This fall, we were supposed to go to Germany.
Or Austria. Or Switzerland…or any other European region where German is widely spoken. Everything about our 2018 language plans hinged on the intention of this trip.
I’d been learning German for a few years but was going to ramp it up this year, beginning in January with an intensive 3-month language challenge and a series of italki lessons [affiliate link].
My son attends a German language immersion preschool. This is his second year in the program, so he’s practically fluent for a three-year-old.
And my husband…well, his German is very limited, but he was loving the idea of a family vacation abroad. Surely, too, once the plane tickets were bought, he would dive a little more into German studies (although let’s be real: I wasn’t getting my hopes up too much).
Financially, a trip to Europe wouldn’t be easy on our family, but it wouldn’t necessarily be hard either. We would have to be smart about our expenses and research savings opportunities ahead of time–and we had every intention of doing these things.
In February, we found out we were pregnant.
Oddly enough, it was during an italki lesson when I thought, ‘I feel so sick and tired.’ More than that, my brain was cloudy. I’m normally sharp–and I’d done my italki homework beforehand, so I was well prepared for it–but that day, during my lesson, I knew something was “wrong.”
The next morning I ran to our corner drugstore and bought a pregnancy test. There was no mistaking the plus sign that filled the little white window of truth. I was definitely pregnant.
The pregnancy was not planned, so it caught my husband and me off guard. I just didn’t feel ready for a baby number two. I hadn’t anticipated having any more children, ever.
From February into April, I didn’t feel like studying German. “Morning” sickness was for me an around-the-clock feeling of nausea that ranged from mild to severe. My mind and body were telling me to put my German studies on hold for a while, and I listened.
What I did instead of continuing to study German was start Language Preschools.
I value my son learning German at such a young age, and so easily, through his language immersion preschool. So while I didn’t want to keep learning German at the time, I also didn’t want to abandon my interest in languages completely. I decided to build this website, Language Preschools. Language Preschools is a directory of language immersion programs across the United States. My goal with it is to connect more families to their local language immersion preschools.
For families both within and outside the United States, I created this blog of resources and tips to help raise bilingual children. Although the directory at LanguagePreschools.com is for now limited to the U.S., parents from around the world can benefit from the blog.
I’m getting back into German now that I’m 25+ weeks pregnant.
Guess what? Over the past week, I’ve started picking up German again. While other moms get the nesting urge, I guess my equivalent is cramming another language into my brain so I can effectively communicate, in a second language, with a newborn. Plus, this coming week is my son’s last week at his language immersion school before summer break starts (he goes to an all-English speaking summer school). As a result, I need to essentially turn my home into a bilingual one, and quickly.
This year, we’re not going to Germany. Or any German-speaking country, for that matter. With two children soon to be in daycare/preschool at the same time, a Germany trip isn’t in our foreseeable future anymore. It’s no longer part of our short-term language plans. But that’s OK.
My language plans didn’t go as planned, but we’re improvising. We are blessed to be bringing new life into the world, and I’m excited about the prospect of raising another bilingual child.
When language plans don’t go as planned…improvise!
When it comes to language learning, sometimes we have to roll with the punches and go with the flow. The intensity of our day jobs might ramp up. We might find ourselves in the middle of a career change requiring learning a completely different skill for a while. We or someone we love might get sick. Our favorite bilingual school might shut its doors.
Life happens, and language plans don’t always fit the original mold we’d outlined for them.
The best thing we can do is improvise and keep our chins up. After all, language learning is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s a journey that has its ups and downs but that we and our children can always come back to.
Have you ever had a language intention that didn’t work out as you had planned? Leave us a comment to share your story.
P.S…It’s a boy!
We had our gender reveal party today. We cherished being surrounded by family and friends as we announced that we'd be having a baby boy. My "Boy Mom" status is solidified now although the title "Mom of Bilingual Boys" will soon fit too as I strive to now raise TWO children who know more than one language. Double the fun! 💛💛 . . . #boymom #genderreveal #genderrevealparty #pregnancy #bilingualkids #bilingual #bilingualbaby #bilingualmom #dfwkids #toddlers #infants #preschool #prek #daycare #childcare #raisingboys #raisingkids #itsaboy #24weeks #momlife #midwife #twoboys