Early this week D looked very thoughtful and a little worried as he came to pick me up from work. Sensing something was up I asked him what was wrong.
What had happened was, Buzz spied him step inside her class at daycare and came running. She was super happy to see him (since I am the one who mostly goes to pick her up in the evenings) and was chatting excitedly. Her teacher tried talking to her a couple of times but Buzz was busy talking to D (in Hindi) and did not reply to her teacher (who was asking her questions in English). Right about then another parent came to pick up his daughter and she was replying to her dad and the teacher (in English).
We speak in Hindi at home. Always have. We are not making a special effort to talk in Hindi at home because we want Buzz to learn the language but rather it is what comes naturally to us. In the past month or so we have noticed an exponential growth in what Buzz can say in Hindi. In fact a lot of things she says catches us by surprise because unlike when she first started talking we have not been making any special effort to help her grasp the language. This combined with Buzz not replying back in English, which is the main language of communication here, is what got D thinking.
Are we doing the right thing? Should we start talking to her in English? We don’t want her to feel lost at daycare, do we? What if she does not understand anything they say there?
Endless questions he threw my way. Which in turn got me worried. Till I took some deep breaths, calmed myself and started thinking on what I see when I go pick Buzz up every day. Suddenly a conversation I had with the accountant of Buzz’s daycare (whose daughter is a couple of months younger to Buzz and is in the same class as her) came to mind. We had got talking about how quickly the two girls were growing up and like a proud, besotted parent I started out on how much Buzz can talk now and how she was picking up new words and making sentences without us teaching her. To which she responded with, how great Buzz’s language skills were and how great she was communicating what she wants, especially for her age. I had been on cloud nine for the rest of that day, smiling non-stop.
Worry abated I turned to D:
Me: Buzz is fine. I am sure she has no issues at all.
D: Are you sure?
Me: Yes I am (went on to tell him my encounter)
D: hmm. But can you still talk to her teacher when you go pick her up tomorrow.
Me: Yeah I will.
Next day all geared up I fired my first question. Buzz’s teacher looked at me with surprise:
English is not what Buzz speaks at home? Really? I would have never guessed. She understands everything we tell her and replies back in almost complete sentences. Knows her letters, her numbers, her shapes, her colors, her poems. She is one very intelligent kid. I would not worry about her at all.
She went on to ask me about how much Buzz could talk in Hindi and seemed more and more impressed as I showed off. I came home super proud of my little one. I know the teachers are probably trained to sooth the fears of the parents and even say that the child is intelligent but I will bask in the praise for a little while more.
Buzz and I were heaving breakfast yesterday morning when she made a fist and said ‘a’ followed by the name of a girl in her class. I look on confused. She repeated it a couple more times and it hit me, she is signing the letter ‘A’.
Me: <copies the same hand position> A?
Buzz: <makes some changes and says> M. <followed by the name of another girl in her class>
Me: <copies her again> M?
Buzz: Haan. (Name of the girl)’s
She went on to show me E, B, K, S, J and R. Clueless me did what any self-respecting parent who has no idea what is going on does these days. Booted up my laptop, searched for ‘sign language for alphabets’. It is time for me to get back to studying folks. My daughter knows more things at her age than I know at mine.
But till I catch up and figure out certain contortion on my fingers means what letter I continue to bask in the pride that is my own little Buzz.