Born to an American mother and Nigerian father living in South Korea, the reality that I am bringing up a third culture kid has hit me. Let’s back track.
A few evenings ago, I thought my ears wear playing tricks on me, when I heard my nine-month old say, “Omma” which is mama in Korean (엄마). Then, she kept saying it yesterday evening when her father was holding her, “Omma, Omma, Omma” and he goes, “Really, you’re speaking Korean.”
Yep, she was asking for me in neither her father’s native language or mine. How can this be?
Well, exactly a month ago she started going to daycare for a few hours a day. While her teacher speaks some English, obviously the language she hears while there is Korean. When I arrive to pick her up, they always announce that I’m there by saying, “Amira, 엄마 는 여기”, which is “Here’s Mama.”
Right after she started going to daycare, I noticed that the frequency she called me “Mama” was significantly reduced and I was a bit bothered because what mother doesn’t love hearing her baby call her those sweet words, especially when it was her first word of intention.
But then, the music to my ears returned.
Today, she was saying both “Omma” and “Mama” and I’m okay with it. It is only natural for her to pick up the language since we live here and the fact is she will be multilingual. Are you a parent of a third culture baby? If so, how many languages does your little one hear on a daily basis and can understand?