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21 thoughts from my 21st month as a parent

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21 thoughts Food, football and France. Read about these and more in my latest monthly collection of thoughts about being a parent…

1. Our son has got increasingly polite and sociable recently. Only last week, he helped to put out some rubbish and then said ‘bye bye wheelie bin, see you later!’.

2. The best thing about borrowing CDs of kids’ songs from the library to play in the car is that it’s usually time to return them just when they start getting irritating.

3. I think our son has inherited my dress sense. Here we are wearing matching outfits:

2015-01-10 10.22.27 4. Within the last month, I’ve had a very proud moment as our son said ‘pêl-droed’ (football) for the first time.

5. Our son is still learning to play football, which probably explains why I won 15-0 in a recent game in our back garden. He is improving though, it was 28-0 to me the previous week.

6. Talking of football, one of my favourite things about being a dad is that it’s now a lot more acceptable to play football in the living room than it used to be.

7. Our son can make a bit of a mess at times, but is also very interested in using our hoover. IMG_20150120_173334862 8. It’s sometimes hard to know when our son’s saying ‘mamma’ and when he’s saying ‘banana’. I hope he doesn’t end up sending a Mother’s Day card to a piece of fruit.

9. However, our son has managed to recently say both ‘granny’ and ‘grandad’ on Skype.

10. Our son has been introduced to some elementary human biology in one of the books he’s been reading recently (see below). IMG_20150126_194318016 11. Our son is getting very enthusiastic about helping out with our two chickens. We’ll need to stop taking him out too early in the morning as he often ends up walking back across the garden towards the house shouting ‘look, eggs!’.

12. He is getting a bit more aware of noise though. When he comes back to bed after getting up during the night, he often shouts ‘QUIET’ just after coming back into the bedroom.

13. Not so long ago, I was somewhat disappointed that our son hadn’t really experienced playing in proper snow that I decided to make him a snowman out of play dough.

IMG_20150111_131152161 14. Thankfully, we did get some proper snow not long after I made the play dough snowman (…maybe there’s a link?).

IMG_20150202_074804849 15. As someone who teaches students French for a living, I was pleased to hear our son recently say his first French word. it was ‘voila’.

16. As our son is showing an interest in France at the moment, I’ve been telling him about how Marvin Gaye used to keep a sheep a vineyard he owned in the south of France. It’s quite well known that he’d herd it through the grapevine.

17. Our son may not be two yet, but he’s already decided that it’s time he has his own house (see below).

IMG_20150119_214152745 18. Our son recently told me off for lining up all his toy animals in order of size. Apparently it’s because he doesn’t like me critter sizing.

19. I’m glad to see our son showing an interest in healthy eating. When I got home from work recently he was taking this to a new level by trying to feed grapes to his toy giraffe.

20. Due to his interest in animals such as giraffes, we recently decided to make our bathroom look a bit like a jungle (see below). IMG_20150204_081419011 21. Coming up with over 20 thoughts about parenting per month is getting quite challenging. I’m going to keep this feature going until our son turns two and will then be replacing it with a new format. Watch this space!

What do you think of this post and what do you remember from your first year and a half as a parent? Please feel free to share your views in the comments section below or on the ‘Dad’s The Way I Like It’ pages on Facebook or Google+. Remember that you can also subscribe to this blog by entering your e-mail address in the box on the right of the screen and also follow this blog via BlogLovin. There’s also now a Pinterest board for this blog as well, so please feel free to pin this post if you’ve enjoyed reading it.

Similar posts

Being a dad – celebrating the little things

6 things I’ve learned in 6 months as a parent

7 thoughts from my 7th month as a parent

8 thoughts from my 8th month as a parent

9 thoughts from my 9th month as a parent

10 thoughts from my 10th month as a parent

11 thoughts from my 11th month as a parent

12 thoughts from my 12th month as a parent

13 thoughts from my 13th month as a parent

14 thoughts from my 14th month as a parent

15 thoughts from my 15th month as a parent

16 thoughts from my 16th month as a parent

17 thoughts from my 17th month as a parent

18 thoughts from my 18th month as a parent

19 thoughts from my 19th month as a parent

20 thoughts from my 20th month as a parent

Baby’s first year in 12 photos

I have added this post the following parent blogger link-ups:

Are the January sales a waste of time?

