Monday, October 4, 2010

An Update at 2.5 years

I thought it was about time to do a progres report for my trilingual toddler, Beli is 29 months- almost 30 months.

Five months ago I took a trip to the States to visit my family after being overseas for a year. As you might remember at the time I was mixing all three languages when I spoke to Beli, (Spanish,Croatian and English). I was using words she would understand (example: la blusa,los shorts y los shoes)but the trip back home was an eye-opener because my family couldn't understand when Beli asked in Croatian, "Sto je to" what is this..for things and people. I was interpreting for my two year old! So upon our return to Croatia I mentioned to hubby that it was time I used the OPOL method (although I would add that he was already doing that, speaking only Croatian). There were times when Beli would only stare at me, lost in my Spanish words and would instead turn to Daddy because she couldn't understand what I was saying. So since our return to Croatia, Beli is now proficient in speaking Spanish. I don't know how she knows but she only speaks Espanol with me then turns to Daddy and says the same sentence but in Croatian.

Now about that third language, Ingles. I'm not sure which parent should speak it. She gets exposure via Baby Tv and just recently after a play date she was introduced to a CD full of children's songs like ...Mary had a little lamb (she says leeto lamb, leeto lamb) and she loves old mcdonald song (she sings MOOOOh) and I have starting reading some English bedtime stories. I guess my questions is should I really worry about teaching her English? Eventually we will be returning to the States where she will go to school there. Do I speak Spanish to her then translate to English?

She is very independent and not the cuddly type (which had my Mom worried, she once mentioned to me, " La estaba arrullando y no queria que la abrazara."(I was putting her to sleep and she didn't want me to hug her!) I laughed it off and said that was quite normal for her.
But then there are those tender moments when she looks at me and smiles and hugs me, then goes to hubby and does the same..... awww I really enjoy those moments very much.

She's also becoming aware of her emotions . For example, she is reading a book and sees a grumpy face and she says, "enojado" or happy face "contento" or sad one "triste."

A conversation between the two of us: (A note: we call her Beli but she calls herself Bela, in the third person)

Beli: "Mami... Bela esta enojada, mami da abrazo" ( Mommy Bela is mad, Mommy gives hug to Bela.)
Me: " Me das un abrazo y un beso?"
Beli then gives me a hug and a kiss and says, "ahora daddy" (now Daddy).
She then goes to hubby and gives him a hug and says, " Tata dai poljubi."

Potty Training-
Still a struggle but with some progress. We went from Beli requesting the diaper by name 'pamper' to accepting wearing underpants (I let her choose between the Dora character or Princess one) and now we are back to not wanting underwear, only diapers!
and from screaming in fear at the sight of the potty chair to now completely ignoring it.
Now she feels discomfort wearing the diaper and thinks she has a diaper rash so she asks us to put diaper rash cream, "crema, pon crema." BUT she still doesn't want to go potty like her friend Emma. Oh well, it will come plus it helps to know my child isn't the only one.

Favorite Things:
Her favorite ice cream flavor is pinky (strawberry), she loves to eat chocolate, tomatoes, cucumbers and bread dipped in olive oil. Her favorite toys vary from day to day, this day it was a horse and a soldier, other days it's a duck and a spoon, or two teddy bears. She must always have one toy in each hand. I don't know if this is some sort of balance thing?

She also enjoys spending the night at grandma, she cries when we have to pick her up. And now that Baki has retired they are spending more time together. Did you notice the two paintings at the top? Yeap, my little artist drew them, with the help of grandma outlining the shape of the flowers and the tree. We have them in our living room and she looks at the them and says, "Bela boje." (Bela painted them)
She knows to count from 1 to 10 in three languages. She LOVES to sing and dance and enjoys helping in the kitchen.

The Concept of Sharing:
when we visit other children's home she says everything belongs to her and when I say they belong to her friend she screams BELAS. ok you can't argue with a 2 year old right? Yet I want to teach her the concept of sharing so I say, "bueno pero cual juguete le prestamos a tu amiga, allright but which toy should we lend to your friend? and she looks around in the room, grabs a doll and runs over to her friend and gives her the doll. I always say, "gracias Beli!"
Sometimes at home when I give her something she wants she says, "gracias" so tender and sweet I just want to melt.

She also says "please Mami daj cartoons." (please mommy give cartoons) Hey I just realized that sentence has all three languages!

My favorite words, "MAMI ven!" she tells me when she wants me to hold her. In my eyes she is still my baby.


  1. Great post. I've always wondered about trilingual children. I've thought about my own future children and decided that for us maybe the OPOL method would be the best. Me speaking Spanish and my husband speaking Danish. English, I'm not so worried about because here all children learn English in school starting about the 4th or 5th grade, and they would be exposed to it when we visit the US.

    The gift of different languages and different cultures is a wonderful thing to instill in a child. You seem to be doing a wonderful job!

