18 April 2009

your useful phrases

Okay, bloggerville--chime in.

My Russian teacher (who has been too busy for Russian lessons for, oh, the last two years but who would have been incredibly hurt and insulted if I'd found another teacher--the mention of "Rosetta Stone" had her huffy for weeks) has graciously conceded that I *am* in a rather urgent language situation. And, she's even decided to stop teaching me to learn Russian and instead help me to learn Russian phrases. (I told her I need to know how to issue commands in Russian--a whole 'nother case-and she finally agreed.) There is a huge distinction. I'd still love to learn Russian. But, I'm happy she's willing to shift gears.

So, if you're an AP, especially of a 4-6 year-old, what were your most useful Russian phrases? If you're not, what do you find yourself saying to your three or four-year-old over and over? And what am I going to say when I meet her? I hate to rely on a translator for that first meeting. I think we need to color. And look at books of animals. I'm good with animals, toys and colors. And dolls--I can play babies in any language.

Surprisingly, I came up with a lot of useful parenting phrases which include:

It's okay.
It's not scary.
Well done!
Let's go. Quickly.
Come here. Quickly.
Let's walk.
Be careful.
That's forbidden.
I said...
What did I say?
Do you want...
Do you have...
What is that?
Hold my hand.
Sit down.
Be quiet.
Stay here.
This is not a joke.
I'm serious.
Very interesting.
You need to sleep.
You are tired.
You are very tired.
Mommy is very tired.
You are a dear, sweet, beautiful girl.
I love you, ________. (with various endearments)

I'm making a list of things I don't know but think I'll need:

Be gentle.
Leave the cat alone.
We don't hit.
We don't kick.
We don't spit.
We don't scratch.
We don't bite.
You must obey Mommy.

eta: Flush.
Wash your hands.
Don't touch.

That's as far as I've gotten. I know there are more for both lists.

Wanna help? PLEASE?

eta: You guys are great! Even when there are suggestions that are things that I know (my Russian vocabulary is much more extensive than what I've written here), it reassures me and reminds me that I can, actually, SPEAK. And, as I've found visiting my orphanage kiddos, children are much easier to speak to than adults are! I know it will wreak havoc with your reader feeds, but I think I'm going to keep updating this list as suggestions come in so that I have them all on one page. Целоваю--Kisses/I kiss you!


Debbie said...

Wipe, Flush, Wash your hands!
Don't touch
That could hurt you
Don't drink the bathwater
Excuse me (when burping or other)
I'm sorry, Mama

Otherwise your list is pretty much our vocabulary for the last three months! And Nathan has been GREAT with the cat (somewhat surprisingly)...

Suz said...

don't forget the do you need to potty questions.

do you need more?

are you all through?

J. said...

I have a copy of Russian Adoption phrases that are excellent. I'll scan and email them to you. You've about coved most of them in your list, and almost all are in this mimi book I have...

J. said...

Oh yeah, the one we use/used most: "PLEASE DON'T TOUCH".

As for the first meeting - don't sweat it. From my experience, the child will be happy to have someone's undivided attention, and not have to share what she has/is doing with 12 other kids, so simple stuff like coloring, a barbie doll & clothes, crafty stuff is great. Play jewelry for girls is great - it's something they don't have in the orphanage, and something all girls love.

Unknown said...

I am not yet an AP, however I found the Teresa Keheller Russian language CD for adoption very helpful...it has given us enough to communicate with Anya, and buy things...and the book is a good "cheat sheet" to keep with us (lots of pictures, big words, info easy to find)


kate said...

lol-suz, I've got the toilet questions DOWN both in the general and in the specific. Changing the emphasis on the syllable changes the Russian word, "to read" to what my Russian teacher always calls, "the pee pee word". I've been worried for years that when I say I like to read that I'm saying something completely different! I can ask and tell when things are finished, too. (You're making me feel more and more prepared.)

I thought, "Don't touch.", but forgot to write it down. Thanks!

I think I have the list from an old adoption.com post somewhere...but their pronunciation is poor--and there's no cyrillic. I was going to have a look at it AFTER I'd asked for stories from the trenches.

I'd be glad to have another copy of it!

And, Debbie, I'm still laughing about the bathwater. ;>

kate said...

