Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Raising a bilingual baby

Hello, Bonjour, G'day, Hola, Guten Tag and Buon Giorno!

In this episode of Little Baby Steps we sat down with Isabel Tremblay again to chat about her experiences in raising a bilingual baby. When you listen to the podcast, you can hear Isabel's French roots so it's no surprise that she's speaking French to Estelle.

Selin is speaking Turkish with her baby Sienna and Rita speaks Greek with Aria, however they primarily speak English while introducing a little bit of a second language.

Isabel's mother tongue is French and learned English when she was 17, so instinctively she speaks exclusively in French with Estelle. This can be difficult when they are around non-French speaking people because not everyone will understand what Isabel is saying to Estelle, however it's very important for Estelle's development to identify one person with one language. Isabel's husband speaks Italian and English however he speaks only in English to Estelle. Isabel teaches Estelle through reading, demonstration and speaking to her in French. She has done a lot of research in the area of language development and brain wiring and expects that Estelle may speak a little bit later than her peers to give her brain time to catch up to both languages.

Estelle attends an English daycare (as it's hard enough to get into a daycare, let alone a French daycare!) but will attend an exclusively French school when the time comes.

For anyone trying to raise a bilingual child, Isabel recommends that one parent associated with one language and the other parent associated with the other language. This helps the child identify one parent to one language and to be consistent.

If you are raising your child to speak in multiple languages, please share your feedback and tips with us! For more resources, check your local book store to find books on French language skills and be sure to listen to Isabel's interview here:

PS. be sure to listen until the very end as Taylor has something very important to share with everyone!

In this episode, our Mommy-Sentials focus on reading. Here are a few of our favorite books that we're reading to our little one's right now:
  • The very hungry caterpillar
  • I love you forever (it's a real tear jerker!)
  • Dogs (touch & feel book)
  • Wiped by Rebecca Eckler - she talks about "the first year" in a very open and honest way

Friday, May 7, 2010

Returning to work

In this episode, we interviewed Isabel Tremblay - a new mom that we met in our New Mom's group. Isabel has already ventured back to work and introduced her daughter Estelle to a daycare enviroment so we wanted to sit down with her and get some advice since we'll be going back to work soon (sniff sniff).

Isabel was in a unique position where she started a new job when she was 3 months pregnant so the fact that was only able to work for 6 months before her maternity leave, factored into her decision to return to work in January; when Estelle was 6 months old. In Canada, we are very fortunate to have 12 month maternity/parental leave compared to the US and Europe where the government only allows 6 weeks maternity leave. With that in mind, Isabel felt that a 6 month maternity leave was sufficient for both Estelle and her career.

Given that Estelle was only 6 months old when she went into a daycare environment, Isabel was able to provide a complete schedule for Estelle's care: from feeding, to napping, to diaper creams etc. Isabel hasn't noticed any negative impact from daycare - Estelle is thriving and getting lots of attention from the daycare providers.

Not an overly emotional person, Isabel didn't sit in the daycare parking lot and cry her face off (I hope I can say the same!). However, she returned to work on a Thursday so that Estelle had 2 days at daycare and was then able to spend the weekend at home again before returning the following week. She did however have a "moment" before Estelle began daycare when she realized that this was the last time that she was putting Estelle down for her afternoon nap etc.

In terms of illness - we often hear that kids in daycare are always sick. Isabel weighed in on this by sharing that in the first 3 months Estelle was only sick once! Way to go Estelle. However, over the past few weeks Estelle did come down with a little bug but this is to expected. Fortunately Isabel has a good relationship with her employer as she had to take time off in order to stay home with Estelle.

Fortunately Isabel hasn't run into any issues with Estelle having separation issues but if you find yourself in this situation, try to alternate the person who drops the child off and the person who picks up the child.

Isabel and her husband both really cherish their "family time" - even more so now that they are both working. A natural extroverts, they have found themselves turning down dinner dates and social engagements in lieu of spending time as a family ... and they love it! They are happy to trade their late nights for early mornings because it means that they can maximize their family time on weekends.

Isabels advice for parents returning to work: be sure to get yourself organized. The mornings are more challenging than evenings, so ensure that you can establish a routine that works for you, your hubby and baby. All three of you need to be dressed, fed, groomed and out the door! It's a definite team effort.

Listen to the full interview with Isabel, including her tips for parents returnig to work:

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Toyota Sienna Commercial

Check out this very funny commercial done by Toyota poking fun at parenthood and what we've all become...very clever! The entire series is on Youtube :)

I thought I'd share this one, seeing as how I have a daughter named Sienna but not yet the mini-van (which she is not named after..lol).

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Mommies & Babies of LBS!

We ventured out to High Park at the crack of dawn this morning to have our photos taken by Kimberly Dunbar. The forecast called for rain and we were about to cancel but then the sun came out and we were good to go! The girls were all dolled up and on their best behaviour :)

Thanks again Kimberly for these amazing photos- which will soon appear on our site. Thanks to you we'll have amazing memories of the group we've formed and more importantly the best friends we've all made during our mat leave...

Visit www.kimberlydunbarphotography.com to learn more about how she can capture the same memories for you and your little one!