lunedì, agosto 04, 2014

Left behind

I guess we are doing something that I'm not sure is a good idea with Godzilla. I guess all parents, no matter how thoughtful or deliberate, do things to their kids they're not sure are good ideas.

The fact is I am taking it on faith - a rather leapy sort of faith - that raising him multilingual isn't the worst fucking idea of all time. He is speaking English and Italian now - understanding both, using words from both - and then on Saturday, he said his first German word. So here it is. Here we are. Here I am thinking about it and wondering if I'm doing the best thing or the worst thing ever for him.

On Friday we're leaving on a two month trip. First for Canada, and then Italy, where he gets to use his Italian muscles, and then Germany, where it looks as though the F-word, the boy and I are going to be visiting about a kajillion kindergartens. The books tell me it'll all be okay - that when we're going, in the midst of a language explosion that has already started, he'll be able to handle all this like it's nothing. My common sense says it'll be okay, and the three plus years that kindergarten runs in Germany is going to be a really sufficient and indeed terrific amount of time to ease him into the language thoroughly and fun-ly enough to let him excel at school, if that's what he'd like to excel at.

And I guess I hope it is. Being really good at school is one of the things that has made my own life so easy, comfortable and interesting (to myself at least). That is what I'm worried about, I guess. That having three languages doesn't just mean having three languages but having a smattering of three languages instead of being really good at one language. That's not how it works. I know that, but I don't know it, not first-hand, because the only language I'm really good at is English - to some degree or another, I suffer all the rest.

And here it is - even more profoundly than fearing I'm wronging Godzilla, and this is what I have to focus on. Here we are, at a threshold that my common sense and linguistic research tells my disbelieving brain that Godzilla is likely to waltz past without missing a step - a threshold I'll never pass. Realizing that if all this works the way it should, that before this kid of mine can reliably piss in a pot, that he is going to surpass me, just blow me away at something, and the reason I'm scared is because I can't do it for myself, I can't even imagine it for myself - but it's going to be just fine for him.

Suddenly the trepidation, the fear, the worry my near ancestors must have felt when their kids (with their strong encouragement and indeed insistence) started going to school instead of burning charcoal and being bandits is a lot easier to understand.

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