Thanks giving

19 Nov 2013

Card by PaperPapelPapier

This week P happened to mention to people he met through work that his daughter was learning 4 languages. Some were amazed, some were weary, some thought he was just trying to impress them, others couldn't have cared less. But, as usual, he had a comment about being careful, about her being confused and about a (not so) similar case where the child had a silent period and refused to speak a language.

We both know to be polite in our response (usually with a sentence like 'my wife knows about these things, she is a linguist') but usually ignore this type of comments not because we are ungrateful know-it-all people, but because they are usually tales relating to very different situations, based on old myths or hear-say comments. Luckily, we have had very few comments of the sort and our acquaintances have been mostly trusting and encouraging. And I am extremely grateful for that.

This month as part of the blogging carnival on raising multilingual children, Sarah asked us to write about giving thanks. What matters in our life? What are we grateful for as parents raising multilingual children? 
Here are a few of the things I am grateful for and that make me realise we are lucky:

- thank you to the bookstores 
who ship internationally. You can never have too many books (especially when you are building a library in 4 different languages);

- thank you Apple TV,
for allowing us to rent cartoons and films in English, French and German (and sometimes Portuguese) at the click of a button.Watching the same film in two different languages (not at the same time!) is an excellent tool for a multilingual child;

- danke to LJ's kindergarten staff,
for never raising an eyebrow at the fact that she was learning 4 languages.

- thank you to Holly,
and the other kids at our American library (in Germany), for the many stories, crafts, songs, games and trick and treat games that have made LJ realise there is more to English than Papa and Maman speaking together.

- obrigado & merci Avo, Avó, Papy and Mamie,
for never questioning our decision to ever raise LJ with 4 languages, trusting us, supporting us and helping LJ to practice her languages. I probably would have disowned them anyway if they had raised any objections!! ah!!

Most importantly, I am forever grateful to my little girl:
for teaching us some German words;
for astonishing us more often than not with her abilities in English, Portuguese or German;
for, so far, being perfectly happy, not at all confused, silent or dumbed down by having 4 languages introduced to her by the time she turned 14 months;
for living with these 4 languages as if it was the most normal thing in the world. 
Because, to us, it is.


  1. Oh, so lovely!

    I also like how you point out that acquaintances who share their negative impressions of raising children multilingually are usually just misinformed, not malicious.

    1. Yes, most of them have good intentions but are very badly informed.

  2. How beautiful! Your daughter is very fortunate to grow up in an environment with 4 different languages . What a gift! I also love the multilingual cards that your made.


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