We not only enjoyed family walks around town and fresh foods from nearby farms, but we also got a fun dose of our favorite movies from the 80's. Superman IV: The Quest for Peace starring the late Christopher Reeve, came on just as our 3-year-old son Max has learned how to stretch his arms out to simulate the flying motion. "Superman goes like this, Mama!" he says while enthusiastically gripping his DC Comics Superman figure.
Undoubtedly, Superman is also this Mama's favorite superhero! I'm forever fascinated by The Man of Steel, especially when he flies around the globe against time to save Lois Lane. However, even more than his cool outfit or his ability to fly faster than a speeding bullet, Superman's most marveled feature is his secret identity as Clark Kent. In examining Superman's ability to conceal his secret powers, I have begun to look closer at the hidden talents that I fear I may have missed as Max has been journeying through his early childhood development.
In the span of the last 6 months, he traveled out of the realm of solo play to actually being able to incorporate the feelings of his peers and even anticipate his own in regards to mine. The other day, as I prepared my make up, though unsolicited he walked into the bathroom doorway to check on me and even gave me positive feedback which surprised me to the point of jagging my eyeliner when he said, "Lepa Mama!" It still tickles me that we've grown so fast forward to a stage where he can not only occupy himself while I take a bathroom break, but also comfortably and spontaneously engage in conversation with me in both English and Serbian.
Our time in the Balkans was indeed well spent in empowering Max's bilingual discourse. However, our return flight back to the states perhaps initiated it's own time lapse and not just because we were flying against the easterly winds. When we did finally arrive back home after a 24 hour delay in Istanbul, in enthusiastically reuniting with his toys, Max seemed to spontaneously re-engage in English to accompany his almost lost and treasured American home setting. As the week continued, he even reverted to answering Daddy exclusively in English. I privately began to fear that all of our dual language progress had perhaps been derailed.
Worried, I confided in my mother and she explained that language learning is a continuing process and especially when faced with dual languages, advancement in speaking is not always perfectly synced with that of listening. As my mother predicted, by the end of the week, Max had recovered his bilingualism and exhibited his strengths in not only figuring out how to ask Daddy to put together his new Thomas the Train: TrackMaster Risky Rails Bridge Dropbut has also learned how to request, select and install its required batteries. Languages come in all speeds and the key is not always buried in their instructions, but actually understanding how to operate them.