Kathy, I'm a good shopper and my "survival Russian" is strong. I'm just looking for those extra parenting phrases for now. I've heard good things about the Keller tapes but think I'll stick with my Russian teacher. She's good, too. ;>

Jennifer said...

I have a 4-year-old boy and these are common phrases in our house. Most of them should apply for a girl:

No running.
Stop or freeze.
What would you like for breakfast/lunch/dinner?
No more TV or that's enough TV for today.
What hurts or what did you hurt?
We only throw rocks into water.
We don't throw balls in the house.
Please ask before you pet that dog.
It's your turn or it's my/Mommy's turn.
Please share.

I am sure I will think of lots more and I will pay more attention to what I am saying. Having these phrases down will help you immensely!

julian said...

I said "Gentle" and "Gentle Hands" a bunch. I used it and would stop the rough hands by taking them into my hands and softly stroking them on my face saying it in a soft voice. AgustRose's first word was Gentle. (I never used Russian)
The only other phrase that worked and still does work is "next time."
It solved everything. Can I have this? Can we go there? Can we do this? It is still always next time.

when asking where we are going, I always say "Out and About"
That pretty much wraps up anywhere we can go. (bank, grocery, oil changes, playground.) So now if I say it the girls are happy to go!

julian said...

Oh and I never told the girls not to touch things. In the fanciest of stores, grocery stores, I went with "Gentle Hands" and Anna at 14 months, and August at 18 months learned so quickly how to be Out and About.
People cringe when they see us in the glass sections of any stores, but my girls have this down. They have never once knocked things down, or grabbed off shelves. This keeps your friends homes when you visit. They learn quite easily to look carefully with their eyes, and touch gently with their hands.

beckyww said...

"Dah" and "nyet" and "Ya ta da le blue" - all handy!

You'll be surprised how much you'll do with facial expressions and hand signals.

Don't stress about it.

traceylynndel said...

Our daughter was a bit younger and has Down syndrome but we used words like Nilzah and Ne plach, good night, time for nap, names of body parts, and eat. Names of body parts were fun for singing head and shoulders knees and toes. There is a Russian version and Katya knew it even though she was non verbal.

Lindsay said...

Stuff we use a lot (in Slovak and/or English):

Danger, danger. (Covers all situations whether running towards the stairs, touching power sockets, power cables, hot coffee etc. One phrase for everything is much simpler for everyone. It's also what my family use, so we have total consistency.)

Good girl.
Well done.
Don't be scared/frightened
Sit down.
Do you want to... play/ draw/read/paint etc.
Go to park?
Do you need potty/toilet?
Are you hungry/thirsty?
Your safe/Mama's here.
My baby girl.
I'm your Mama or 'Child's name' Mama (this is one of Hannah's favourites: 'Moje maminka' is something she says a lot these days)
Sleep/time to sleep? Are you tired?
Mama carry you (as a question or a statement).
What's wrong?
What are you doing?
Shall I help?
Let mama help you.
Mama's in charge (not as a bossy statement, more a reassurance).
Mama always come back/Mama never leave you.
Let's hug/cuddle.
Let's kiss/kiss me.
Mama kiss it better (for 'owies'.)
Bath time stinky (ok, 'stinky' is optional :) )
Brush your teeth.
Mama wash your hair/face etc now (I found Hannah did like the reassurance of knowing what was coming as she was so stressed by skin contact.)

Also, have you thought of combining verbal language with signing? Baby sign language was great for us and all studies now indicate it enhances language acquistion rather than restraining it.

Anonymous said...

"That's enough" is a good all-purpose phrase - for eating, behaviour, you name it. Along with the usual food-related things, like are you hungry/thirsty, are you full, do you like that. Also, this would really depend on the child's background, but for issues around food and eating I found it helpful to know how to reassure that there will always be lots of food, always be lots of water, etc. Lindsay's list has a lot of other good 'reassurance' type phrases.

Then there's the "safety" words - like come, stay here, stop, don't move. Also "stay with me" or "stay by me" for when you are out in public. And all the praise words/phrases of course, like smart, clever, good job, well done, excellent.

good luck!!

Holly said...

