Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Alien parent = double the work

Ok, no one said it was easy being a parent. But there is one thing that is harder. And that is being an alien parent.

You have to refresh and learn children's song twice (Child: "Mom, can we sing "Ekorrn satt i granen" in English please". Mom: "Eeehh... the squirrel sat in the tree and was going to... skala... hm... kottar, kottar??...").

And you have to learn twice as many - both the main Swedish one AND the main American children's songs (you don't want to your kid to be left out...). Ring around the roses and bro bro och breja... these songs that makes absolutely no sense.

You have to figure out the sound of animals in two languages (the frog says "ribbit" in English and "kvack" in Swedish).

You have to be able to instantly translate when reading ("This is Nicke Nyfiken, oups, I mean Curious George, and he was a nice little apa, no, monkey"!).

On play dates and in the park you feel like UN interpreter when your multilingual child plays with monolingual friends (switching between languages like a war was imminent and both parent and child need a big nap after to let the brain rest).

Stay calm when the child switches like crazy between languages or blends randomly.

I'm so happy we're only dealing with two languages...

11 comments:

Isle Dance said...

I can't imagine how much work it must be as a parent in this situation. Maybe the children help us learn faster? I'm barely fluent in one language while trying to (quietly) become comfy in another. Bravo for your multi-lingual family! :)

Johanna said...

Hej igen
Jag bodde i Reston, utanför DC i två år. Fantastisk stad! Längtar tillbaka nästan varje dag. Jag trivs mycket bättre där än tex. i Stockholm. Tycker människorna är vänliga, hjälpsamma och positiva.
Hoppas att jag kan återvända till USA nån dag, men det blir nog svårt. Man skulle varit med på 60-70 talet då dom delade ut greencards som bokmärken.

Ha det fint! /Johanna

miranda said...

Even us English have found some differences.
If you hurt yourself you ask for a band aid not a plaster.
The 'Where's Wally?' book's my son had in England out here are called 'Where's Waldo?'
You sit on your butt because a bum is a homeless person. You definetly say eraser instead of rubber. (One of my girls caused a friend a real panic when she asked for one at school!) At least your fanny is not as bad here as in England!!

It can be hilarious!

Anonymous said...

i am on the other side of the grass.. An Indien Alien in Stockholm....

dropped by u r blog while googling for some easy reading för svensk språk...

jag älskar dit blogg.. det beroande mig...

JaCal said...

Isle Dance - you do learn a lot of songs... ;-) And you do learn a lot through the kids.

Johanna - kul! Har inte varit där (bara i DC och Herndon (vet inte om det är i närheten). Jo, inte lätt om man trivs och vill tillbaka och inte har visum. Du får väl spela på lottot - vet faktiskt flera som vunnit!

Miranda - haha - so true! And I know what you're talking about, since we learn "British English" in school in Sweden (at least in my time and at least in my school). Note to self - do NOT ask for rubber...

Anonym - how fun! Lucky you being in the most beautiful city in the world! Right?! ;-) Thank you for the compliment and come and stop by anytime!

Desiree said...

Ha ha ja det stämmer verkligen. Du får otorligt mycket hjärnjympa. Jag föddes ju i USA och mina föräldrar pratade engelska med varandra (Svensk pappa och Mexikansk mamma). När vi flyttade till Sverige var jag ca 4 år och pappa fick minnsan översätta svenska smurfböckerna till engelska för mig i början. Men barn lär sig nya språk så snabbt så jag kom väl in i svenskan relativt fort.

veronika said...

Jo det kan vara krangligt ibland med tva sprak.:)

Fel av mig, jag anvander ocksa alltid Euroflorist genom eniro och tycker dem ar superbra! Mycket battre an Interflora.
Mejlar dig snart!
Ps. Du kopte val inte sista kartongen krafor idag? :)

JaCal said...

Desiree - ja... hjärngympa är ordet. Ibland är man helt svettig! ;-) Jo, det är otroligt med barns språkinlärning. Talar du spanska fortfarande?

Veronika - ja, tur att engelskan är ganska lik svenskan ibland... Haha - nej, sjuka barn = ingen IKEA utflykt = kräftor finns nog kvar! ;-)

Liz said...

Har kommer en fraga: vad sager egentligen ankor pa svenska? Det ar val ocksa "kvack" precis som grodorna, eller?

JaCal said...

Liz - ja... mycket förvirrande. De säger ju båda kvack.... Sen är frågan vad kaninen säger - på något språk överhuvudtaget...

Allyson said...

This is Ally (that you contacted via Meet-up)!

For the sake of the other readers who don't speak Swedish, I'll reply in English.

I had to laugh because any of us that work hard to balance two (or in our case three) languages, it can get downright ridiculous at times. However seeing them connecting with peers,friends, and family who can only expressive themselves in their native language, makes it all worth the trouble.