Monday, June 29, 2009

Funny Tidbits

Tonight we found out that the Under-21 European Championships were being played. Somehow we had missed it earlier. Then we didn't know what channel it was on. Instead of turning on the TV an flipping through the stations Spencer ran outside, climbed up on the swing set and looked into our neighbor's patio where they have a TV. He walked into the house and said ZDF (one of the channels here in Germany). We flipped on the game and got to see the last goal. Germany won 4-0.

Another funny thing that I wanted to mention happened today in Kindergarten. I went with Ian. He was able to do a practice day in Kindergarten. While we were sitting in the opening time in a circle one of the boys (probably 3.5 years old) said to the boy next to him. "Your arms can fall off. And your nose . . . if you are digging around in it." That was hilarious.

Ian had a great day in Kindergarten (pre-school). I was there the whole time, but he did several things on his own. He drew a picture, sat in the circle with the other kids, ate breakfast and cleaned up his place. The kids put their plates and cups away, wipe the table, and get a new plates if necessary. Ian ate so slow he didn't there were no more kids coming after him, so he didn't need to get a new plate.

At breakfast I introduced Ian to a couple of people. When one of the boys looked a bit cockeyed at me. I explained the background of Ian's name - Scottish for John (in German Jan). One of the boys said - hey my name is Irish - Lennon. My dad is from Ireland. He thought we were from Scotland, we we are not. This worked out nicely because me and Lennon - we spoke some English to each other. And, Lennon looked after Ian in the sand box, showed him where the tools are, helped him dig in the sand, etc. It turned out to be a very nice day.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


What language will Ian speak first? Well Denglish, of course. Actually, most of his words thus far have been English words. Although he has no problem understanding instructions in German - from our children, our friends, or the childrens German friends. Nonetheless, English words dominate his limited vocabulary at this time.

But when it came time for one of the most important words in any childs vocabulary - the word "No", Ian opted for the German version - "Nein". He emphatically says "nein" to most everything, just like any other child - just that his no is in German.

He has one other word that could go either way. Ian's "more" sounds an awful lot like the German "mehr" - at least most of the time. "More" is also a critical word in a child's vocabulary, so I'm not sure if the fact that two key words were in German is a sign of things to come, or just a coincidence, but it's enjoyable to watch.

Monday, June 22, 2009

H all the way

Ian is at the stage of life where he is learning to talk. Yes, he's almost three, and yes most children can speak much earlier in life, but for Ian, the moment is now and it is enjoyable to watch.

Ian is now at the stage where he has one dominant sound. At least two of our other children did this as well. Shantal and Hannah both loved the sound "B". Ian loves the sound "H". Once you know this, it makes understanding the poor boy much easier.

Here are some examples:
"H"ian "H"out! He said this as I was taking him inside to change his diaper this evening and he wanted to stay outside.

"H"in house! Ian says this when we are nearing the front door of our house.

"H"auto! Ian says this whenever he sees a car. Auto is the German word for car and an acceptable English word.

Ian also loves words that begin with the letter "H". For example: Hannah, house, hat, hop, etc.

I've always enjoyed this phase when our children reach it. And it's just as fun with Ian right now.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Stockbrot means bread on a stick. This is something the kids commonly do at school activities. Today I made Stockbrot for the first time. In order to make Stockbrot You take dough and wrap it around the end of a stick, then you place the stick over a campfire and let the dough cook.

Cooking bread on a stick has the same relaxing feeling as roasting marshmellows around the campfire. Your stick is too short, or too long, or too flimsey, and the dough, in this case, falls into the fire, catches on fire, or turns suddenly dark shades of black. You fight against he smoke, try to get the right angle so as not to singe your hair, and to still cook the bread. But if your lucky, things work out and you have an nice little piece of bread to eat at the end.

The Library Lady

It has just been confirmed by an international study. Library Ladyies speak softly. I've been to the library 3 times this week and each time I am shocked by how quietly the library lady speaks. I thought - maybe it was me and I was just not hearing very well, but no - I was there again today and it is confirmed. She was speaking so softly I had to ask her to repeat herself several times because I just can't pick up on the German when it is that soft.

That aside, I was able to go to the Library with Emma. She rode her Laufrad (a starter bike with no pedals) and did really well. Much better than the last time I went with her and she took her "Laufrad". On the way she saw a friend from pre-school and stopped for a minute to play (pre-school is called Kindergarten here in Germany). At the Library she was able to pick out three kids books. The funny thing was that I tried to pick out a fourth one that looked pretty entertaining to me. She would have nothing to do with it. No, Dad, not that one, she kept saying.

She picked out two books from the author Eric Carle. I had picked out a DVD version of the very hungry catepillar ("Die kleine Raupe Nimmersatt") earlier in the week. Quite well done.