Use your words. I must say that ten times a day. Grace's first instinct is start whining/crying when she wants something. She's younger, but I've used this phrase while teaching kindergarten too, when a child gets overly emotional and sometimes forgets that they can say it, not scream it.

Inside voice is a wonderful thing, too.

InventingLiz said...

I remember hearing or reading somewhere from an AP that "I love you" isn't enough - that "I love you forever and ever, no matter what you do" is better for covering all the scenarios an adoptive child might be afraid of.

votemom said...

"i will be right back"
" i will always be your momma"
" stay here with me"
"do not run"
"time for a bath"
"close your eyes"
"close your mouth"
"time to go"
"say please"
"say thank you"
"i love you" (tho my girls didn't understand this - i don't think they'd heard it??)
"you are so smart!"
"you are precious to me"
"i am thankful for you"
"i am glad God made you"
"stay together"
"this is our friend"

votemom said...

oh and btw, i think you should learn to say "it's ok to be afraid, but i am here with you."

i also learned to say 'don't cry', then realized i didn't want to say that to them. they should feel very free to cry as they sort out all their grief and loss and fears.

Maura said...

Great lists. I would add:

Use soft voice
Stop or freeze
Wait for Mama
Hold Mama's hand
Let me look into your beautiful eyes (great for building eye contact)
I am your Mama forever
This is for you/you keep this

Annie said...

That's dangerous! (Used FREQUENTLY!) and as The Holmes Crew said, "Please don't touch!"

Drink the BATH WATER??? It took me months before I could get Sergei to drink tap water - he thought it had "microbies".

Did you include, "Please put that away." Very useful.

Could you SNEAK a little Rosetta Stone?

Rachael said...

Things that I needed to learn that I didn't already have in my armory:

Be careful! (used that ALL the time, once I looked it up -- my girl was/is a daredevil! I was SURE she was going to break a limb and they wouldn't let me leave Russia with her!)

Also, the first time we were alone and we had to use a public restroom together and I was afraid she'd leave her stall before I got out of mine, but she didn't want to come in with me. I was able to piece together "wait here, please, I'll be done quickly." It worked, she was right outside my stall.

Oh my goodness, how she laughed at some of the stuff I said to her. When we were in Moscow, playing with Tamara's kids she told them that her mother has terrible grammar! Once I asked her "tee gar-ee-achee?" For "are you hot?" And she rolled her eyes and corrected me, very exasperated, "mama! jhardka, munyeh!" No one ever told me that the "hot" you use for water is not the same as you use for body temperature! lol. But, hey, at least she understood me!

Another fave that Tamara taught me: "pah-YEH-ha-lee" which roughly translates as "burn rubber" and is useful when hurry up, or quickly please is not getting the message across to a little dawdler.

How exciting for you to be down to the wire and learning the REALLY USEFUL kid lingo!

McMary said...

Simple language--Russian for adoptive families can be found at www.adoptlanguage.com
It is just a little book with useful phrases for adoptive parents.--they are written in English, Cyrillic, and phonetically for pronunciation.

Lauri said...

Your list looks great

I have to second using sign language we started when we first came home, Livi was only 16 months and I would sign the word and say it. Livi signed only and then dropped the signing once she learned to speak the word. It worked wonders for us... even subtle signs like wait, stop or patience are still helping us in public.

Kay B said...

You have so many good recommendations already. One I learned quickly was 'Hold my hand" I did not want her running off in the middle of the airport or in a strange city while we travelled home. It continued to be useful once home and out shopping and such.

Andrea said...

I use "wait" a lot when Jessie's girl is about to bolt ahead. "Watch me" or "look at me" are Jessie's own favourites; Little A listens much more attentively when she is also looking right at her mama, rather than hearing intructions shouted at the back of her head :P

Elle said...

The phrases that I still say in Russian are "everything is ok," "don't cry," "no," and "come here." Although my phrasing of come here is much like you would call a dog in Russian. Crude, but it works. We also used "that is not a toy" over and over again.

Sarah D said...

Hi! Were adopting from St. Pete too. I just bought a book/cd set on amazon.com called "Russian for Adoptive Families" It is geared towards older kids and has basic communication phrases between a parent and child. I haven't gotten it yet but it looks really cool and I can't wait to try it out!

Suzanne said...

I still use:
Don't touch.
Quiet now.

And sign language for: