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and in the meantime…

Though still many months from the start of our next tour, we’ve started turning our attention towards Rwanda. There are preschools to research, housing options to explore, vaccinations to update, and the most difficult part of any transition – a new job search for S. Munchkin, meanwhile, has settled into a nice groove at daycare. He even asks for his teacher by name every morning. He is still very young, but this will likely be the last transition he won’t remember at all.

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For a couple of months, we had been trying to teach Munchkin his colors, and the work has finally paid off. Not only does he now know his basic colors both in Russian and English, but he has also developed preferences, red being his absolute favorite.

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In fact, he has become a bit of a fashionista. Not only does he demand to wear specific outfits based on their colors, but he also tries to dress us as well. “Papa krastniy,” he’ll say, handing D a red t-shirt and insisting he change out of the one he had already donned. Some days, Munchkin will change outfits multiple times, rooting in his drawers until he finds the color he wants to wear, then demanding an entirely different outfit half an hour later.

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After half a year of being back in the States, there is no question that English has become Munchkin’s primary language. D is still fighting the good fight and speaking to him only in Russian; however, the battle grows more uphill day by day. Whereas Munchkin grasps new English words with relative ease, he rarely incorporates new Russian words into his vocabulary. D has learned that the most effective way to get Munchkin to expand his Russian is to teach him words for things he does not yet know how to say in English.

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While others still struggle to understand Munchkin, we can now pick out entire sentences and complex thoughts in his high-pitched, sing-songy speech. In addition to “I need help,” “thank you,” “I’m sorry,” and various other useful phrases he picked up at daycare, he also learned “I want this” and “I need this” – two toddler phrases that strike fear in the heart of any parent.

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Take this morning, for example. We have one foot out the door when Munchkin makes a beeline for S’s bedside table, digs out her glasses, and exclaims, “I need this!” How do you explain to your two-year-old that he does not, in fact, need his mommy’s glasses to go to daycare? No, seriously: how do you? If you’ve got any tips, please share!

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