  2. I loved this post and you probably know why. stop fretting, your daughter will get English. It's good that your husband speaks in Croatian and you in Spanish. I am assuming that he also speaks Spanish. In that case, once in a while you could throw in some Croatian to your daughter and your husband could do the same in Spanish. That way your daughter is reassured that both parents are fluent in each other's language even if they only have a basic knowledge of them. Children like to be reassured.

    Your daughter is a beauty. You and your husband and very lucky.

    Many thanks.

    Greetings from London.

  3. It is amazing to me that your daughter can speak 3 languages! What a wonderful thing. I like the one toy in each hand thing. Cute! What a lovely post.

  4. What a lovely post! I just realised last week that my housekeeper speaks philipino to Bibs lol... So daddy French, mummy Danish, friends English and Perla Philipino! well well when she will start talking it will be some kind of a small mess am sure!
    I love the pic with your 2 hands...

  5. Wow, three languages! That's amazing :) What a cutie.

  6. Beautiful and smart kid! She'll miss her grandparents and her city a lot... do you really have to go back to the States? Croatia is so marvelous!

  7. I love this progress post...She is growing up so fast and she is a very smart little cutie...I am so impressed by you and her:)
    You are such an amazing mom,sweetie
    Happy Monday

  8. thanks @biking in heels. Just think of all the knowledge our kids will be getting. (including myself,) I have taken a recent interest to read all about the history of Former Yugoslavia, etc. because one day I want to be able to tell my daughter more about where she is from and her culture, along with Mexico of course.

  9. Cuban, hubby says he understands Spanish but he never speaks it. (only when he has to talk to my Mom and grandmother) but I'm trying very hard to learn Croatian, sometimes I want to just throw my arms in the air in defeat but then I say, "no I have to do it for my daughter and Me." so slowly but surely I will get there!

    and thank you for the compliments you are too kind.

  10. @Zemphira,
    Sara thank you. Yeah ever since I can remember she has to always, always be holding something, very young she had her sippy cup and a teddy bear and now the combinations vary! LOL

  11. ok- can i please have kids & send them to you? :) you are doing an amazing job! three languages? are you kidding? we moved from the states to england... and i'm hoping our kids will have a british accent. ha! :)

  12. Oh babs I can't wait until you begin writing about Bibs and her multilingualism, how fun that she is also getting Philipo. I say the more the merrier!

  13. Alina, yes we will be moving's difficult to think about the day when we will have to depart and grandparents will be heart-broken) that's the hardest part- to have two families-oceans apart. but we will be making trips back and forth as I love living near the Adriatic Sea.

  14. thanks for entering my blog giveaway! if you win, i will glady go out and get another gift certificate that you can use some place else!

    thanks for entering the giveaway!

  15. I don't have children, but from everything I've read, children are like little sponges! They'll pick up whatever you 'put down', so to speak. So, talk away!!! She'll probably surprise you and figure out what to say to whom all by herself!!! :-)...Maybe read the bedtime stories in English. That way she'll get all three languages in a comfortable setting.

  16. Beli is just plain adorable!! I can't wait to have one of my own ;-)

    Happy Monday Dear! So glad I stopped by your beautiful blog :-)

  17. Oh Diana you are too sweet. thank you.

  18. Paislea, really! wow that would be awsome. thanks!

  19. @Aspiring, well that would be fun! You will have many fun experiences speaking British English and imagine all those opportunities for tea time!

  20. she's so sweet. I cannot imagine teaching a language, let alone three! she's going to be so smart!

  21. Thank you for this post! It is always very reassuring and motivating to hear another mom's challenges and accomplishments - especially with languages. My son is about your daughter's age and we go through the same stages at the same time. Even the languages are the same - well, kind of (I understand all your Croatian phrases - they are so similar to Bulgarian). I am also acting as interpreter for him in 3 languages (I was just thinking about stopping this practice and employing the OPOL method). At times I too worry about his English, but living in the US, I know that very soon he will be more comfortable in English than Spanish and Bulgarian. My friends' kids are living proof!

  22. She is too cute for words! I am so impressed that she is trilingual! That's amazing, and it will help her so much in life.
    I loved reading this update on her - you have an absolutely remarkable daughter!

  23. Being a mum is seriously the hardest job on earth!

  24. So sweet! She will look back on this post and love it. And what a smart girl to love chocolate already :).

    xo M

  25. Parenting has changed through the ages and for the better I think. Involvement in the child psychological being, watching, observing, helping them overcome obstacles and you are doing a marvelous job. When we lived in the States my brother was one year old and when we left he was five and fluent in Serbian and English. We spoke Serbian at home, he learned English in prekinderkarten and by watching TV. When we returned here he switched to Serbian but with no problem five years later when they returned to the States again it was as he had never left. Fluent again! Don't worry, a mind is a marvelous thing!

  26. @poetess, children are like sponges! they absorb and repeat everything they hear.

  27. thank you Jen, she is our little princess, she really changed our lives. she is a very happy child and it's contagious.

  28. oh @jdavis, I'm sure you will do great at raising your kids. You are very kind and smart, you will be a great mommy!


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