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cover photo
The Chaos Reigns
"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that our lives belong to each other." - Mother Teresa

Friday, October 9, 2015

You Know You Have a Child in an Immersion Program When...

The Keyboard Struggle
You get on the computer and start typing. Your document is suddenly full of Mandarin characters. Your 6th grader can never remember to turn the Mandarin keyboard off.  Grrr.

The "I Can Count to 100 Game."
This is when your kindergartner wants to demonstrate for you repeatedly that they can count to 100 in this new language. They want your full attention. And, if they get to number 86 and you suddenly lose eye contact because some other child has just seriously injured themselves ..... well, you just lost 86 seconds of your life because they are starting over again from number one. And, guess what? The demonstration of this new language counting talent never gets old.

The "Mom, What is this Word in Chinese Game?"
If you don't know the language, you are never going to win this game. And, it is no fun to play. Your kindergartner states, "Mom, do you know what Yan means?" You have to start guessing. Um. Dinner. No. Apple. No. Light. No. Car. No.  OK. Now they are frustrated. You patiently remind them you do not know Mandarin. They yell back "YES you do" (The concept of you knowing less than them in anything completely frightens them. They refuse to believe it.). So, they start yelling, "WHAT DOES YAN MEAN?" Your 3rd grader sees you are struggling. She starts jumping up and down behind your kindergartner in a game of charades to help you out. She is now blinking her eyes vigorously. You start guessing again. "Blink. No. Eyelashes. No. Crazed lunatic. No. Eyes. Yes Mom, Eye." Sigh of relief, you are in the clear. All is better. But, now it is time for round 2. "Mom, do you know what Ma means?" This game is exhausting.

The Older Sibling Helper. 
I always thought this was going to be awesome. The older sibling who knows the language who can finally help. Oh boy. Nope. Not. At. All. Correction of the language by an older sibling is never appreciated or welcome. Especially Mandarin tones. Ouch. Never taken well.
In the car driving, your son whines, "Mom, I don't want to use the restroom at school. Big sister, "Is it because you don't know how to say, I need to use the restroom in Chinese. I can teach you." She starts saying it in Mandarin. Interrupted by a screaming fit by her brother, "I KNOW HOW TO SAY IT. YOU DON'T HAVE TO TELL MEEEEE." Yes. Help in the language is never welcome by any sibling.

The Ravenous Child. 
They come into the kitchen after you put them to bed and state they are starving. Your children are ravenous. They won't stop eating. You are not imagining the uptake in food consumption. Research shows children burn more calories in immersion programs because their brains are working harder through-out the school day.

The Atrocious Speller. 
Your 3rd grader who just started English spells every 3rd word in her sentences incorrectly. You try to remain patient with the constant spelling errors.You proofread her homework, and you get to the word CUNCLOOSHUN. You ask her what this word is. She responds with "conclusion." Oh. You are impressed with her phonic skills. But, you don't panic because your 6th grader's English is just fine.

The Homework Help. 
"Mom, I don't know what this says." You look down at a paper full of Mandarin characters you cannot understand. You point to the first question. "Read this to me." She responds with something in Mandarin which sounds like this....  "Chi, something, something (something is for the character they don't know), ba, gu, something, something, san. Oh, now I know." They right down Mandarin characters. Next question,"Read this to me." You get through the whole document this way. It ends with "Thanks Mom." You respond with, "Oh, I am so glad I could be of help."

The Personal Translator.
You are in China. You ask the hotel receptionist if they speak English because your children are mortified if you even attempt to speak Mandarin. The receptionist responds with "Yes." But, quickly into the conversation you realize they do not speak English. You run and get your personal translator. You tell them your child speaks Mandarin and can help. They smile humoring you. Your child begins to speak perfect Mandarin. They fall over in their chair.

That my friend is Priceless.