Parenting has a steep learning curve. That is what a father of three told me a couple weeks ago at a dinner party. In the twenty-nine months I’ve been a parent, I would say these words of wisdom ring true. I am learning how to be parents; I am not perfect. While I have ideas of the kind of parent I want to be, it is my children that are teaching me how to be a mom. Already I have had to grow, adapt and change.
Max is about to start his pre-kindergarten playgroup in one month, and it absolutely kills me to have to send him away at two-and-a-half years. I never thought I would be sending my baby to school when he was still just a baby. Much less sending him to a school where he did not speak the language and the teachers did not speak his language.
This has been a very humbling experience for me. As much as we have tried to prepare him, we can barely scratch the surface with simple vocabulary like Schmetterling (butterfly) and Auto. I had hoped that maybe by osmosis he was picking up some of the language when I took him out to playgrounds and shopping where he is surrounded by German, but it has become pretty obvious that he has not picked much up. When a mother at the pool asked for her child’s toy back, Max just stared at her completely baffled. When an older boy approached Max and said “Hallo Kliene (Hello little-one,)” Max said “Hi boy!” and the child looked back at Max baffled. Or when my friend spoke to him exclusively in German she said that she got the distinct impression that Max didn’t like her so much anymore. I suspect that this will be much like the interactions between Max and his classmates and teachers at the playgroup.
I can only imagine how confused Max will be, and how hard it will be for me to send him back into that confusion day after day. At the same time I know that this is the best time for Max to overcome the language barrier. As hard as it is on me to send Max to school next month, I keep reminding myself that this is what is best for him in the long run. And I hope that I am right.