Bambina Babbles

11 Apr

When I found out I was expecting, one of the things I was most pleased about, other than the obvious stalk delivery, was that I was going to have a bi-lingual child.

I studied Spanish at school and university and my language skills got me out of no end of trouble when I was traveling South America (it also got me into trouble but we wont go there right now).

In today’s multi cultural world I think it’s imperative that children speak a second language to give them the best start. I didn’t set out on purpose to find a foreign husband but I’m so grateful now that I have one.

Unlike and gaelicmediummum who have very bravely set out to teach their children a second language that 1) is not their mother tongue and 2) they don’t even speak themselves, I feel very fortunate that the Italian is, well, Italian, so Bambina can talk and wave her hands at with him to her heart’s content.  You can catch their story here.

If I wasn’t married to a non-English, I’m not too sure how determined I would be to ensure that Bambina learns a new language.  If I am completely honest, I would probably leave it up the education system to sort out. I take my hat off to and gaelicmediummum for taking on such a mammoth task – and sticking to it!! Massive Kudos.

The Italian is also fluent in Spanish. Double whammy. With Italian, Spanish and maybe a bit of French and/or Cantonese thrown in for good measure when she goes to school, Bambina is set to be a very clever little girl. Either that or totally bamboozled and won’t be able to string a sentence together – well, a sentence that we understand!

But how and when do we speak to her in other languages than English? When does too much information become system overload?

Currently we are trying, but not yet perfecting, the one parent one language rule. I babble in English and he mutters in Italian.  Thanks to Skype, Bambina sees and converses with her grandparents (Nonni) in Italy everyday and at ten little months she can understand and responds to various phrases in both languages:

Clap your hands – Batti le Manine

How big are you? – Cuanto grande e?

Give me a kiss – Dame un bacino

On Easter day she said her first Italian word, “Nono!” (Granddad).

Italian as a second language is not as popular as French or Spanish so it’s quite difficult to find bi-lingual toys. I found a great one on eBay but that was it. I’ve tried to find them at Chicco, both in the UK and in Italy, but to no avail.  Considering Chicco is an Italian company, even they fall short on English/Italian toy availability.  It’s rather frustrating when most toys out there (Fisher Price and Leap Frog) only do mixed languages in English/French.  Thank goodness for Dora the Explorer because now at least we have Spanish too.

You can imagine my delight when by chance I came across Babyboomboom who make bi-lingual nursery rhyme CD’s for children.  They had an English/Italian version! Bravo! Bambina listens to it probably every day and it is the best tenner I’ve ever spent!

And so our varied vocabulary continues.  I am learning Italian along with my daughter and even know how say things like nappy, bottle, bum rash – not phrases I need when ordering a coffee or a double room in a hotel but hey ho.  I don’t ever want to be in a situation where I don’t know what my child is saying and for that reason, language lessons all round!

BabyBoomBoom have kindly offered to donate a few of their music bags to Tea&Biscotti for my very first *GiveAway*.  It’s an amazing gift for any parent wanting to assist their child in learning a new language and what better way to do that than with nursery rhymes?!

I will be posting *GiveAway* details later this week so do stay tuned (see what I did there? tuned…genius!) if you want to be the lucky owner of a BabyBoomBoom music goodie bag!

In the meantime, if anyone out there is a bi/tri-lingual parent, do leave me a comment on what approach you are taking and how it works, or doesn’t, for you and your little ones.  I would be interested to know how you are finding it.  Any advice is helpful advice, I appreciate it.

Until then… Ciao Ciao!



