My youngest at 2 and a half years old doesn’t speak any Estonian despite my best efforts. I can’t tell you how difficult it is to keep going, me speaking in Estonian and A only speaking in English. She clearly understands everything I am saying in Estonian which is something. Where I find it difficult is when trying to correct or chastise her. Logically I know she understand Estonian and what I am saying to her, but emotionally I can’t help but think I need to speak to her in English as an additional option to further her understanding. I am trying to stay true to my commitment to Estonian only, but it is increasingly challenging personally.
As to why A only speaks in English I can but venture a guesses. I think the only difference is that K, my oldest child at almost 4 years old, is probably the person who interacts the most with A, and K speaks in English with A. I don’t believe I am doing anything differently. Now my only hope is that though there is very little Estonian spoken by A, her obvious comprehension of everything I say will be enough of a start to help her out later when I am able to send her to Estonian camps and Estonia.
Otherwise, my parents were visiting for a total of 3 weeks and K was doing wonderfully with her Estonian speaking. I must be doing something right despite the challenges. I can already tell that the net challenge will be maintaining my commitment to only speaking in Estonian with my kids when so many other kids are around or over for playdates. I always make sure to translate what I am saying for any other children present, but again, an added commitment on my part.
This isn’t easy, but I’m still going strong.
An anecdote from K at the West Coast Estonian Festival that we attended two weeks ago in reference to another Festival attendee, “He speaks in a funny language too!”