Wednesday 18 July 2012


J Summary (3Y4M12D) - Mommy Could No Longer Pretend Not To Understand Danish

I have only spoken Mandarin with J from Day One since he was a baby. When he started knowing Danish, I have been using this strategy with him:

I pretended that I don't understand Danish.

This strategy has worked very well and J has always spoken to me in Mandarin. But I think its use is coming to an end, now that he is growing up and being more aware of things.

This morning, he said to me in Mandarin, "Stuart (the teddy bear) doesn't like you." I asked him why, whether he meant that he himself doesn't like me. He replied yes. I asked him why.

J replied in Mandarin, "Why is it that when Daddy speaks to you in Danish, you could understand, and why is it that when I speak to you in Danish, you don't understand?"

I was dumb-founded.

It caught me by surprise and I didn't quite know how to answer him.

I thought about it, and I consulted my friend for advice. She advised me to explain to J that Mommy actually understands Danish and to tell him the truth.

I sat down with J a day later. I said, "Mommy does understand Danish, but Mommy hopes that Mommy and J could communicate and speak to each other in Mandarin. Could we continue to speak Mandarin?"

J replied that he didn't know. He did not give me a clear yes or no. However, he continues to speak Mandarin to me. So his actions speak louder than words.

I think it is time we plan a trip to China, so that he could have a tangible understanding of what China is, the land where Mommy's great grandparents came from. They made the journey from China and settled down in Singapore. I had the priviledge of hearing from my great grandmother stories of her life in China, when I was a child about 10 years old. I think J is developmentally ready to receive more heritage education now.

That would be our next vacation plan.

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