enjoy so much of it.
The amazing thing that has happened is he can now express his needs and wants in English and Japanese. He was able to tell us what he wanted Santa Claus to bring him for Christmas (Santa got him the TOMICA City parking garage set he so desired).
He can also use both his English and Japanese to play with Mom and Dad. The other day he walked up to me, placed some toy food on the table and said, “Daddy, eat this.” His favorite phrase in the past few days has been “Come here Daddy” which he has said at least thirty five thousand times!
I think my mind was really blown the other day when my son said, “Daddy, two boys going over there.” I looked up and sure enough, there were two young boys running across the street in front of us!
I realize that often children in Canada, where I am from, at my son’s age may be able to communicate more, but my son has to process twice the information. He doesn’t just have to learn the word “cat” for example. He must learn that Daddy says “cat” and Mommy says, “neko” (my wife is Japanese).
This is another impressive thing (in my eyes as a father) that amazes me. When I am alone with my son, he pretty much only speaks English. When he is with his mother, he pretty much only speaks Japanese, the language he can communicate more in. When we are together as a family, he mixes it all together and at this point, really only his mother knows exactly what he is saying.
I suppose that in the little world that is “my family”, we are going through some fun and exciting times.
As someone who was raised in a unilingual household, it is amazing to see someone raised bilingual. It’s like looking into a new world!
You can follow me on Twitter: @jlandkev