She Knows Nose!

Ami: I think I’m gonna write about OPOL.
Karen: What?
Ami: OPOL. I wanna write about it.
Karen: Write about what?
Ami: OPOL. Jesus, do I have to spell it out for you?
Karen: Yes please.
Ami: O-P-O-L. OPOL.
Karen: The car?
Ami: Not Opel. OPOL! OPOL! We do it everyday!
Karen: We do an OPOL everyday?
Ami: Ya know what? I think I like this game…
Karen: Damn it Ami, what is it?!
Ami: OPOL?
Karen: YES!!!!
Ami: But you just gave me a great start for my blog entry.
Karen:  Wait…
Ami: For what?
Karen:  I think I know what it is…
Ami: Nu…
Karen:  One Parent One Language?
Ami: Darn. Thought I could’ve kept it goin’ a bit longer. Oh well…
Karen:  Nice try, Ami. Nice try… 
A few days ago, I picked Emma up, and asked her where her ear was. I like to ask Emma where her ear is. Not because I think she’s lost it or anything, but because I like hearing her say “ear” while shoving her cute little index finger down it, almost enough to scrape her eardrum. 
After she did it, she immediately pointed to her nose and said “Af!”. I think I scared her when my eyes almost popped out, and then yelled “Karen! She knows nose!” 
rude-child1In a way, it was the first time we got a glimpse to see how this whole OPOL experiment was going. We knew from the get-go we wanted Emma to be bilingual, and after a few searches on the net decided to try out OPOL – One Parent One Language. The rule is, I speak to Emma in Hebrew, and Karen in English. No ifs, ands or “aval”s… Emma’s about 20 months old now, and even though she goes to Hebrew day-care, she knows quite a few more words in English than in Hebrew. I believe Karen’s teaching abilities might have something to do with it. And till now, Emma would point at the various features on her angelic face in English alone: “Eeya!” (ear), “No!” (nose), “Chee!” (chin), “Mau” (mouth) and “Eye” (thank God).  
But lo and behold, here she was, in my arms, pointing at my “Af!”, scratching my “Naim!” (oznayim) and inserting her hand, albeit at times deep enough to make one gag, down my “Peh!”. 
Still, I can’t help but be a bit apprehensive about the way it might affect her development in a Hebrew speaking society. The rule of thumb is that OPOL might at first slow down one’s verbal development, but later on in life it picks up to normal speed. We’ll just have to wait and see. 
But all in all, it seems like she’s off to a good start. She cetainly makes her “Aba!” proud.

9 Responses to “She Knows Nose!”

  1. March 29, 2009 at 15:38

    It’s so funny that you point out the facial features as the first sign that Emma understands both languages. I think you know that I speak to Eytan in Hebrew and Josh in English, right? Well one day I was asking him, “Eyfo ha-af shelcha? Eyfo ha-peh?”, etc. And he pointed to each item in turn. I was so proud I almost burst. But then Josh said, “Ethan, where is your nose?” And he pointed to it. “Ethan, where is your mouth?” And he pointed to it. By the time they made it through all the important bits I had tears streaming down my face.
    By the way, I think she might seem to know more English words only because they are often times easier to pronounce. But don’t give up, she has the Hebrew in her head, she just can say it yet.

    I hope one day Eytan and Emma can meet and jabber away in Hebrish to each other!!:)

  2. 5 Karin
    March 30, 2009 at 04:50

    being in the USA we had the same question… except that growing up bi-lingual myself I’m not really worried. As a person that loves text, language and talking I figured Zoe would be fine.
    And she is, we still are surprised when we come to visits in Israel, and people try speaking in English to Zoe only to find out she speaks very good Hebrew… I think that as long as you talk, your kid will figure it out and will get a valuable language skill. At my husband’s request we do speak Hebrew at home (also all our friends here are Hebrew speakers…), and she gets all the English she needs at daycare and with friends.
    What I find amazing is that kids know who speaks what – in Zoe’s class there are 2 more Hebrew speaking kids and they know (@ 3 mind you) that they can speak in Hebrew and their teachers won’t have a clue what they are talking about – the kids get a kick out of it. The other day she said to me – you know mummy I speak very good English and Ivrit and she started naming the people in her life that speak both…

  3. May 4, 2009 at 01:12

    Your daughter is adorable. And apparently speaks better hebrew than I do. Hmph.
    I don’t know about verbal development – I grew up bilingual myself and I had no verbal development delay (that I know of:) )..
    and i knew a bilingual couple that sent their daughters to school in a third language (mom was spanish, dad was walloon, and the girls went to Flemish schools. Aged 3 and 5, they impressively spoke all three languages… So don’t worry about that!

    • 8 shmookty
      May 4, 2009 at 07:33

      Thanx Mo! 🙂
      Tell ya what, I’ll help you with your Hebrew if you help me with my Arabic (non-existent, except for the occasional cursing… which reminds me of another Chamishiya skit:

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