Everyday now, Mr. T is gaining in confidence with his language skills. I still don’t think he has realised that he is learning two different languages, but he is picking up more words and experimenting with more sounds all the time. One of the joys of this has been to see he creativity with language and his ability to play with it.
On The Bus
One game that we developed totally by accident is a sort of ‘follow-the-leader’ or listen and repeat game. One of his favourite toys is a London tour bus he got a few months ago. Of course, his word for bus is ‘Mimi car’, which has no relation to the English word or the Portuguese ‘omnibus‘. One day he was messing around with one of his toys and putting it on the bus and saying ‘Mimi car,’ so to annoy him I said ‘on the bus.’ He repeated ‘Mimi car’ and I insisted it was ‘on the bus.’
He quickly realised that whatever way he said ‘Mimi car’ I would copy him. If he shouted it, I shouted back. If he whispered, so would I. If he said it very very slowly I tried to mimic him. He thought this was the greatest trick ever. The next stage was to get him to copy me, which didn’t take too long at all.
I didn’t do this in order to correct him. I reckon he’ll figure out in his own sweet time what the ‘real’ words for a bus are. It was just something to pass a few minutes and interact with him. We end up doing it now at least once a day. I was doubly fortunate because the English sentence ‘on the bus’ sounds suspiciously like the Portuguese word ‘omnibus’ so even my wife can join in this game without Mr. T. realising it is slightly different.
Every kid learns to say ‘No’ pretty early on, possibly because, at least in Mr. T’s case because that is probably the word he hears the most. One of his favourite games has always been to play with his cars on the coffee table and to roll them across and let them fall on the floor. As they were rolling I used to shout ‘No!’ in an overly dramatic way before they hit the floor. Mr. T has now taken to holding a car on the table and imitating my plaintive cry of ‘No!’ and then squealing with delight as it crashes into the ground. He has even started to build the tension by saying ‘no’ a number of times, each time building up the volume and pitch until the car eventually rolls over the side.
It’s a bit like watching this:
Abou is Mr. T’s word for acabou, which is Portuguese for ‘finished’. His favourite practical joke is to have a cup of water or juice which is obviously half full and then shout ‘Daddy, abou’. I look at him and ask him ‘Is it finished?’ at which point he looks at the cup, looks at me and says ‘Nooooo!’ Once he has finished giggling to himself he then puts the drink back in his mouth. If he is in the mood this can go on for ages.
A note on the image used above. I have tried to find who produced the photo but so far I have been unsuccessful If you created it, please let me know and I will be only too happy to add a credit.