Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Jackson’s First Day of School!

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The long awaited day finally arrived and Jackson started preschool this morning. It’s a Spanish immersion program and he’ll be going two mornings a week (and continue seeing his babysitter the other weekday mornings, giving me five whole mornings to work and get stuff done!). This is the best photo I could get of him before leaving our place this morning. I feel bad because I forgot to wash his backpack (which he’s been using since Christmas; wait, that makes it sound like I haven’t washed it at all since then. I have! I wash it every couple of weeks, but I realized it could have used a fresh wash before I sent him to school and also he wouldn’t let me cut his toenails this morning and if he has to take off his shoes in school today, I hope his teacher doesn’t think me a terrible mom for sending him to school with a dirty backpack AND too-long toenails, oh dear). (Update: It wasn’t the lack of a freshly-cleaned backpack or just-trimmed toenails that gave away my ineptitude in motherhood — it was Jackson’s potty-training status! The teacher said “we need to talk” some time next week. So that’s something to look forward to.) Anyway, this was the best photo I could get. He’s holding his new “Oh, the places you’ll go” water bottle that our friends Mary and Steve gave him to commemorate his first day, and he’s so excited.

The drop-off was easy as I imagined it would be (and now I’m writing this from a nearby coffee shop waiting to pick him up in a bit). Jackson is pretty fearless and very social and has already spent time away from me (he’s been with a part-time nanny three mornings a week since he was four months old). It went so well, in fact, that he couldn’t even be bothered to glance in my direction when I said “adios.” This is him not glancing in my direction:

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The only concern I have is how he will adjust to not understanding like 95% of what is being said since the teacher plans to speak only in Spanish. But, we’re sending him to this program precisely so he will be exposed to another language and hopefully begin picking some of it up (and we hope to learn along with him). I know he’s way too young to appreciate that now. But I hope he doesn’t resent us for it… and I hope the benefits last long enough that one day maybe he will appreciate it.

Oh, the places he’ll go!

42 comments… add one
  • avatar

    RedroverRedrover September 10, 2014, 3:45 pm

    Congrats Jackson! Wendy, I know what you mean, I put my 16-month-old in french immersion and I feel so bad. He’s going to a new place *plus* it’s an unfamiliar language. He’s only been there a week and hopefully he adjusts soon. But hey, if he’s going to be Prime Minister some day, he’s gotta be bilingual!

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  • avatar

    CurlyMomNJ September 10, 2014, 3:48 pm

    I forget exactly how old Jackson is, but my son was born in April 2011. He wasn’t potty-trained (and we did even really start) until about 1-2 weeks before he turned 3. We followed some of the rules for “3 Day Potty-Training”, although at a much slower pace. He still wears pull-ups at night, although he will nap at daycare with his underwear, and hasn’t had any accidents months. Personally (don’t hate on my for saying this, other mommies!), I think that 3 is a good age to start potty-training a boy. I do have some friends who started when their kids just turn 2, and it seems a bit young to me. Anyway, I have the full PDF of “3 Day Potty-Training” guide if you want me to email it to you! Good luck and you are so NOT an inept mom!)

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    • Ika

      Ika September 10, 2014, 3:50 pm

      I potty trained both my kids before 2, and theyve never had an accident. It totally depends on the kid.Granted they re boh girls, so a bit easier.

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      • avatar

        CurlyMomNJ September 10, 2014, 4:13 pm

        Yep, I’ve definitely heard it’s easier to potty-train a girl vs. a boy. I now have a 1yo daughter too, so I’m not sure when we’ll start with her.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy September 10, 2014, 4:24 pm

      Jackson will be 3 in a month, so he’s really about the age he should be close to potty-trained. It’s frustrating that it’s taking so long, especially because he’s smart and I’m like, come on, dude, you can write your name, why can’t you poop on a toilet? But, I guess all kids have their “thing.” His teacher said she’ll share some tips and programs with me, so I’ll see what she says since I;m sure she has way more experience with this than I do.

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      • MaterialsGirl

        MaterialsGirl September 10, 2014, 5:11 pm

        yeah my sister and i were around 2, my brothers were around 3. Just depends I guess. Hopefully seeing the other kids will provide some motivation for him?

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      • avatar

        MW September 10, 2014, 5:22 pm

        My little boy DID NOT WANT to potty train. A week before he was 3 he started in a new classroom at daycare, and they did not do diapers. They would support using the bathroom, clean up and change him when he had accidents and cheer him all the way- but NO DIAPERS! We were a bit worried, but within two days he was potty trained, dry at night and very rarely had an accident. A little peer pressure/ peer example can go a very long way. Good timing too, his brother was born 5 days after his 3rd birthday.

