It’s a month into the school year and Samantha seems to really be enjoying kindergarten. She is excited to go everyday. Her favorite part is the Mandarin portion of the day. She seems to be learning new words everyday and loves to use them.
There’s a song they sing about a flower and a butterfly that I catch her singing to herself regularly. She counts, I think up to thirty, but I’m not entirely sure. And, they have started learning to write characters. She knows one through ten.
I think writing characters is her favorite thing to do. For her, it’s a lot like drawing, her favorite activity. It’s definitely been a much smoother transition than I expected and seems like we found a good fit for her and us.
I am already starting to see one downside, though. I don’t know what she’s saying. I expected that to happen, of course, since I don’t speak Mandarin, but I didn’t think it would already start to be problematic. I thought maybe in a couple years when Ella starts school, the two of them would start talking behind my back, but I certainly didn’t expect Sammy to figure out her power quite this early.
Last week, I tucked Samantha into bed and kissed her goodnight.
She kissed me back and said, “Goodnight, te shwa.” (Sorry about the horrible phonetic spelling.) My heart soared. I was thrilled. My daughter had just said goodnight to me in Mandarin. This was amazing. Outstanding. Clearly, she’s a language genius.
“Does that mean mommy?” I asked, beaming. Planning how I was going to tell Sean when he got home and manage to tease him about her saying mommy first. (She said daddy first in English.)
“No,” she said, “it means toilet.”
Hysterical laughter erupted from her and Ella. I left the room, my head down, to a chorus of “Goodnight, te shwa!” and laughter.
Now, the whole family calls me “te shwa”.
At least if I ever travel to China, I’ll be able to ask where the toilets are.
Here’s the butterfly and flower song. She’s a little nervous on camera.