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January Sales There’s always a lot of hype surrounding the January sales, but they rarely seem to live up to the hype. Although I used to always get some new clothes when they came round, I’m getting less and less interested in them. Perhaps this is a sign of getting old or there potentially being some truth in the idea that people from Scotland are somewhat averse to spending money. Anyway, this week I’m going to share a few reason why I’m less than excited about the chance to grab a few supposed bargains. This cynical attitude towards consumerism may not come as a surprise to people who have read my earlier post Baby ‘essentials’ – things that you’re told you need but could probably do without. It seems that there are more and more sales taking place these days, especially now that ‘Black Friday’ sales are now being promoted here in the UK despite their origins being connected to an American public holiday. When it comes to the more familiar sales on this side of the pond, there’s a sort of predictable and repetitive hype. Certain stores seem to proclaim ‘our biggest ever sale’ each time they start their annual post-Christmas sale. Somewhat unsurprisingly they appear not to broadcast the message ‘this sale is not as big as any of our planned future post-Christmas sales’.

Our son's Christmas presents included a large bag of Duplo that we got for him at a local charity shop.

Our son’s Christmas presents included a large bag of Duplo that we got for him at a local charity shop.

What frustrates me with the Black Friday sales is they come in the run-up to Christmas and often seem to focus on large electrical items. This is something that I have issues with on two levels. Firstly, there are quite a few reasons why I don’t see widescreen televisions as fantastic stocking fillers (mainly size and cost). Secondly, these sales seem to be encouraging people to spend money than they would otherwise by buying discounted non-present items at the same time as they are likely to also be buying Christmas presents. When it comes to post-Christmas sales, companies seem to be encouraging people to keep on spending more and more after splashing out on all the presents and entertaining that is a key part of Christmas for so many. Part of the reason I have the sorts of attitudes I’ve described so far may well be that I’m getting less materialistic as I get older. This year, my wife and I decided not to get each other lots and lots of presents. We both got each other some small presents and agreed that we’d each organise a family day out for each other as a sort of post-Christmas present. Time is something together as a family is something that is particularly precious to us, and something that we were able to enjoy plenty of during the holiday season. With that in mind, one of the Christmas presents we asked for when suggestions were requested by family members was an annual ticket for a local butterfly farm that our son likes visiting.

Our son likes our local butterfly farm both because he enjoys looking at the butterflies and also because he finds it fun to play in the numerous sinks!

Our son likes our local butterfly farm both because he enjoys looking at the butterflies and also because he finds it fun to play in the numerous sinks!

I’m also a bit cynical about sales because I don’t see something that is discounted but not strictly necessary as being a fantastic bargain. This utilitarian attitude may explain why the only things that I’ve bought so far in the January sales are a filing cabinet and five hours of usage of a parking space. These two purchases were things that I was going to need anyway, and the sales meant that I was able to get them at reduced prices. IMG_20150119_214233709 That said, I ended up getting a refund on the parking space as a family change of plans meant that I ended up travelling to Manchester via train rather than car. Filing cabinets are probably not what you would call a fun or exciting sales purchase. Indeed, few people post pictures of themselves on social media with captions such as ‘look at this amazing office furniture than I got in the sales!’. It did cross my mind that doing so would be one way of promoting this post but I’m not sure that I could bring myself to describe a robust and functional filing cabinet as ‘amazing’ so soon after criticising the hype that goes along with many major sales.

The house that came free with our filing cabinet.

The house that came free with our filing cabinet.

As it happens, our son really likes the filing cabinet we got in the January sales. This isn’t because he now uses it to store his ever growing collection of paintings according to date and colour (which would a challenge if he inherited my colourblindness anyway), but rather because it came in a really big cardboard box which has now become a play house. In fact, I think the retailer missed a trick by not advertising the filing cabinet by using the slogan ‘20% off and comes with a free play house for toddlers’. Despite my cynicism towards certain aspects of marketing, maybe there’s a bit of a marketer in me after all. What do you think of the January sales? Do you share my cynicism or are they a good time for getting some bargains? Please feel free to share your views in the comments section below or on the ‘Dad’s The Way I Like It’ pages on Facebook or Google+. Remember that you can also subscribe to this blog by entering your e-mail address in the box on the right of the screen and also follow this blog via BlogLovin. There’s also now a Pinterest board for this blog as well, so please feel free to pin this post if you’ve enjoyed reading it. I’ve added this post to the following parent blogging link-ups:

A Toddler’s Bilingual Christmas

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Toddler's Bilingual Christmas

During the Christmas and New Year holidays it was fun to spend more time with our son and see how his language skills in English and Welsh have been developing. As I mentioned in one of my first posts about bilingualism, my wife speaks to our son in English and I speak to him in Welsh.