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      • Miel

        Miel September 10, 2014, 8:30 pm

        I agree with this. Actually when I entered daycare at 2 I wasn’t potty-trained. The staff there told my mom I would probably just follow the example of the other kids going on the toilet. And I did! (Or so goes the story. Because I don’t remember being there myself)

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  • Ika

    Ika September 10, 2014, 3:48 pm

    Whenever you need help in spanish just ask! :
    And it is amazing how quckly they pick up a second language! My 3 y o has english 2 afternoons a week at kindy, the teacher only speaks in english, and straight away they all knew a few songs, answer simple questions (Do you want water or juice? for example)And my kid started at kindy barely speaking spanish, so Jackson is miles ahead of her already!

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  • freckles

    freckles September 10, 2014, 3:52 pm

    I think Spanish immersion is an awesome idea! I hope there are programs he can continue to take as he gets older so he doesn’t lose it. And what an advantage when he gets to middle/high school. He will either breeze through Spanish, or be able to take a third language.

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    • freckles

      freckles September 10, 2014, 3:53 pm

      Also, sorry Wendy. Not trying to make the time go by too fast by mentioning him in middle/high school 🙂

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy September 10, 2014, 4:26 pm

      Our neighborhood public school has a dual language program in Spanish starting at pre-k, so the idea and hope is that he’ll go there next year and get into that program with a little bit of a spanish foundation from this year at preschool. Our friends’ son just started it last week and apparently almost half the class is conducted in spanish.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy September 10, 2014, 4:29 pm

        By the way, his preschool also as a mandarin class, which Drew pushed for, but I thought Spanish would be more practical (and I wanted him to have some exposure before potentially starting the dual language program in pre-k).

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      • freckles

        freckles September 10, 2014, 4:59 pm

        That’s great that he’ll be able to continue! I do agree that Spanish will be ridiculously useful, especially in the tri-state area. And I agree with that Spanish is more useful than Mandarin (and easier I imagine!)

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      • Portia

        Portia September 10, 2014, 8:13 pm

        My comments on this as a linguist: giving kids exposure to other languages early (by about 6) gives them a chance to be native speakers of the language. I think of language as a forgetting process rather than a learning process: all the building blocks are in a baby’s head, but whatever they don’t use, they lose. Earlier is better because children start losing the ability to distinguish certain sounds at only a few months, but 6 is about when they’re going to have an accent that makes them distinguishable as non-native. So, kudos to Wendy (and any other parents) who are getting their kids in language early!

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      • Addie Pray

        Addie Pray September 11, 2014, 6:57 am

        Really, I fall in a trance when you talk linguistics to me (even though it’s not to me, you get it). Just don’t ever stop talking! What else!??

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      • avatar

        Sara September 11, 2014, 7:32 am

        I’m a linguist too – I was getting ready to post a linguistic-y response to dual language programs/child age- but I’m glad one is here already! What’s your subfield? Mine is syntax.

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      • Portia

        Portia September 11, 2014, 2:27 pm

        Oh syntax, I was once in that subfield… More specifically, historical syntax (and historical in general). Now I’m in socio and language change, which is like historical in action, right?
        .
        Also, I have to say, I love your wug! I think I mentioned the wug test a while ago and thought I remembered a wug avatar on here, but I couldn’t remember who. Must have been you! 🙂 Have you done child language acquisition of syntax? That stuff’s fascinating!

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      • Portia

        Portia September 11, 2014, 2:28 pm

        And, yay linguists!

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      • avatar

        Matcha September 15, 2014, 7:44 pm

        My boss has a young kid (age 4) who is in a dual Mandarin/Spanish immersion class and it’s amazing. He’s so young but his teacher says he sounds just like a native speaker. At that age, any significant language exposure will give him a huge unattainable leg-up when it comes to acquisition later in life, even if he loses his fluency. I think that these programs are just so cool.

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  • avatar

    HmC September 10, 2014, 4:09 pm

    Love the Spanish immersion idea, Wendy! I speak near fluent Spanish and so does my husband (we both learned by living abroad when we were teens) and we really want our future hypothetical kids to be fluent as well. I read the other day that kids’ brains are less open to languages at around 5 (so young!) so I think this exposure will be invaluable. I also read that it’s good to have separate spaces for different languages to avoid confusion, so maybe Spanish at school, English at home is the best set up?

    Buena suerte a Jackson! 🙂

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  • Addie Pray

    Addie Pray September 10, 2014, 4:12 pm

    have mercy!

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  • mylaray

    mylaray September 10, 2014, 4:15 pm

    That’s so exciting to have immersion preschool. That’s the perfect age to learn another language. I learned English and Russian while I was young and I can’t imagine learning another language now. It’s too hard for me. But I really want my future child to speak Russian too, so we’ll see how that goes. Also, preschool is so nostalgic for me. It was so fun and playful and innocent, and before any homework made school less fun. I hope he enjoys it!

