When I found out I was pregnant I was determined to raise my baby bilingual - which means I will only speak Dutch to him so he will learn that language. Easy peasy I thought… How wrong was I..?!?
Well it all starts with the fact that I am already in the UK since 2008, so a long time with not speaking Dutch 24/7… Only the weekly Skype video’s or the occasional chat or email. You don’t know how much of the usual and normal words you actually forget. Take spoon for example… It took me hours to find out (Yes… I could have been smarter to use a translator programme haha) and only found out by showing the actual object to much amusement to my dad.
The troubles with my language first arrived whilst in labour - when you are in that amount of pain your brain automatically refers to your own language, to much amusement of my Other Half. He answered questions for me asked by doctors and they were not impressed with him answering. (I can’t remember much of this bit…) but apparently I heard and understood clearly what they were asking and I got frustrated and annoyed why they couldn’t understand my answers… well if you start asking those questions during a contraction I will answer in Dutch.. John, my OH, knew what was asked and knew what the answer was. So when the doctor finally asked me quite rudely if I understood her, I apparently said: “Yes I bloody do, why do you not understand my answers back..!!” She then finally understood that I was answering the questions. Plus the midwives and my OH now know a few explicits in Dutch haha!
The first couple of months I was struggling, luckily Deacon was still a newborn so it didn’t really matter lots, but I wanted to get in the hang of things. But on top of everything else, besides being a new mom, no sleep, a newborn and figuring him and us out. Plus him ending up in Hospital I added the other stress on top of only speaking Dutch. My OH then told me to focus on a few things at the time and I would slowly slip into a routine with him. Thank god for him being so sensible, I had enough worries to worry about!
Now, Deacon is 6 months, and it goes perfect! Well, it goes ok.. When it is just me and him I only speak Dutch, to the point when someone phones me, my first few words are usually Dutch. I only have troubles when I am surrounded by others, not so much with my OH. But out in public - I already have had the occasional comment and look when I am not speaking English and that makes me conscious especially with the looming Brexit coming up.
But I will persevere! I have a lovely Dutch mama friend who lives around the corner and her baby is 3 weeks younger than Deacon. We help each other out with talking, learning, teaching and just playing in both languages. There are tons of books available on Amazon which are bilingual with sometimes hilarious translations.
I guess - in the end it doesn’t matter. I don’t want Deacon to forget his other roots but with the help of my lovely family and friends that shouldn’t be a problem.