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About This Blog

This blog is for anyone interested in raising their children in a foreign language--meaning a language which neither of the parents speak natively.
We have used the approach where both parents speak the target foreign language (in our case, German) to the children. Neither of us is a native German speaker, yet we have spoken German in our home for the past 20 years and have 8 German speaking children. In this blog, we hope to share our successes, our lessons learned and a few of the insights that we've gained along the way.

Lullabies and Nursery Rhymes

When our first child, Benjamin, was born, I was really at a loss as to how to talk to or interact with a baby in German. I wanted to be able to sing German lullabies, but I didn't know any. I had grown up in an English speaking household and my mother had only sung English lullabies to me and my siblings. Even though it seemed strange to sing to my baby in a foreign language, I had decided that I was going to go ahead with our little "German experiment" no matter what, so I started looking for German lullabies to learn. This was before the internet, so I went to the library and checked out German song books. I took them home and, because we were poor college students and didn't own a piano, I played the melody of each lullaby on my recorder and worked on memorizing the words. I would sit in my recliner, as I nursed my little baby, holding the lullaby sheet music and sing my newly learned songs.

I had the same problem with nursery rhymes. As a mommy, I wanted to do little rhymes like: "This little piggy went to market", as I washed his little feet. So, once again, I hit the library and the college bookstore, looking for any material I could use. I collected all the little nursery rhymes and practiced them at home with my sweet little baby.

Looking back, I remember everything feeling so foreign and unnatural as I learned my new lullabies. I had never heard them sung and they didn't have that familiar feel. But, now over 20 years later, those very same lullabies are my children's most precious German memories. They love that they have their very own special lullabies. These lullabies and nursery rhymes are what set our family apart from the others. These are "our" songs and our rhymes and they are very special to us.


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