While my wife was at a Mindfulness course on one of the last few Saturdays before Christmas, I took our son to a few Christmas events near where we live in North Wales. To start, we went to a butterfly farm on Anglesey where Santa Claus was making a Christmas visit. The fact that we’ve visited this attraction several times in the last few months probably explains why ‘pili pala’ (butterfly) became the first word that our son has said in Welsh before he had come out with the English equivalent.

Our son didn't exactly hit it off with Santa straight away...

Our son didn’t exactly hit it off with Santa straight away…

Our son was a bit scared about going into Santa’s grotto with me and seemed to also be unsure about meeting Santa Claus, despite the fact that this Santa Claus clearly knew me. After having a chat with us in Welsh about Christmas, the bearded gift-giver then asked in Welsh ‘is dad going to be on the radio talking about the football again this afternoon?’. It seems that Mr. S. Claus is a regular spectator at Bangor City, where I regularly provide an online audio commentary on the home games that reaches supporters in far-flung locations such as the USA, the Cayman Islands, New Zealand and southern parts of Wales. I am still trying to work out where and when I’ve talked to this Santa at the football as he certainly dresses differently at Bangor City’s home games.

After our trip to meet Santa and a load of butterflies, our next stop was Caernarfon for a Christmas event being hosted by a fantastic local book store than sells a brilliant range of books in both Welsh and English. All day, there were fun activities for people of all ages. Just after we’d had lunch, we saw a concert by local band Plu who had just released a new Welsh language CD of songs about animals for kids. We now play this song in the car, which adds some welcome variety after the previous car CD of choice featuring a ditty about a ‘dingly dangly scarecrow’ had become a bit repetitive.

Thankfully our trip to watch the band Plu sing some songs for kids in a local bookshop didn't produce the same reaction as being introduced to Santa.

Thankfully our trip to watch the band Plu sing some songs for kids in a local bookshop didn’t produce the same reaction as being introduced to Santa.

After this excitement, our son decided that it was time for a nap rather than a trip to watch our local rugby team. As I have a distinct preference for football (a.k.a. soccer) over rugby, I was pleased to see that he had his priorities right. Last time we went to a football match, he made sure that he got in his nap before the game. When he had woken up again, we headed to the Bangor Christmas market where our son seemed particularly interested in the Christmas lights. However, shortly after pointing towards the festive illuminations he started saying ‘seagull’ in a gesture that demonstrated a greater fascination with local birds that the decorations.

During the Christmas holidays, I was really struck by how rapidly our son’s English vocabulary was expanding. Whilst this was great, I did wonder how long it would be before he started coming out with lots and lots of new words in Welsh (the language that I use when speaking to him). As my wife spends more time with our son during the week and mainly speaks English to him, it’s probably natural that his English vocab seemed to be increasing so noticeably. That said, our son has been able to do quite a good job of pronouncing the LL and CH sounds in Welsh for a few months now!

Despite being good at pronouncing LL and CH sounds, our son hasn't yet managed to say the name of this local train station.

Despite being good at pronouncing LL and CH sounds, our son hasn’t yet managed to say the name of this local train station.

During the Christmas and New Year break, I was really pleased to see our son start to say a few more Welsh words that i hadn’t heard him use before. For a few weeks now, he’s often pointed up to the sky and said ‘moon’ in English after having noticed the moon one afternoon at the local play park. He’s now able to say ‘lleuad’, the somewhat difficult to pronounce Welsh equivalent of moon. While watching Wallace and Gromit’s ‘A Grand Day Out’ just last week, he spent quite a lot of time pointing at the screen saying ‘lleuad’ whilst the plasticine duo explored the moon.

I’ve also had a bit of fun teaching our son new phrases in Welsh over the festive season. On one trip out to a supermarket, I managed to train him to say ‘Siôn Corn, ho ho ho!’ (‘Santa Claus, ho ho ho!’). It was an afternoon well spent. Every now and again, our son will come out with some Welsh words and phrases spontaneously. Last week when we were in the queue at a book shop, he started saying ‘dafad’ (sheep) and pointing at a calendar which featured pictures of the woolly animals that populate so many of the fields in the area where we live. However, the one of the main language highlights of the holidays was regularly hearing him say ‘nos da, tad’ (‘good night, dad’) on the way to bed.

