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does anyone have children who get their parents names "the wrong way round"

(25 Posts)
froken Sun 01-Sep-13 20:11:16

My ds has just started saying understandable words, he calls me mamma and dp dad. I speak English to him and dp speaks Swedish. Dp calls me mamma and himself pappa I call dp dad and myself mummy.

I realised that I say dad much more often than mummy and dp says mamma much more often than pappa. It seems odd to talk about ourselves in the 3rd person.

Is this normal for bilingual kids?

Portofino Sun 01-Sep-13 20:16:24

Not quite sure what you are asking? I would just carry on and not fret. My dd mixed up 2 languages quite a lot when tiny. As they grow up they learn to differentiate between the 2. Though even at 9 my dd will still sometimes phrase an English phrase or sentence in the French way. Dh was a mix of daddy and papa, whereas I think I have always been MUMMM!

froken Sun 01-Sep-13 20:20:01

Dp seems upset by it, if ds says dad dp says can you say pappa? Pap-pa! I

NulliusInBlurba Sun 01-Sep-13 20:27:08

Mmm, so the problem is that because you're speaking English to them you want to be called mummy (ie the English word) and your DP speaks Swedish so he 'should' be called pappa (the Swedish word) - but because you refer to each other in your own language, your DS thinks your name (because for a small child mummy/mamma etc is a name not a label) is in the 'wrong language'.

I tend to agree with Portofino that it will sort itself out in the end, and that bilingual kids tend to go down various routes to get there (DD1 for instance said virtually nothing until she was 3, then started speaking quite well in both languages). However, of all the bilingual families I know, they do tend to pick on one single designation for each parent and keep to it in both languages. So maybe if you want to be 'mummy' to your DS, you need to agree with your DP that he calls you mummy even when he's talking Swedish (and vice versa).

It does occur to me now that DD2 calls us mum and dad when we're talking English within the family, but when she goes over to her 'outside world' language of German she calls me mama - that was her decision and she only started doing it at 7 or 8 yo.

NulliusInBlurba Sun 01-Sep-13 20:31:25

Ah, x-post. So the problem is your DP being upset. Why does it worry him? Raising bilingual kids is inevitably a matter of give and take in your attempts to balance out the two languages. Either he accepts that it will take a few more years for your DS to work out the difference between daddy/pappa, or the two of you adopt the strategy I suggested and both use only pappa.

froken Sun 01-Sep-13 20:37:23

That's a good idea to both use pappa and mummy. My mum said that her and my df never used the names mummy and daddy and I called them by their first names till I went to school confused maybe I should just call dp by his name.

We live in Sweden and dp would like Swedish to be the number 1 language I suspect.

Portofino Sun 01-Sep-13 20:38:29

In that case I would refer to him as Pappa, even when you are speaking English. It's like using a name really, isn't it?

Portofino Sun 01-Sep-13 20:42:46

If you live in Sweden, Swedish WILL be the number one language. If he gets it from his dad, the tv, his peers when he starts nursery/ dd was born in England and has 2 English speaking parents but as she got older it is clear that French is the stronger language. Certainly for reading and writing. Speaking I would say 55/45 % or maybe more.

Portofino Sun 01-Sep-13 20:44:14

I actually notice a difference when we are on holiday and she gets English all the time.....

BonaDea Sun 01-Sep-13 21:07:43

Pronouns are difficult for little ones so it makes absolute sense to keep referring to yourselves in the third person in your respective languages. The only tricky bit is dad vs papa and it isn't that hard!

cory Sun 01-Sep-13 23:18:45

Your dp wants to watch it so he doesn't get so hung up on his bilingualism that he takes normal childish linguistic quirks as a slur on his language. Small children call their parents (and each other) all sorts of weird and wonderful things, doesn't mean he won't get his languages sorted in the end.

For the record, my dc use both mamma and mum to me and pappa and dad to dh. Always have done. Nobody cares, nobody worries. They are 13 and 16 and very obviously bilingual.

As Portofino says, if he grows up in Sweden and attends Swedish nursery and school there is no way he will not become a Swedish speaker. It's his English you'll have to sell to him.

