In the spirit of my last post, My “Bilingual Resolutions” for 2014 (Tell Me Yours and Win a Prize!), I sat down with Lulu (9) and Roy (6), hoping to produce some sincere resolutions from them for the new year. What followed was this nutty, funny discussion, courtesy of two wild monkey-children. (I still have no idea what “Wacko versus tangerine!” means…)
Lulu: Wacko versus tangerine! (They squeal with laughter.)
Me: What? What are you talking about?
Roy: Wacko versus tangerine! (They squeal again with laughter.)
Me: Okay, now listen carefully.
Lulu: Don’t do a serious talk. I don’t like serious talks.
Me: Okay, now do you know what a New Year’s Resolution is?
Lulu: I don’t know what a resolution is.
Roy: What’s a revolution?
Me: Not revolution, resolution.
Roy: What’s a resolution?
“What are your resolutions?”
Me: Sometimes, when a new year comes…like, we just had New Year’s, right? So now it’s a new year. Do you know what year it is?
Lulu: Yeah, 2014.
Me: Very good.
Roy: I thought it was 2013.
Me: We just finished 2013. Now it’s 2014, okay? And when we start a new year, some people make New Year’s resolutions.
Roy: What’s a resolution?
Me: A resolution is when a person is resolved—
Lulu: I don’t know what “resolved” means.
Me: It means you make a promise to do something. So, for example, this year my New Year’s Resolution might be to read a book every day. Or my New Year’s Resolution might be not to eat so much candy.
Lulu: I like candy!
Roy: Me, too!
Me: Just a minute. So a New Year’s Resolution is something that you want to do this year, or something you don’t want to do. It means you’re going to try hard to improve at something. So I want to know… What are your New Year’s Resolutions?
Lulu and Roy: (their hands shooting into the air) ME! ME! ME! ME! ME!
Me: Okay, Roy, tell me one of your New Year’s Resolutions for 2014.
(Lulu moans in disappointment.)
Roy: My resolution is… Before bed, I’m going to poop.
Me: Lulu, how about you? What’s one of your New Year’s Resolutions?
Lulu: Mine is finishing one thing before I go to another thing.
Me: Finishing one thing before you go on to another thing? Now that’s a good resolution, right? Do you think you can do that this year?
Lulu: I don’t think so.
Me: How have you been doing so far?
Lulu: Badly. (Points to Roy) Because he always distracts me! (She giggles.)
Lulu: Humbug! (She giggles.)
Me: But you want to focus on things, finish things, and then move on to other things. So you’re going to try to have more focus this year?
Lulu: Yeah… Humbug!
Roy: Yeah, humbug poop!
“Can I have another resolution?”
Me: Roy, can I have another resolution? Something you want to do this year…something not connected to poop.
(Lulu and Roy laugh.)
Me: They’re all connected to poop. Is that right?
(Lulu and Roy laugh.)
Me: No, what do you want to do this year? Something you want to try, or something you want to get better at…
Roy: I wanna run better.
Me: You mean faster? You want to run faster? Are you going to practice at that?
Roy: I don’t know.
Lulu: I don’t think so. He’ll just play with Lego all day.
Me: Lulu, do you have another resolution?
Lulu: My resolution is to play the piano better.
Me: Oh, play the piano better.
Lulu: I’m very bad at playing the piano.
(They now pretend to play the piano, loudly singing out the notes.)
Me: Okay, okay, any more resolutions for this year?
Roy: Pee in my pants.
Roy: Pick my nose.
“How about your English?”
Me: Okay, let me ask you a different question. I want you to be serious now. How about your English? Do you have any New Year’s Resolutions about your English, improving your English in some way? What can you do?
Roy: Reading better.
Me: Reading better? How would you do that? How would you get better at reading?
Lulu: By playing with Lego all day?
Me: How can you get better at reading? What can you do?
Roy: Put feeling into it.
Me: Oh, when you read out loud? Put feeling into it? Is that what you mean? That’s a good resolution, when we read together… (to Lulu) How about you? Isn’t that a good resolution for you, too? When you read out loud, can you put more feeling into it?
Lulu: I want to do cursive! I need a new cursive book! I don’t even remember how to do it!
Me: You want to practice cursive again?
Me: (to Roy) Is that something you want to do, too? Practice cursive?
(They start writing in cursive on the table, with their fingers.)
Roy: Look, I can write in cursive!
Me: (to Roy) So you want to get better at reading by putting more feeling into it. (to Lulu) And you want to practice cursive again. But I think giving more expression to your reading is something you can work on, too, okay?
Lulu: But I don’t like to put feeling into it!
Me: You put your feeling into it, and you might feel something yourself.
Lulu: No, I have a heart of ice! I’m the Ice Queen!
“What are you looking forward to?”
Me: Okay, so let me ask one more question. We talked about New Year’s Resolutions, and you have a couple of resolutions for this year. Now tell me… What are you looking forward to this year? Is there anything you’re excited about?
Roy: My birthday.
Me: Your birthday? When’s your birthday?
Roy: Uhhh… When was it again?
Lulu: Oh, come on! It’s March 9th!
Me: You’re birthday’s March 9th, right?
Lulu: You don’t even remember your own birthday?
Me: So you’re looking forward to your birthday. How old will you be?
Lulu: I’ll be ten!
Me: (to Lulu) And what are you looking forward to this year?
Lulu: Going to America!
Me: You want to go to America?
Me: I don’t know if we can. But why do you want to go?
Lulu: Because then I’ll get my own suitcase!
Roy: For my birthday, I want Lego!
Me: That’s the only reason you want to go to America? To get a suitcase?
Lulu: No, that’s not all. And I can play at the pool and see Grandpa and Grandma.
Me: I see.
Lulu: Please, Daddy!
Me: I’m not making any promises right now.
Lulu: I wanna go on a trip!
Me: Okay, okay, I think that’s enough with the New Year’s Resolutions.
Roy: Yeah, I’m tired of revolutions.
Me: It’s not revolutions, it’s resolutions.
Lulu: (giggling) Revolutions… Oh, come on! Will you ever learn?
“Would you like to give a message?”
Me: All right, would you like to give a message for the new year to other bilingual children, like you? What should they do this year to get better at their languages?
Lulu: Have fun using your languages!
Me: That’s a good idea. Roy, do you have a message for the children out there?
Roy: Eat your eyeballs.
Me: Eat your eyeballs? They should eat their eyeballs?
Roy: Yes, and then they can see through their mouth!