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  • TaraMonster

    TaraMonster September 10, 2014, 3:31 pm

    Spanish immersion is an excellent idea! Do you use Duolingo? It’s a pretty cool app for language learning (some phrases are a little weird, tho. And sometimes I feel like it’s reading my thoughts: Escribe tu libro, it told me last week. Haha.). Actually this morning on the subway I heard some guy using it. I could recognize the little trumpet noise you get when you pass a quiz from a mile away. 🙂

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy September 10, 2014, 3:44 pm

      Ooh, I will have to start using it!

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      • avatar

        Wendy's Sister September 11, 2014, 3:46 pm

        I’ve tried it too and I like it. You can access it both from the web and on your phone. And it’s free!

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    • othy

      othy September 10, 2014, 3:48 pm

      I was going to make this same suggestion! I’ve been using it since January, and I can actually read signs posted in Spanish around town.
      .
      Best part? It’s 100% free.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy September 10, 2014, 4:53 pm

        Just completed my first 5-minute “class”!

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    • avatar

      d2 September 11, 2014, 12:48 am

      Ooh, I didn’t know about DuoLingo – Thanks!

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    • avatar

      MsMisery September 11, 2014, 1:18 pm

      I must be the only person that hates Duolingo. I took 3 years of Spanish in high school and I thought the beginner level was hard/weird. I found myself guessing a lot. I think it focuses too much on vocabulary and skips verb conjugation, but then expects you to automatically know the different verb forms. I deleted it :-\

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      • avatar

        Matcha September 15, 2014, 7:29 pm

        Yeah, I don’t think it should be used as a standalone program. There aren’t any pages where they conveniently lay out grammar so it’s more like immersion. But sometimes I just want someone to explain the why to me. I often end up in the weeds of the discussions and that helps out but I feel that it’s just a supplement.

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  • something random

    something random September 10, 2014, 4:47 pm

    I feel like I’ve met my limits on comments for the day, but I have to chime in say congratulations to Jackson on his first day of preschool! Full immersion programs are so awesome. I wish my kids were in them. Also, great deal on that water bottle!

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  • avatar

    Muffy September 10, 2014, 4:47 pm

    Immersion is absolutely the best idea for kids. I went to French immersion my whole school life and despite not speaking/writing it for like 7 years now I have zero problems with picking it back up. Furthermore, taking a language like spanish (or french) will help him understand a third language with the same roots. I started taking spanish in high school and university and because of my french basis the way verbs are conjugated and the way adjectives/adverbs go in front or behind a word depending on the word just made sense to me in spanish – I won the award and it was an awesome GPA booster to have in university.

    Immersion develops your ear for the language and when you learn it young you will never lose it. It might take a while to be able to have a conversation after years without or you might forget vocab words but that foundation stays with you forever – you will always have it.

    I started French at age 3 until age 18. We did everything in French -gym, art and music classes included as well as field trips. Apparently recess was also supposed to be in French but that never happened.

    Something like this can only help Jackson’s career prospects in the future. Especially with the world going more global. Spanish is absolutely an important language to know.

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    • Ika

      Ika September 10, 2014, 4:59 pm

      Thats how my daughters school works (primary language spanish, english immersion).In kindy its more basic, but my 6 year old in 1st grade already has different subjects in english.

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  • Kate B.

    Kate B. September 10, 2014, 5:09 pm

    I am so non-kid oriented. I read this and the thing that stuck with me is: you have to wash backpacks?

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    • Addie Pray

      Addie Pray September 10, 2014, 5:12 pm

      ha, i thought the same thing! and now i wonder if i have any backpacks of my own i need to wash. i have one nasty one – an old northface backpack from 1997 that is secured with duct tape. it’s never been washed, i’m pretty sure.

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    • Ika

      Ika September 10, 2014, 5:16 pm

      Heck yes. I put them through heavy duty wash regularly and they still look grimy. Granted theye both lightish pink, which doesnt help.

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      • Kate B.

        Kate B. September 10, 2014, 5:55 pm

        Oh man. Now I am afraid to open my backpack.

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    • Kate B.

      Kate B. September 10, 2014, 5:53 pm

      Oh man, now I’m afraid to open my backpack.

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    • avatar

      Jane63 September 10, 2014, 5:58 pm

      I thought the same thing! You don’t just use them for a school year and get a new one? And you have to trim kids’ toenails? Oh, boy. No wonder my grand daughter keeps needing new shoes. And new backpacks.

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      • Ika

        Ika September 10, 2014, 6:06 pm

        I still can´t believe how quickly kids nails grow! I haveto cut my daughters fingernalils at least once a week, and their toenails like evry 2 weeks. Its crazy.

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  • avatar

    d2 September 11, 2014, 12:46 am

    I like the “Places You Go” water bottle. Bonus! With 27 ounces of water for a 3-year old, he’ll be getting lots of practice with the potty thing…

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