Monthly Archives: August 2012

Starting fresh

The concept of sharing does not seem to be coming naturally to Nestor. I cut up an apple for him, he eats a few slices and then, ever so generously, offers a slice to me (read: shoves it into my mouth). The expression of satisfaction upon completing such a complex task is very quickly replaced by that of utter despair when he realises that the apple slice is disappearing, forever. This is usually accompanied by an ear-piercing: “Neeeeee!!! Apppppeeeel!” 

The next day we do it again. His father shakes his head and mentions something about Einstein, doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome. 




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On change

“You must be a teacher too. Of agile exits and negotiations, of quick turns and pirouettes. Of all the inventive ways to go through life instead of banging it head-on. There is a deft elegance to the mother who has mastered this dance, the dance with no choreography. She is fluid and round. She smiles and laughs easily. She breezes along as though anything were possible. Like a child.”

I know who I am, we tell ourselves. I know what I need. This is the ego talking, the ego walking in a phony swagger to scare off the inevitable threats to its supremacy. Look out. Things change.”

“Hour by hour, I was merely exchanging one higher value for another, one imprisoning ethic for the next. I had joined the generations of women zagging between the either and the or. Being with my child is so important. Working is so important. Taking care of my family is so meaningful. My work is so meaningful. I should be here. I should be over there. I need to do this. I must do that. This is the right choice. No, that is the right choice. On and on, picking, choosing, evaluating, rationalizing, and often regretting.

“Momma Zen”, Karen Maezen Miller


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Filed under not such a zen mama

Nestor says (at 21 months old)

When Una was about the age that Nestor is now, like any first time parents we were naturally marveling at every new word she learnt and every new sentence construction she would put together. An additional dimension of hilariousness was that she would use all three languages at the same time, very often in one sentence (this blog’s address is one of Una’s first sentences, met-the-ovo – meaning with-the-this (dutch/english/serbian)). But sadly, other than a few very memorable ones, we forgot a lot of these early gems, and also I honestly have no idea how big her vocabulary was when she was 18/22/24 months old. So I am going to do the opposite of what my parents (read: my father) did and try to record my youngest child’s verbal development. While my father lovingly and meticulously kept/marked/framed/gold plated my sister’s doodles from 1-10 years in half a day increments, the only thing I have from my early childhood other than a photo here and there (in most of which they couldn’t have been bothered to wipe my beloved jam off my face) is that one tape of me singing yelling at them. They later tried making up for that with the cheesy stories of how I made our family complete, was an angel baby and could read at the age of 4. Of course I was too smart to buy into any of it, I could read at the age of 4 for goodness sake. I hope you now understand why I have a soft spot for younger siblings.

Anyway, I thought I would write down some words and sentences that Nestor now uses on a daily base. And while Una at this age spoke mostly in Serbian, then in Dutch and only then in English Nestor seems to be a lot more balanced. So at 20 months old some things he says:


Ne tamo (not there, I use that a lot with him)

Moja zaba (my frog)

Ide kozice (going to the goats)

Gde je, gde je? (where is, where is)

Oko/glava/nos/uvo (eye/head/nose/ear)

Pazi! (look out, careful)

Pada kisa, mokro (it is raining and wet)

Nije nase auto (it is not our car – followed by a sigh if it is a car fancier than ours which is, well, most cars)

Sokoooo (Juuuuuiceeeee)

Sam! (Alone, by myself!)

Njam njam (yum, yum)

baka/deka/te(t)ka/Jana – granma/granpa/aunty/Jana

slon/maca/krava/patka/mis (elephant/cat/cow/duck/mouse or Smurph)

JOS! (More!)


Veeeliko more (biiig sea)

Puuuno auta (lots of cars)

Avion/kamion (airplane/truck)

Kaki (#2)

Pupa (belly button)

Kasika (spoon)

Mama nos(i) (Mama, carry me)

Ca(ra)pe – socks, this kid is obsessed with socks, every morning when we dress him he is very concrete on which pair he wants for the day, the rest he doesn’t care too much about but socks he is serious about

Pec-pec (hot-hot)

Fuji (yuck)


Is a good boy (mostly when he is not:))

Give me dummy



Enough Una! (he uses this a lot)

Kiss, kiss!

Come seka (seka means “a little sister” in Serbian which is how he mostly calls Una)

Horsey, horsey


Give hand

There you gooooooo

Money, money, funny (can you tell that we are Mama Mia fans?)

Good morning (sounds more like “good moaning” though)

Thank you. (he say is give him something. And it is still adorable)

P(l)ease. (hmm, looks like he is learning his manners from Daddy and learning to give orders from mama…)



Hot (more pronounced like hooooooot)

C(l)ean, c(l)ean


Ik wil (I want to – this he uses with all three languages, so he will say “Ik wil tamo” for “I want to go there”)

Ik wil slapen/drinken/eten – I want to sleep/drink/eat

Zitten bum – this comes from the phase where he thought that chairs are for standing on them and subsequently falling off, so Mark lost his voice repeating “sit on your bum” which became “zitten bum” and this is what he uses every time he sees anything that can be sat on.

Van mij!  (Mine! – this is the first Dutch word that Una learnt as well, day care survival)

Pindakaas (peanut butter)

Appel (apple)

Is weg (it is gone)

Mama werken (mama is at work)

Ball (ball, but pronounced differently)

Lopen (walk)

I am sure this is not all, he is a real chatterbox these days, although his most effective way of communication by far has recently been the lovely screech that mostly gets him what he wants VERY fast. Will try to add new ones every month or so, it should be interesting (for Mark and I only, of course) to follow how it develops and I am sure there will be many “met-the-ovo”s of his own to come!

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Filed under Raising multilingual children