2/26/14

#TechFail My Toddler Speaks Russian And Other Languages I Don't Understand...

On a daily basis I say the following to my three-year-old:  (Some multiple times!)

"Ollie!  Stop Speaking Russian!"

"Honey, Mommy can't understand the words you are saying. Please Speak English."

"ENGLISH! Watch English!"

"Yes, That's German. You can watch that."

"Dude? Is that even a language?"

"Your daddy is in SO MUCH TROUBLE!"

You all, Ollie speaks Russian! Not very well of course, but he loves to say the words and point to things and say the Russian word for them... at least I think that's what it is? It's so incredibly annoying I can't begin to tell you. He's picked it up watching Russian nursery rhymes on YouTube. Yes, I'm totally going to claim an epic parenting fail on this one. However, I'm deferring some of the blame on FTD.  Actually, 85% of it.

It all started when FTD showed him both English and German nursery rhymes on YouTube. I was all for it at first because Ollie was two and learning to speak, and LOVING the nursery rhymes.  I thought it was harmless, and in a way a teaching tool.  (FTD is not only an Australian citizen, but and Austrian one too. His father was born in Austria so by birth right, FTD obtained his Austrian citizenship.  He is fluent in German) 

HELLO BACKFIRE!

Just when I thought I could hand him a phone or tablet and get a few things done, I learn my lesson the hard way.  No longer is he allowed to watch YouTube out of earshot.  Not that it stops him from trying to watch his favorite Russian or German preschool shows.

Let me just tell you, nothing is more ridiculous than not understanding the words that are coming out of your toddler's mouth. What's worse. I'm fairly certain he makes up half the shit he says, so technically, no one understands the words coming out of his mouth.

His Russian speak has become a huge joke amongst our family and friends. Ollie will walk up to people and start speaking Russian or singing a German song. Imagine what a ding-dong I look like when people ask me what he's saying.  The sounds are so pronounced there's no question that he's speaking a different language.

The German part I guess is OK, because FTD can hold conversations, but the languages neither of us speak, can't be good. Unless of course we find ourselves stranded in Russia and need directions, food or the nearest Park for playing, but since me winning the lottery has a higher probability, I'm going to set that scenario aside.

I feel like I'm at a crossroads. Do I shut down his interest and understanding of multiple languages, or do I look for ways to help him develop is multi-lingual ways?



What would you do?  I know a few of you have mentioned your child loves YouTube shows and/or accidentally switches Apps to Spanish too, would you foster the love of languages, or shut it down until your child can properly learn a language in school?


April is an award-winning writer and blogger. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit AprilMcCormick.com

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