When we first got home from China we were overwhelmed and learning to communicate with Nova in general. And I’m not just talking about her learning english. We were getting to know each other and forming new routines, which was tough in the beginning.
We always knew we wanted to learn Chinese as a family or at bare minimum keep Nova learning! Months went by and as we could see her Chinese slipping away we felt defeated for a bit.
In hindsight, I wish I wouldn’t have stressed about it so much. Yes- learning Chinese was a big priority, but Nova feeling safe, loved and settled in her new life were obviously a hundred times more important in those first few months. Next time I will give myself more grace to have a few very EASY months if that’s what we are needing (but who knows, I’m expecting it will go totally different the second time).
A year later, we are still searching for a tutor to come to our home for private lessons. But in the meantime we started Nova watching Ni Hao Kai-lan and we were instantly shocked how quickly she began picking up mandarin phrases from the show. It blew our minds!
We got inspired really quickly and started to learn a word a day. We’ve now been doing it a few weeks and I keep a list of words she has on my phone. We review them a lot to make sure they stick. We use google translator to get the correct pronunciation. We also have a close friend who speaks Chinese and go to a Chinese restaurant a lot where all the sweet ladies love to talk to Nova in Chinese.
It’s going SO WELL. I honestly feel silly that I had put up such a huge mental block and convinced myself she needed a tutor to get started. Teaching her Chinese is no more difficult than all the other things we teach her (letter recognition, counting, spelling basic words etc). And it’s sooooo much fun because Nova is so incredibly proud of herself!
Though I’m sure this advice is obvious to many, I wanted to write this post to encourage other moms to go more easy on themselves. Guilt helps nothing. And then when life shifts and you suddenly have capacity you just didn’t before- just START.
Now that we’ve started, it is so rewarding to learn bits and pieces every day as a family! Best feeling ever!
Sending love to every mom out there, especially those of you in the middle of a struggle season. Go easy on yourself! It’s a marathon, right?