Posted by on April 11, 2012 in Reviews


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12 responses to “Bambina Babbles

  1. Debbie Young

    April 12, 2012 at 8:57 am

    As a teenager, I lived in Germany and went to an international, English-speaking school, with 50 nationalities on the roll. I babysat a half-Danish, half-English girl who spent the first two years of her life in French-speaking Switzerland before moving to Germany. She understood everything, sue was a linguistic sponge, but would only speak Danish at first. She was a happy, well-balanced little girl and my favourite one to babysit. I think the total immersion method works well for children under 8 (after that it’s much harder to learn – the brain works differently with regard to language). Your daughter is lucky to have the opportunity to absorb it all when so young. All we can offer my daughter is English (mine) and my husband’s family’s broad Scots. She has been known to boast that she’s fluent in Scottish – and that is quite an achievement, the noo…

    • Tea&Biscotti

      April 12, 2012 at 7:47 pm

      It’s definitely best to teach them as young as possible. I was just worried that she would get confused and therefore it would slow her speach altogether. I must admit, I cant wait to hear her little accent, how adorable?! I’m from Liverpool original and still have my accent, my husband is Italian (as if you didnt know!) and we live in London – her accent is sure to be a right mix of everything at first.
      When I was little, I wanted to have a Scottish accent. I wanted to marry a man in a kilt (because it looks cool on the wedding pics!). I also wanted to be a Flamenco dancer – no wonder I’ve ended up with a foreigner! 🙂
      Thanks as always for your lovely comments. x


    April 12, 2012 at 10:46 am

    I am well jel!!! I would so love a foreign husband (only joking darling hubbie. Honestly). Thanks so much for the mention in your post. I should point out I do speak a degree of French, so I am not going completely off-piste with my mission! My top tip would be songs. The Tinkerous Toddler can now rattle off French songs as easily as English ones, we love nothing more than a round of Alouette – a joyeous song about plucking all areas of a gentle little lark – before her bedtime!!

    • Tea&Biscotti

      April 12, 2012 at 7:52 pm

      I’ve been playing BabyBoomBoom to her since I was pregnant. When she was born, after the first few weeks, I played the CD and her reaction was amazing! I’ve spoken to a friend of a friend who is a speach therapist and he says that this has most definitely stimulated her – she loves it! I must admit, it’s also helping my vocab but im sure how well Old McDonald had a farm fits into every day conversation in Italy?! 🙂

  3. gaelicmediummum

    April 12, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    After you mentioned the Baby Boom Boom CDs I looked them up and the Gaelic one sounds great! I really want to get one but I’m always up for a freebie so now I’m stuck – do I order one now and strike whilst the iron is hot, or wait and cross my fingers in your giveaway? Hmmm, most of my CDs end up scratched because the kids are not so good at handling them gently (does anyone else remember when CDs came out and we were told they were indestructible? They said we could use them as coasters!?) so maybe buying one and then maybe ending up with a second (if I’m lucky) would be a GOOD thing!

    I have learned both French and Italian. I’ve studied French for much longer than Italian so it’s the one I remember best now, but I loved Italian and am very jealous of your connection with it. I think you’re just going to have to invite us over for an Italian holiday with you sometime…

  4. Tea&Biscotti

    April 12, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    Arent we all so smart with all this lingo chat! I did French at school and was amazed how much I remember when we went to Paris last year. My husband thinks himself a linguist (he could practically hold a mini sentence in Arabic after a week in Sharm!) so was bewildered how I could rattle off a lunch order! Its not that taxing really, is it?! “Je voudrais in glas frais svp..”
    You should definitely enter the giveaway, you might come up trumps!!
    Re the invite to Italy – one day, when I get a 6figure book deal from my blog *chokes*, we’ll buy a beach side villa and entertain the socks off you! x

  5. amummysview

    April 14, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    I think it’s fabulous that your little ones can be bi-lingual. I have a friend who has family in Belgium and their little ones knew upwards of three languages by half way through infant school! We are probably too lazy here in the UK as it’s an international first language. My hat goes off to you all helping your children. I am certainly interested in reading more about how you get on and the Babyboomboomboom products! xxx

  6. Tea&Biscotti

    April 14, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    You should definitely enter to win a BabyBoomBoom CD & Music bag. The post is now out. That could be the start of your very own baby lanugage affair!


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