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Thanks to our twins, we are often asked - When did you return from abroad (or a variation of this q)? Earlier, we used to give a lengthy explanation about how they acquired it but now we simply say - Mickey Mouse cartoons and then quickly change the topic.
Like all parents, we got anxious imagining that our kids were late in starting speech. They had always shown comparative speed in their development, probably because when one child would learn something the other would also mimic him and soon do whatever his bro had done. When I told a friend that we were worried about them not yet starting speech, he wisely replied "They seem to be making normal sounds till now and believe me, once they start talking they just don't stop. So stop worrying and enjoy this time."
True to his words, they started speaking and the funny thing was that they started off in Hindi. Both my wife and I converse with each other in English (I'm a Malayalee, she is Assamese) and we continued to converse with the kids in English. However the time they spent with the nanny proved triumphant and hence Hindi was what they started off with.
Play school soon take care of that though. Since the teachers were speaking in English the boys also switched over to the same. To keep pace, the maid also started picking up English. Now she uses phrases like keep calm, don't shout / I give you na, why crying etc...
Around the time they joined play school, we also introduced them to TV and they became big fans of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. We also watched a few episodes and found they were quite excellent. The characters were sweet, they worked as a team and all the episodes were geared to solve problems that Mickey and Co came across. They would define the problem, think through it, choose the best option to implement and then go ahead. We were amazed to see how fast the children picked up the lines and remembered the correct option. Our fingers are still crossed that they have imbibed the problem solving attitude (till now there are no signs they have that attitude).
We learnt one more thing - they seemed to be natural mimics. They completely picked up the accent of Mickey and Co. Initially it took us a few tries to understand what they were saying. The neighbours and relatives were pretty flabbergasted. We had to explain to each of them what had happened. The amazing thing was when they started watching Peppa Pig, they switched to a British accent. By then we had given up explaining to people. The only thing I didn't like is that when people made fun of them by putting on an accent themselves. Poor kids couldn't understand what was so funny so I would stop the person doing that. But we ourselves couldn't stop smiling when they couldn't say Hindi words like 'teda' (they would say tera). It was almost like Lagaan was happening in front of us (agar tum haar gaya to....)
The other day we were at the park and there was a boy speaking with an accent. I almost asked him whether he was from abroad when I stopped myself. Yesterday there was a older girl on the train who was also speaking with a foreign accent but her parents were speaking normally. It did help me pass some time wondering whether they had actually returned from abroad or was the accent another score for the Americanisation movement. I must admit that I eavesdropped quite shamelessly but didn't get a clue. So yeah, I'll blame Mickey Mouse for that one too.