I’m excited that my Quartz essay on bilingual parenting was picked up by social channels of The Atlantic, The New York Times (The Upshot), National Geographic, Vox, KQED, Flipboard and Pocket Top 10 and government and educational organizations, including Harvard and Stanford, in the past week.
Unfortunately, there seem to be some misconceptions, so I’d like to address them:
Yes, many parents are lucky to raise bilingual/trilingual kids with less effort. That’s indeed wonderful. While this has been my experience, the process is as unique as each family member’s language ability and environment.
- Yes, bilingualism has lots of cognitive advantages, too many to list in a short article. It does not cause speech delays, confusion, retardation, measles or rubella.
- Yes, unfortunately, this is a particularly American situation, as much of the world outside the U.S. nurtures multilingualism.
In addition to the positive feedback from educators and folks who are in the same boat, it’s been interesting to read some personal comments and messages, calling me a lazy, bad parent and a dumb American (with jabs at my kid).
I encourage anyone interested to check out the work of the wonderful experts that were generous enough to speak to me during the preparation of this article, as well as the resources linked in the piece. I hope parents keep exposing their kids to many cultures and languages and don’t lose the link to their roots, despite the struggles. And that they don’t feel alone doing it.
This reported essay was published in Quartz on Aug. 13, 2017.
Note: There are many unique approaches to bilingualism that may or may not work for different multicultural families living in the U.S. This is just one of them.
“What’s that music?” my three-year-old asked as we listened to a song in a foreign language last December.
Could my toddler be showing an interest in her Russian heritage? Maybe this would be a chance to tell her about the revered winter holidays of my childhood in St. Petersburg, Russia—calling up images of the falling snow as schoolgirls in black-brown uniforms and giant bows in their hair sang carols about solidarity…
For the complete article, click here.
This essay was originally published by Brit + Co, titled “How an Internet Ad for Rebound Friends Saved Me after a Breakup” on May 3, 2017. It is set in 2005.
Waiting inside Tasti D-Lite that afternoon, Divya looked nothing like a cult follower or an aging Hello Kitty devotee. In fact, her very normalcy was alarming, given that we’d met on Craigslist.
A decidedly trivial thing was to blame for our meeting. Just a few weeks prior, a cab ushered me across the Hudson River a liberated woman who, for the first time in her life, was about to live on her own. That’s when the trivial thing appeared. It nodded a solemn hello on the Manhattan side of the Lincoln Tunnel. It made itself comfortable in my cab loaded with two suitcases, a couple of overstuffed shopping bags, a printer, and a new twin-size sheet set. It squeezed through the closing elevator doors and slipped into my temporary studio apartment. That thing was silence.
“Alright,” I finally said to the silence. “What do you want?”
“Oh, nothing,” the silence indicated. “Nothing at all.”
This essay was originally published by Brit+Co on April 3, 2017. It was republished by Business Insider.
My New York obsession began in childhood, before I could even speak English. All it took was a giant monkey ascending a glowing skyscraper, in a movie theater in Leningrad. I bolted outside and had nightmares for weeks afterwards. But I returned later, to see the movie, King Kong, all the way through: not for the plot, but to be whisked away into the land of glass and steel, so different than the Soviet Union on the verge of collapse.
A version of this essay was originally published in ScaryMommy.com on Feb. 25, 2017
I see you, Mama, pacing from room to room, recalling what still needs to be packed for tomorrow. You pause by the sleeping baby’s crib, in awe of his eyelashes and his measured breathing, unsuspecting that tomorrow someone else will be reading him his favorite bunny story and putting him down for nap time.
You try to cook as much as possible to prepare for your upcoming 11-hour, perhaps 12-hour, absences. You bought a crockpot and bookmarked recipes online; you stocked up on groceries as if Armageddon is fast approaching, and now your freezer door won’t close.
Look, I know what you’re thinking: who in their right mind would apply makeup in a moving vehicle? It’s dangerous, plus people think car makeup looks like the aftermath of a baby playing with a tube of red lipstick.
Car makeup is something I admit to doing only once in a while, and only when vehicle is stationary. Sure, I wish I could be like those 20 year old YouTube superstars, who baste themselves with 180 eyeshadow colors using 35 eye makeup brushes for an hour, before moving on to contouring.
Life with two small children shortens the daily beauty ritual. Multitasking is key. So, um, hey guys, here are some tips.
Let’s face it, most of us have been there one way or another – because not everybody spends a day in February with Godiva chocolates and overpriced balloons.
1. Robert signed a Valentine’s Day card for Clarissa with a tentative “Love, Robert,” which forced them to confront the inauthenticity of their feelings, whereupon they broke up.
2. Jared flew across the county for a romantic weekend rendez vous with his long distance girlfriend, only to find her sick with the flu, the situation quickly deescalating from raunchy to viral.
The other day, I came across some pretty amusing things my former college students wrote in essays, informal reading responses and the “Here’s what happened to me/my homework” emails. And though I don’t like to admit it, I’ve written stuff like that too – even beyond college. Haven’t most of us?
1. She glared at me with her frightful open eyes, popped out.
2. Hearing [Alice Walker] talk about the small shit she worries about makes me think about the small shit I worry about, which makes me think I really need a cigarette.
3. In the midst of California’s prospering “Silicon Valley,” my adolescent purgatory stood like a fading ghost of post-war optimism.
4. In Russia, party without vodka and herring is not a party.
This essay was originally published by Kveller.com on Dec. 29, 2016.
I never thought I’d miss Russian food, the unassuming cuisine of my birthplace. I was self-conscious about Russian salads, for instance, referring to boiled and chopped root vegetables loaded with mayonnaise, not microgreens. Traditional Russian recipes use just one kind of cheese, called cheese. Growing up as an immigrant kid in the United States, it’s awkward having to always explain that sour cream really does make everything better, that Herring under a Fur Coat isn’t furry, that the jiggly meat jelly is no weirder than the processed American chicken tender.
Read more here.