(For the record, it's pronounced "ball," with a little "eh" at the end. I have no idea how to spell it in German, but I can say it!)
So: I am 1.5 weeks into nannying for Clara, and I've got to say, it's been a really cool experience. She babbles mostly in German, but she's picking up words in English here and there, and it's so amazing to me that she's learning them FROM me! We still communicate a lot via sign language, and I'm using that as much as I can while speaking to her solely in English. (Though yes, I have picked up a few basic German words as well!)
She's a really sweet girl. She has trouble when I first get there in the mornings, because she knows her mom is going to leave. But after initial tears, she LOVES to snuggle up and read books, go for walks, play with her puppies (two white curly dogs that I honestly can't tell apart even after 1.5 weeks), and color.
She seems to understand about 1/4 of what I'm saying when I direct her to do something. I gotta say, though, girlfriend knows how to clean up, and she does it well! After we're done playing, I'll sign and say, "time to clean up, Clara!" and then I'll sing the Barney clean up song (I apologize if that song is now in your head. It's been in mine for the past week in a half.) And she helps pick up -- it's great.
In addition to nannying for Clara, I have a new standing babysitting job on Saturday nights. It's one little girl who just turned two, and who is trilingual. TRILINGUAL. As in, she speaks damn fluently in THREE LANGUAGES.
I'll pause for a minute while all the rest of us non-trilingual people feel bad about ourselves.
But yeah. This little girl speaks German with her dad, Swedish with her mom, and English with her daycare and me. She's able to switch back and forth completely easily depending on who she's talking to. It's incredible, and I'm picking up words from her too...the only problem is I don't know whether they're in German or in Swedish!
I have to say, this is an entirely new experience for me -- working with foreign-born families. It means different cultures, different interpretations, different routines. But I'm really enjoying it so far :)
One question I have for any of you in the greater Boston area -- do any of you attend classes at Isis? Clara does once a week, and I wanted to hear what others thought of it.