Thursday, 14 April 2011

A is for apple, a-a-apple

After the last post, I think we managed a week and a half of blissful good behavior from the monster. Of course, this couldn't, and indeed didn't, last. But in that brief window, there was a siesmic shift: he started to speak English in front of me. Especially things like 'No!' and 'Dark cave' and 'Not monster'. His first full sentence was 'What are you doing?' - a question I ask him about 20 times a day when he's climbing up the cupboards or dangling from a chair. If I'm very nice, I get a 'Hi' or 'Bye', but my favorite greeting so far was last week's response to my cheery 'Good morning!': a blank stare, followed by (in Korean) "I'm not wearing my school pants today."

If you've taught kids this young before, you'll already know that they pick up your accent disturbingly quickly, and the monster is no exception. After 7 years in Scotland, I don't say 'good' like an American, and since I use a lot of praise when he follows simple instructions like 'Sit down' and 'Stop being a giant pain in the butt', he hears this word a LOT. And now uses 'Gut' as his standard affirmative response: 'Does this word start with a 'juh' sound?' 'Gut.' He also spends a lot of time watching a series of videos on youtube performed by a British ESL teacher, and so says 'Tyuesday' and 'boll' (instead of 'ball'). He even corrects my American pronunciation of 'Saturday'. Seems I'm accidentally on purpose feeding him non-American English. Oops!

Incidentally, he'd also make an excellent rock climber. He's happy to repeat the same activity forever (provided it's something he has approved of course) and now spends most of his time in the gym on the same bouldering problem: climbing up the slide. The slide has small pockets which are perfectly sized for his tiny feet, and he's finally realised that using them is more effective than his previous clamber-up-the-sides-and-grab-for-the-top-immediately approach. I should add that he is also practicing English while doing this: without my prompting, he started singing 'The Itsy-Bitsy Spider' while climbing. Though his rendition sounds more like "The etsy-betsy spider washed in da belk. Down came the rain and washed in da melk."

Today was our second field trip, resulting in the finest in monstrous behavior and the highest level of chin-jutting: The Godfather Jaw. While all the children sat waiting to make cookies, the monster was, of course, standing on the bench. Our director asked him to sit down, foolishly thinking he would respect her authority, only to be met with unflinching eye-contact and the exact same 'No!' the rest of us get. Good job, monster. Good job indeed.

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