BTW, that made her one of the 5% babies who arrive on their due date (natural birth). One friend commented: ‘she’s already showing a talent of punctuality :)’. Indeed!
The first words spoken to her by her mum was: ‘你好 Nina’, and by her dad: ‘bonjours Nina’. Both mean ‘hello Nina’. With big smiles and amazement of the magical creature we spoke these words. And for me with enormous relief that the labour was F I N A L L Y over. I had a natural delivery using only gas – the official document says that the labour lasted only 5 hours 44 minutes. What the offical document didn’t say was the one whole day of pre-labour I had gone through before that 5 hours 44 minutes, the last 9+ hours of which were already painful enough for me to head to hospital believing that labour already started. By the time I realized that gas would not be sufficient and it was getting way too much, I was told it’s too late to use any other drugs because the baby was coming. So I had to push it through, literally. Nothing, I mean really nothing, had prepared me for THAT level of pain and I think my mind had to detach from my body to remain somehow half-conscious, and Nicolas said that he never realized I had so much force that his arms were almost twisted broken by me, lol (he was such a fabulous supporter during whole process, merci palomito). It was an outer-body experience, to say the least.
Enough rambling, back to the serious staff 🙂 So by day 1, Nicolas and I started with the OPOL – one parent one language – approach. In this approach, each parent speaks respective language with the child, under all circumstances, so that the child gets enough exposure to all languages in the most natural way. I read that young children will have this natural abiltiy to distinguish the languages and acknowledge the fact that mum and dad are each speaking a different language to them, and in return would establish a language-per-parent communication system. They would have no problem switching between/among languages depending on the audiance.
My delivery doctor Dr. Seeho (who’s btw a fantastic doctor, I couldn’t ask for more) and quite a few midwifes at the Mater (hospital where Nina was born) are interested in – positively – the fact that we speak different languages to Nina. This allows us to be confident and comfortable in speaking ‘minority’ languages (Chinese/French vs English as mainstream language in Australia) with Nina even when there are other English-speaking person present. This takes off one of the most common pressures that many bi/tri-lingual parents face – feeling awkward/misunderstood/un-acknolweged/rude/embarassed in using a minority language in a social environment, as suggested by researches. It takes some determination, confidence, persistance, and sometimes a bit of luck to overcome this challenge.
I’m grateful that we are in a supportive environment to start with. Way to go.