What languages do you speak with your children? What do you think are the most important things that we can do as parents to boost our children’s language development? Please feel free to share your views in the comments section below or on the ‘Dad’s The Way I Like It’ pages on Facebook or Google+. Remember that you can also subscribe to this blog by entering your e-mail address in the box on the right of the screen and also follow this blog via BlogLovin. There’s also now a Pinterest board for this blog as well, so please feel free to pin this post if you’ve enjoyed reading it.

Want to read more about bilingual parenting? Here are some more posts that I’ve written about this topic:

Being a Bilingual Parent

Being a multilingual and multimedia parent

Interview with Ana Flores about ‘Bilingual is Better’

Bilingual Parenting means learning lots of jokes

Being a Bilingual Parent in Wales

Being a Bilingual Family in Wales

Tales of a Bilingual Toddler

I have added this post to the following parent blogger link ups:

20 thoughts from my 20th month as a parent

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20 thoughts from my 20th month as a parent Read about baking, bilingualism and bicycles in my latest monthly round-up of some of my little highlights of being a parent…

1. Our son recently helped to prepare dinner but started crying when we put it in the oven. I think we’ll have to try to help him get over this as I don’t fancy switching to a raw food only diet.

2. Any idea what the following have in common: an Alan key, a bank card reader, a stone, a toy car, cuddly toys, a large piece of polystyrene packaging and a plastic spoon? They’re all things that our son has tried to take to bed with him in the last few months.

3. In the last few weeks, our son has enjoyed pushing a doll round our front room. However, it looks like he still needs to work on his baby carrying technique (see below). 2014-11-08 11.32.50 4. When picking up our son, I often count to three in Welsh (‘un, dau, tri’) and then say ‘whoosh’ as I lift him off the ground. He now seems to think that ‘whoosh’ is Welsh for four.

5. After cycling home from work, it was great to come in to see our son having fun on his new tricycle. He was moving around pretty quickly but I don’t think he’d be able to keep up with me on my trip to work on the cycle path yet. 2014-11-30 09.11.59 6. On the way to work last month, I saw a man who had painted his face purple. I think he was doing it for MAUVEmber.

7. When I bought a new bicycle recently, I decided to get one that had a horn on the handlebars. I tried to explain to our son that this was because I thought I might win the no bell prize.

8. While eating yoghurt today,19 month old son stopped, put finger in air and said ‘potato’. Can’t think where he gets weird sense of humour.

9. On a visit to a butterfly farm recently, our son’s two favourite things were washing his hands in the sink and watching a member of staff use a hoover. He wasn’t as interested in the meerkats or the llamas. 2014-11-30 15.57.43 10. Our son met Father Christmas for the first time at the same butterfly farm recently. He enjoyed it even less that seeing the meerkats or the llamas. Still, he did at least get a little red football from the man with the beard.

11. Talking of Christmas, how did Mary and Joseph know that Jesus was 7lb 6oz when he was born? They had a weigh in a manger!

12. Our son said the word ‘funny’ for the first time a few weekends ago. I’m surprised it’s taken him over 19 months given the quality of my jokes.

13. Our son has shown an interest in some books more than others recently. A few nights ago, he quickly gave up on his Thomas the Tank Engine book before spending ages engrossed in a book of ice cream recipes.

14. In fact, he’s been so interested in reading that I’m thinking of employing him as a researcher for this blog. He’s been hard at work on this task recently (see below). 2014-11-15 17.18.12 15. He’s also keen to play a role in writing on the blog now… 2014-11-18 08.19.02 16. In fact, our son was actually on eBay when I took the photo above. He was trying to put in a bid for Rudolph and Blitzen. I had to stop him and tell him that we couldn’t buy them as they were two deer.

17. Our son quite enjoyed helping to decorate our Christmas tree recently. However, he also enjoyed starting to un-decorate it (see picture below). 2014-12-14 10.06.58 18. Our son seems to be looking forward to Christmas at the moment, although I’m not sure quite to what extent it is capturing his imagination. At a recent Christmas market, I thought that he was pointing up at the decorations but instead he started saying ‘seagull, seagull’. In some ways this is a good thing as seagulls are present in North Wales for a larger proportion of the year than Christmas decorations.

