Saturday, June 17, 2006


Although I am not a native German speaker, I am on board with my German husband to keep German as our "home language" and speak German with our children. This poses many challenges, to say the least. The most difficult for me is at the end of the day after having worked 10 hours in the office to find the fluency of German that I like to think that I have.

The other day I was picking up our three children from daycare (ages 4, 3 and 1). My oldest and youngest were already in the car sitting in their car seats and I was encouraging our middle child to get into his seat. In German, I said, "Can you please get into your 'chair'?" My oldest son looked at me with a knowing smile, sighed, and said, "'Chair' Mama? It is 'seat', not 'chair'!" and then sighed again. I couldn't help but smile and said, "Yes, you are right, it IS 'seat', not 'chair', thank you."

There was a decisive moment in the past when my oldest child started speaking. My husband and I sat down together and decided that German would be our home language. And I can see that there will be many more such moments as life progresses. I will have to remind myself that although I am not a native speaker, what we are doing is the right thing. And who knows, the time will probably come when my German won't be advanced enough to engage in the level of discussion with my children that I wish. At that point my husband and I will sit down again and have another discussion. I'm not sure what we'll decide but I am confident that we'll find a solution that works for all of us.

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