JBrd Mon 02-Sep-13 16:05:56

Agree with what the others have suggested, why don't you agree on calling DP 'pappa' in both languages? And you can be 'mummy' in both? Just to keep it simple.
Your DS will most likely start calling you what he wants at one stage anyway, and I also suspect that he will use the Swedish terms, since you live there.
We live in the UK, I speak German with DS, and call DH 'daddy', and DH refers to me as 'mummy'. No problems, even my German-speaking family all understand the respective terms, too.

vikinglights Sat 14-Sep-13 10:15:01

We've chosen to refer to ourselves as mamma and pappa, in both languages to avoid confusion. However the kids do often choose to call me mammy and even occasionally mummy. Dh is always pappa though. We're in norway.

rrreow Wed 18-Sep-13 16:48:19

I am 'mama' and DH is 'daddy' whichever language is being spoken (although thinking about it now, DH does refer to me as 'mummy' actually). For me it's kind of a question of identity I AM mama, I am not mummy if that makes sense. DS always calls me mama (sometimes 'mam' and went through a stage of calling me 'money' grin) and calls DH daddy.

I mix it up wrt referring to myself in the third person or first person.

sashh Mon 30-Sep-13 18:56:49

I agree with using just mummy and papa or whatever. Virtually all the families I know (mon / bi or multi lingual) have different names for grandparents, one set with be grandma and grandad and the other will be nana and poppy or that kind of thing - it just saves confusion.

Artandco Mon 30-Sep-13 19:01:01

Just use the name each wants. So mummy for you and papa for dh. A name is a name and shouldn't really be changed regardless of languages

Driver8 Wed 02-Oct-13 05:37:13

DS (3.5yo) is bilingual in English and Dutch (I'm het Dutch speaker). When DS speaks to DH he calls me mummy and DH daddy, when he speaks to me he calls me mamma and DH pappa. He has done it like this from very early on and is very consistent.

QueenofKelsingra Tue 22-Oct-13 16:36:24

mine are French/English and we had the same issue, DS1 started calling me Maman and DH Daddy as that was what he heard most. originally we decided to use the one relevant to our own language and let the DC decide as they grew but it was upsetting DH as he wanted to be Papa. so we decided to pick one each so we are now Maman and Papa (I found it so cute him calling me Maman I didn't mind giving up Mummy). I asked my parents and closest friend who see him a lot to try and refer to us as Maman and Papa and within a couple of months DS1 was using Papa and had forgotten Daddy. he is nearly 4 now and he understands that other people have mummys and daddys but that he calls his mummy and daddy something different.

Chacha23 Mon 20-Jan-14 13:54:05

interesting, I was wondering about this for when DD starts speaking (only 3 months old now!)

ideally I'd like to be maman and DP daddy, but I think for that to happen I'll have to refer to him as "daddy" when I speak French, and he'll have to refer to me as "maman" when he speaks English. It'll be a bit weird, especially since we always speak English together and are already in the habit of saying "mommy" and "daddy" when we talk to our cats... (no judgement please! blush)

MultipleMama Mon 03-Feb-14 02:41:28

I agree woth others just stick to "mummy" and "pappa" in both languages it's a lot more simple.

DC call me "mama" (English) and they call DH "vava" (German. It's a nm for Vater). It's simple and stops all the confusion. And that's how DH refer to each other when talking with DC.

Skoggy Thu 06-Feb-14 02:03:51

DD1 is getting the hang of it. She knows Mummy and Daddy are also Mamma and Pappa (English / Swedish here too). Mostly we all use the Swedish names but she does often get it correct if she uses English.

The odd one is that if DP and I are in the same room and she just wants one us but doesn't care which one, she just says "Ma-Pa" :D She worked that out herself and I think thats quite useful really.

We are currently in the UK but are planning on moving back to Sweden at some point this or next year.

loopyluna Sun 16-Mar-14 14:59:56

Mine started like this -I was "maman" and DH "daddy". DH loves it and encouraged them to say Daddy despite speaking to him in French.
I hated "maman" so insisted on them saying "mummy".

They all call me mummy/ mum now but often revert to maman when they have friends round. I have never, ever heard them call DH papa though!

NomDeClavier Mon 17-Mar-14 20:34:04

DS never got noticeably confused. I am Mama or Mummy in English and Maman in French, DH is Daddy in English and Papa in French. We always use the appropriate title in the appropriate language, and the appropriate pronunciation of his name. You do need to either refer to yourself in the third person or have someone else do it though.

TheTerribleBaroness Tue 25-Mar-14 15:48:44

DS calls us mummy and daddy at home, but mama and papa when we're out and about. It's all his own doing. grin

MrTumblesBavarianFanbase Tue 25-Mar-14 15:55:30

You could call him Papa when you talk about him if it upsets your DP - after all all English speakers understand Papa... My kids have all used Mummy and Daddy if speaking English and Mama and Papa if speaking German, from very early on (from age 2 at any rate), except for my youngest, who has taken up calling me "Muvver!" in English, but saying "Meine Mama" so sweetly, as if butter wouldn't melt, when speaking German confused grin so it will probably be more natural for the name to change according to the language the child is using eventually...

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