19. The floor of our living room in our house was recently covered with toys, as it often is. This apparently wasn’t enough for our son. He went into the kitchen and grabbed two leeks to play with. Leeks are very much associated with Wales but it’s not – as far as I’m aware – customary for toddlers in Wales to use them as toys.

20. Our son recently started trying to peel the labels off tin cans in our food cupboard. Next time we try to make a Thai curry, it might have coconut milk in it or it might have baked beans instead. 2014-12-15 19.06.09 What do you think of this post and what do you remember from your first two years as a parent? Please feel free to share your views in the comments section below or on the ‘Dad’s The Way I Like It’ pages on Facebook or Google+. Remember that you can also subscribe to this blog by entering your e-mail address in the box on the right of the screen and also follow this blog via BlogLovin. There’s also now a Pinterest board for this blog as well, so please feel free to pin this post if you’ve enjoyed reading it.

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19 thoughts from my 19th month as a parent Baby’s first year in 12 photos

I have added this post the following parent blogger link-ups:

A toddler’s Christmas in Wales

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A Toddler's Christmas in Wales

As a child, I generally spent Christmas in Scotland with my parents and sometimes we went to see family in Ireland over the festive season. We also spent Christmas 1982 in California as we lived in San Jose from 1982-1983. As our son’s only 19 months old, we haven’t really got into a Christmas routine yet as last year was his first Christmas. Indeed, he was kind enough to write me a blog post about what it was like.

At the age of only 8 months old, our son was kind enough to write a blog post about his first Christmas...

At the age of only 8 months old, our son was kind enough to write a blog post about his first Christmas…

Last year, we went to the south east of England to spend Christmas with about twenty members of my wife’s family. This year, we’ve decided to do things slightly differently. We moved to a new house just over three months ago and have decided to invite my parents and my wife’s parents to spend Christmas with us here in Wales as we now have a bit more space. The local area is rural and quite hilly and I’d go as far as saying that it can almost look like Narnia when it snows.

DSCF2283

I’d really like there to be snow this year as our son is yet to have his first experience of walking in snow or building a snowman. That said, wet weather will be good too as I know that Santa Claus thinks that it helps his rain-deer. As you may have guessed from the last sentence, I’m quite keen on the British tradition of telling corny jokes at Christmas. In fact, I talked about this last year in a post entitled 5 things I like about Christmas in the UK.

In a lot ways, we probably don’t always have a very traditional British Christmas as my wife, son and I are vegetarian. Instead of having turkey, we often make a spicy nut roast with tomato chilli gravy. We do have the traditional roast potatoes and brussel sprouts, but I quite like to stir fry the sprouts with soy sauce, chilli and paneer (an Indian form of cheese). At work last year, my colleagues collectively decided to forego a traditional Christmas meal for our end of term evening out and instead had a fantastic Chinese buffet. Consequently, we had fortune cookies rather than Christmas crackers. As it happens, we’re going back to the same place for our pre-Christmas outing again this year.

2014-11-22 09.41.46

Our son has already been getting into the Christmas spirit and has been enjoying wearing his two Christmas jumpers. We actually let him wear them before December had started as we went to a Christmas market about ten days ago in the nearby town of Llandudno. Doing anything to mark Christmas before it’s actually December, such as putting up decorations, doesn’t really feel right but it was fun to take him out to the market.

As it happens, some of the students that I teach at university were talking a few weeks ago about how they found it irritating to see decorations up while it was still November. I had to break it gently to them that we were about to study a book whose first word was ‘Noël’. The novel in question was Azouz Begag’s Béni ou le Paradis Privé, which tells the story of boy who is born in Lyon to Algerian parents. The opening sees the boy talk in a jovial manner about his experiences of being from a Muslim family in France in the weeks before Christmas. As part of this revolves around the boy wanting his parents to get a Christmas tree, I decided to deliver the first class about the novel with a miniature Christmas tree and Father Christmas on the desk at the front of the classroom. It was still November, but I think my students let me get away with it.

2014-11-24 13.17.32

Whatever you are doing to mark Christmas this year, and even if you’re not, I’d like to wish everyone reading this a great end to 2014 and a fantastic 2015.

I’ve written this post as part of the Multicultural Kid Blogs series ‘Christmas in Different Lands’. Click on this link if you would like to read more posts by parent bloggers about Christmas around the world.

What did you think of this blog post and what did you and your family enjoy most about Christmas?  Please feel free to share your views in the comments section below or on the ‘Dad’s The Way I Like It’ pages on Facebook or Google+.

