Monday, June 29, 2009

'Rillas, 'Matoes, and Counting

This morning Rachel brought me a toy gorilla.

"Pretty 'rilla," she said, because that's what she calls them.

I agreed with her that the gorilla was pretty, or at least as pretty as a gorilla can get.

"That's a very pretty gorilla." I told her.

"Oh, girl-rilla!" she cooed, "Where is boy-rilla? Hiding?"

I love it when she thinks words are compound words when they aren't. She does the same thing with tomatoes. I'll be preparing some tomatoes for dinner and she'll ask,

"Eat 'matoes?"

"Yes, we're going to have tomatoes with dinner." I'll answer.

"Oh, two 'matoes," she'll say, which is funny because she doesn't really understand the concept of counting yet.

She knows some numbers and she knows some letters but she doesn't really understand what they do. Last night we were talking with our families and Rachel was showing off her alphabet singing skills. Mostly she will sing A-B-C over and over and over again. Sometimes she'll throw more letters in there like F and G before going back to A again.

"I'm counting!" she declared to one of her grandparents before singing, "A-B-C-A-B-C-Arba!"

"1-2-3-D!" Andrew said.

Arba was the only number in there. And that's obviously not English, but that's alright because we encourage Arabic. Lately Rachel has been a little possessive of her English. We have an Arabic alphabet book and have read it so much that Rachel has basically memorized it, like most of her other story books.

I was reading it to her the other day--technically I was only almost reading it, because I had barely opened it to the first page when she said, "No not arnab! Rabbit!"

I didn't tell her it was an arnab. I didn't tell her it was a rabbit. But she wanted me to be sure, before I opened my mouth, that we'd be doing this in English. I was equally insistant about doing it in Arabic and she went through every letter, telling me, "No not timsah! Alligator! No not shams! Sun!"

It is so fun to see her language skills develop. Fun for me, at least.


  1. Grant has issues with Grilled Cheese sandwiches. He says, "No girl-cheese sandwich, a boy-cheese sandwich." He makes sure the gender of the food is determined! and he's 5! although the only boy in a gaggle of girls makes him acutely aware of gender. ;)Grant also uses arabic emphasis. when he really doesn't want to do something, he'll utilize la'a in whatever english form. "No'o mommy! I don't wa'ant to do tha'at." Are we truly messing up our kids? ;)

  2. Her compound words ARE really, really cute!

    You know how it's really hard to find childrens' books in Arabic? I mean, it's probably a lot easier in EGYPT and all, but I heard about this site on NPR:

    ...and I wrote them and they sent me a free board book of Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes in Arabic. I told them I was an Arabic teacher so that's probably why, but don't you technically count as an Arabic teacher, too?

  3. Children's books in Arabic are difficult to find, even here. They just aren't readers for the most part. Like, if you see anyone reading on the metro, they're reading either the Koran or textbooks (in English). They aren't "literature" readers like Europeans or Americans--not that you see people reading very often now that we have cell phones. Shame.

    This company looks great though!

    I looked on and they have quite a few listed, but come from all over the place I also looked at Milet Publishing (they typically do multi-lingual stories, etc).

  4. oh my gosh, how cute!!!

  5. That reminds me of my sister, Leah, when she was little. She kept telling my mom that she couldn't find her "tard." It took my mom about 20 minutes to figure out that she meant her "Leah-tard." Ha!