Kate: the 2nd year: Languages

First I would like to thank craigslist for helping us find all of our French and Japanese babysitters.

Kate is blessed with the gift of language early in her life.  Angie and I both speak Mandarin at home, and so Kate’s mother tongue is Mandarin.

When she was 1 years old, we hired a babysitter from craigslist.  Hind was from Morroco and one day she asked if she can speak to Kate in French, we were ok with it.   Kate showed a lot of interest in French, even though she was resistent to speak it, she understood everything.  Ever since that time, all of our babysitters have been foreign language speakers we found on criagslist.

When Kate was 2 1/2, Angie decided to start teaching Kate Japanese, why not right?  Kate loved the simple Japanese sounds, the children’s books and children’s songs.  Japanese people make the cutest things for kids.

So now Kate is blessed with English, Mandarin, French and Japanese.  She understand my ramblings in Cantonese, but I didn’t commit enough time into teaching her to speak.

When we look for babysitters, we ask that they speak exclusively in their mother tongue, we ask for a commitment of at least 1 year in spirit (we don’t hold them to it, but we want a long term relationship), we ask that they read to Kate in their mother tongue when she is eating and we ask that they never test Kate on what she knows.

Looking back at the last 4 years in parenting, I’ll say again that it was damn hard.  This language thing is one that I won’t regret.

Search for French Sitters in SF Bay Area
Search for Japanese Sitters in SF Bay Area (We have another site for more sitters if you are interested)

9 Comments

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commented
06/07/2005 08:06 am
Regarding rejection ratio, it’s like 50%

Also, all of our sitters have to bart in and we pick them up, so the un motivated sitters usually leave after 2 tries
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commented
06/07/2005 08:03 am
The criteria was pretty simple: all three of us had to feel comfortable. Kate is a pretty good gauge. We would have the person try out for 4 hours, and usually it’s obvious whether the person would work out. It’s a pretty intense 4 hours of teaching and playing and talking in their mother tongue.

Regarding trust, we never left them alone. So that was easy. It took us at least a year before we even left them alone for 30 mins. Now we have 2 sitters who have been with us for over 2 years and we completely trust them.
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commented
06/07/2005 07:23 am
I’m curious about how you chose a sitter from a pool of complete strangers. What was your criteria for determining if you could trust the person? And what was your reject/accept ratio?
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06/06/2005 10:03 pm
English, Chinese and French she will retain forever because we are sending her to a French school until middle school or even high school.

http://www.ebfas.org/

I’m planning to live in Paris every summer, so French will definitely be in her life without a doubt.

Japanese, it really depends on whether we’ll continue to keep having sitters once a week. This will be the hardest to keep in her life, but we’ll just to have roll with it. Before she turns 6, I hope to immerse her in Japan for a few months. Maybe I can convince Y! Japan to sponsor me to work in Tokyo

The globle thing is really not a big thing for us, it’s really just opening up her brain for learning, it doesn’t matter to me how long she keeps that.