Remember that you can also subscribe to this blog by entering your e-mail address in the box on the right of the screen and also follow this blog via BlogLovin. There’s also now a Pinterest board for this blog as well, so please feel free to pin this post if you’ve enjoyed reading it.

I’ve added this post to the following parent blogger link-ups:

19 thoughts from my 19th month as a parent

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19 thoughts

It’s time for another monthly round-up about getting used to being a parent. This month, I talk about Skype, selfies and sledging…

1. Our son has been getting quite affectionate over the last month. He recently kissed the screen when saying goodbye to granny and grandad on Skype…

2. …and he’s also taken to grabbing people’s legs and saying ‘cuddles’.

3. Our son recently took his first ‘selfie’ (see below).

2014-10-13 17.57.26

4. In order to try to improve the quality of his selfies, I’ve been giving our son a few tips…

2014-10-25 19.18.45

5. ‘Monkey’ / ‘Mwnci’ has become one of the first animals that our son can say. I’m quite pleased he’s chosen one that sounds very similar in English and Welsh. He also does quite a good monkey impression.

6. Our son has been perfecting his ‘family fist pump’ technique in the last week. I was going to post a picture or video here, but the first rule of our family fist pump is that you don’t talk about our family fist pump.

7. Our son may no longer be a little baby, but we still have this balloon (see below) that one of his grannies bought for him when he was a day old.

2014-10-05 11.33.24

8. For some time, it’s been almost impossible to try to eat an orange within the sight of our son without him coming over and insisting on having at least half. Now, he seems able to sniff oranges when they’re in our ‘going out’ bag..

9. Our son used to be quite scared by the hoover but now is quite excited by it. The line ‘let’s go downstairs, we’re going to do some hoovering’ has been used to coax him towards the living room recently.

10. My telling of dad jokes has resulted in a change to my official work address…2014-10-10 18.07.32

11. Toothbrushes and spoons generally don’t look alike to most people, but our son recently tried to use his toothbrush in order to eat porridge.

12. Our son’s recently been walking round the kitchen holding up a saucepan lid to his ear and saying ‘hello’. Perhaps it’s time to explain how phones work.

13. Our son’s enthusiasm for gardening has continued recently and we’ve thankfully managed to prevent him from trying to water the chickens again.2014-10-18 11.19.32

14. Having an 18 month old son means not staying up to watch the football highlights on Saturday night’s ‘Match of the Day’ but knowing I’ll wake in time for Sunday morning repeat.

15. I have been trying to get more exercise recently. Last weekend, I went out for a cycle and chased our son round two different soft play centres. I still feel that soft play centres often do a better job of tiring out children than parents.

16. Eating with chopsticks can be challenging for a toddler, but nowhere near as challenging as trying to drink a glass of water using chopsticks…

2014-10-21 17.33.47

17. While I was writing this post, our son was walking round the living room with a pan from the kitchen. This has got me thinking: when is it OK to ask your kids to start cooking dinner at least once a week? :-)

18. Our son had his first trip in a sledge this month. He was dragged around the living room in it by grandad and enjoyed it immensely.

19. When our son had a slight cold recently, we decided that he could still go to the play park but would have to dress up as a fisherman.

2014-10-26 08.38.12

What do you think of this post and what do you remember from your first two years as a parent? Please feel free to share your views in the comments section below or on the ‘Dad’s The Way I Like It’ pages on Facebook or Google+.

Remember that you can also subscribe to this blog by entering your e-mail address in the box on the right of the screen and also follow this blog via BlogLovin. There’s also now a Pinterest board for this blog as well, so please feel free to pin this post if you’ve enjoyed reading it.

Similar posts

Being a dad – celebrating the little things

6 things I’ve learned in 6 months as a parent

7 thoughts from my 7th month as a parent

8 thoughts from my 8th month as a parent

9 thoughts from my 9th month as a parent

10 thoughts from my 10th month as a parent

11 thoughts from my 11th month as a parent

12 thoughts from my 12th month as a parent

13 thoughts from my 13th month as a parent

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15 thoughts from my 15th month as a parent

16 thoughts from my 16th month as a parent

17 thoughts from my 17th month as a parent

18 thoughts from my 18th month as a parent

Baby’s first year in 12 photos

I have added this post the following parent blogger link-ups:

Tales of a bilingual toddler

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Tales of a bilingual toddler

As our son is only 18 months old, he hasn’t yet given me much feedback on how he thinks I’m doing as a bilingual parent. Instead, I thought I’d write this post about how things have been going so far. I talked about the reasons why my wife and I are bringing up our son bilingually in one of the first posts on this blog and I’ve also described my experiences on Olga Centeno’s fantasic podcast Bilingual Kids Rock.

