Once I survived the first 6 months with my first to-be-bilingual baby, I started to be interested again in doing some exercise.
Before we had our little cherubs my husband and I were fairly serious about mountain biking.
And that, as you can imagine, just went right out of the window.
I must have contemplated it for another 3 months, before I came to a conclusion that I should stop making excuses and if I really couldn’t get on my mountain bike I should just start doing something else.
Some kind of exercise that would make me feel better about myself.
So I started jogging.
Much more practical: not much preparation needed and I could just pop out of the house for half an hour or even take my baby in the fancy sporty pushchair with me.
Done and dusted.
But I was not a great fan of running, I must say. Partly because when I was running, I used to get sore knees.
So I finally pushed myself to start jogging.
Then one day I saw these funny exercise boots called Kangoo jumps in one women’s magazine.
These funky looking rebound shoes were originally developed to help ‘reduce the impact associated with athletic activities while protecting ankles, knees and other parts of the human body’. I was hooked!
As I felt very uncomfortable doing the jogging in trainers, I thought I should give these springy boots a go. Or rather a bounce.
My husband found the Kangoo jumps on the internet and ordered them for me.
At the time they must have been around £180 or something like that. So I had to promise him that they were not gonna spent too much time in the back of my wardrobe if he had to pay that kind of money for the pair.
I started jogging in them as soon as they arrived. They were amazing!
They were different.
No knee pain, enhanced body exercise and lots of fun!
When I jog, some movements remind me of cross country skiing.
Boy, how I love skiing!
The only downside was that they obviously look different than just a normal pair of trainers. They look more like a pair of chunky ski boots.
You can imagine what looks I was getting doing my half an hour lap just around the block. The people I was passing by looked very entertained or puzzled, probably thinking:
‘Who is this weirdo? What freaking thing is this woman wearing, she looks like a giant…’
But it didn’t put me off even if I am, in a way, a very shy person. I had my half an hour of well-deserved sanity and that mattered to me.
On I went, putting a smile on kid’s faces, they were shouting at me that I looked like Tigger and where did I buy them…. But I just whizzed by with smile on my face and carried on day after day.
Talking to your bilingual children in your native language when you’re out and about or in public and everyone else speaks English or a different majority language might feel a little bit like when I went out jogging in the Kangoo jumps and people were looking or making funny comments.
But you just have to ignore them and get on with it if you want your kids to learn.
What, when, where you speak to your bilingual children it’s really no one else’s business.
When you are out and about and people around you are talking to their non-bilingual children in whatever language, you don’t listen to every conversation in the playground. It would be rude, if you did, wouldn’t it?
You mind your own business and so should others.
I have always spoken to my bilingual children my native language even in public quite rigorously.
Your friends will understand it, even the ones that know nothing about language learning will get it if you share with them your friendly insight.
The clever ones will understand it and the ignorant ones? Well, they will at least get an opportunity to learn something new and grow.
Rest assured, you are really doing everyone a favour.
So, keep calm and be yourself – stay bilingual!