As much as I can hope and dream about it, it’s very unlikely that Kaia will ever be fully bilingual in English and Mandarin Chinese. I probably speak Mandarin Chinese at barely a 5-6 year old level, if even that, and as I’m teaching her Chinese, I’m learning and re-learning Mandarin Chinese through helpful YouTube videos and even on Udemy. She’s mastered a lot of fruit, like how to say grapes or cherries in Chinese. She knows what I am saying when I tell her to watch, look, or listen. And recently, I’ve been trying to reinforce how to count from 1-10 in Chinese because she’s been learning that in school for English. So far, it looks like during their daily morning circle time, they are sticking to counting from just 1-10 in English now. So I tried to mirror this for her in Chinese.
Kaia easily counts from 1-10 in English. She’s been doing this for the last two months. Sometimes, she randomly will skip one or two numbers in the sequence when distracted, but she knows how to say all of them. I recently started adding in Chinese, and while she’d look at me contemplatively, I knew she was absorbing what I was saying just based on her thoughtful facial expression. This week, she’s counted up to ten, though it’s clear she’s a bit shyer around this: her voice is much softer as she says the numbers in sequence in Chinese, and as she gets to ten, her voice is almost a whisper. But when she finally did it, I couldn’t believe how proud I felt; I could tell she was feeling victorious as well! She had this big smile on her face and started bobbing her head back and forth. She loves to seek our approval, but I hope to instill in her a sense of pride for her own accomplishments and that many times, that can and should be enough.