Welsh is my third language and one that I only started to learn in 2007 when I moved to Wales to start a job as a lecturer in French at Bangor University. By the time our son was on his way, I was already using Welsh regularly in and out of work. However, it did feel odd when I started to speaking Welsh to our son when he was just a bump and also when he was born just over a year and a half ago.

I’ve sometimes wondered how bringing him up using my third language will affect his language development, especially as my wife (who speaks English to him) spends more time with our son than I do due our working arrangements. However, we are working as a team in order to bring him up bilingually. Indeed, my wife went to a parent and baby Welsh clash where she learned lots of Welsh language nursery rhymes when our son was only a few months old. We’ve also taken in turns to take him to ‘Swn a Sbri’ (meaning ‘Sound and Fun’) sessions in local libraries where he has learned more songs in Welsh and met other babies.

For a lot of the last 18 months, I’ve wondered what impact the Welsh I’ve been speaking with our son has been having. Most of his first few words were in English, although he did quickly learn to say ‘mwy’ (meaning ‘more’) when he wanted more food, which perhaps points towards what he saw as one of his communication priorities. At times, I did wonder if I was doing enough to expose our son to sufficient Welsh. I’ve been trying to address this recently by reading him story books in Welsh at bed time and he’s able to respond to questions like ‘Wyt ti eisiau darllen stori?’ (‘do you want to read a story?’) by wandering over to his pile of toys and picking out a book.

When I was taking our son to the play park recently, I also noticed that he often seems to know when someone is asking a question. He is able to say ‘yes’ and ‘no’ in English, and also ‘ie’ and ‘na’ in Welsh. This is a good place to be at, although it also means that there are several dozen other words for ‘yes’ and ‘no’ in Welsh that he still has to learn as these depend on the types of structures and tenses used in questions. This is something that took me a while to get my head round as an adult learner of the language, so I’m hoping that our son will somehow manage to pick it up naturally.

Realising that our son understands some simple questions in Welsh is fun as well as quite satisfying. He can currently do a variety of different animal sounds when we ask him what noise certain animals make in either Welsh or English. He seems to particularly enjoy making pig and snake noises, but needs to more clearly differentiate between the sounds made by sheep and lions.

Our son’s also at a fun stage where he sometimes finds a word that he likes and walks around repeating it. I particularly like it when I come in from work and hear him repeatedly say ‘daddy, daddy, daddy’. When I was in the garden picking apples recently, he spontaneously started saying ‘apple’ several times without me having said the word. Before long, I managed to get him to say ‘afal’ (the Welsh equivalent). Just last week, I asked him ‘wyt ti eisiau cael bath?’ (‘do you want to have a bath?’) and mimicked the response ‘oes plis, tad’ (yes please, dad) as he enthusiastically started climbing the stairs. Almost instantly, he said back ‘oes, tad, plis’ (‘yes, dad, please’).

As our son progresses along the language learning path, I’m also going to have to learn some new tricks to help him out. At the moment, singing ‘Old MacDonald had a farm’ is often a good way of getting him to stop crying when he’s tired or upset. However, I currently only know how to sing this song in English. When my wife and I are in the car, it feels like it’d be kind of wrong to follow our ‘one parent one language’ (OPOL) approach to the extent that I’d only join in with the animal sounds that are the same in Welsh and English. However, I am now on a mission to learn the Welsh version of this song. I know the Welsh version of ‘The Wheels on the Bus’ but unfortunately my repertoire of Welsh language nursery rhymes is pretty limited.

Perhaps it’s time to start listening to one our many Welsh language nursery rhyme CDs on the bus on the way to work. I’ll just have to hope that I don’t end up singing out loud, although an early morning nursery rhyme sing along could help to lighten the atmosphere on our often crowded local buses as they wind their way towards Bangor.

Are you bringing up your kids bilingually? How important do you think it is to speak different languages? Please feel free to share your views and experiences in the comments section below or on the ‘Dad’s The Way I Like It’ pages on Facebook or Google+.

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