Language Challenge 180: Week 1 Giveaway

by Corey · 53 comments

Multilingual Living is delighted to announce its first Language Challenge 180 giveaway prize! This giveaway will only be open for 7 days, so enter today!

It was sheer delight when I got my hands on the book How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm: And Other Adventures in Parenting! With all of the discussions that go on over at the Multilingual Living Facebook page about different parenting styles around the world, I couldn’t wait to read a book all about this topic.

The author, Mei-Ling Hopgood, does a delightful job of weaving together both her personal anxieties of being a new mother and her observations of cultural parenting idiosyncrasies: When parents in the US go to such lengths to make sure their children go to bed at the same time each night (even if it means leaving before the party really gets started) parents in Argentina are dancing the night away with their babes in arms. Aren’t regular bedtimes essential? While French children seem to eat everything on their plate, children elsewhere throw tantrums when the word “vegetables” escapes a parent’s lips. There is clearly something to learn here!

Hopgood resists making overarching judgments, despite her own cultural assumptions. Instead she shares research studies and provides us with answers that she receives from experts around the world. Ultimately, she shows us that global parenting styles are different for a variety of very good reasons, all of which make perfect sense in the cultures in which they are found. Parenting isn’t a perfect science; it is a cultural undertaking with global proportions.

We are delighted to have the publisher of this book, Algonquin, as a sponsor of Language Challenge 180. You can find How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm: And Other Adventures in Parenting, as well as a number of other fantastic books, at their website.

How to Enter the Giveaway…

Only those who are signed up for Language Challenge 180 and have checked in this week are eligible to enter this giveaway!

  • To enter this giveaway, all you need to do is to leave a comment below telling us something interesting, funny, annoying, silly, fascinating or wonderful about parenting styles in either your native culture(s) or the culture where you are living now!


The winner will be chosen at random using’s sequence generator.

Important Details

This giveaway will close at 10:00 pm PST on Thursday, March 15, 2012.

Make sure to read the Multilingual Living Giveaway Rules!

Hope you enjoy this giveaway! Thank you for all of your support for Multilingual Living!


1 AUDREY ANTOINE-HART March 9, 2012 at 2:43 am

One of my pet hates are hearing parents swearing at their kids in English, there was an example of this on the tv show coach trip this week but I don’t seem to mind hearing swearing in other languages just not directed at kids.

2 Ebru Tuna-Nichols March 9, 2012 at 3:02 am

While checking out one of the websites which was recommended by another 180 day challenge participant, I got really excited as they had the types of book I wanted to have for my children but soon I got disappointed as they would not post to overseas.

Same day, when I was clearing my older son’s bookshelf (everything was jumbled up, all turkish and english books mixed up, his school works, etc.), what did I found ?? The books which I saw on the website ! My parents must have brought them last year and with the excitement of too many new stuff, they were just left under another huge pile of books.

Now the books are sitting on our dining table, and every day after dinner (and play time), to initiate the start of the ” quiet time”, I ask my children each to choose a book from that pile for me to read it to them. It has been working great so far !

3 Maria Iskenderoglu March 9, 2012 at 3:14 am

I am an American and my Turkish husband and I never argued until our daughter was born. Now that she is in first grade, I’m concerned about the amount of homework she has and feel it is important for her to get her sleep. My husband is more concerned about her getting her work done for the next day.
Another issue that has not been so important now that our daughter is older is the fact that Turks love to make sure their children are dressed warmly. There is the atlet, undershirt, overshirt, school uniform, and then sweater or vest. Drives me crazy. She is plenty warm and in fact, too warm like this.
Despite this dressing issue, I drove past my daughter’s school to my work the other week, when it was -6 Celcius and saw my child, along with many others without their coats, all playing in the snow. I mentioned this to my fellow expat mother friends and they all laughed and made fun of the over dressed issue and yet the kids are outside without their coats.
These are just two out of many differences my husband and I have over raising our child. We have had to learn to communicate with each other and decide at which point we really want to be insistent. Life can be tough, but never more so when we are both sure that our way is in the best interest of our daughter.

4 Linda M March 9, 2012 at 3:34 am

I don’t know if this is purely Norwegian thing (at the very least it probably applies to all the Nordic countries) but compared to the only other culture I’ve lived in (England) it’s become apparent that we expect our kids to spend a lot of time outside no matter what the weather is like. When Nic (now 9) attended a nursery in England I was shocked to find that they could go a whole day without playing outside. This was normally if it rained or if it was quite windy. In Norway I don’t care if there’s a blizzard the kids are at least going out for 15 minutes to get some fresh air. And we also let babies sleep outside in their little prams, unless it drops to under -10 degrees Celsius.

5 Daria March 9, 2012 at 3:43 am

We are Polish and Egyptian living in Uk so there are lots of issues but generally I am ‘the tough one’ and he is the ‘soft one’ when comes to dealing with children. We hope our two boys ( or maybe more than just two in the future? 😉 will be trilingual ….. parenting skills? nobody is born with it so we are learning along, not too pushy and overloading them ….. just want them to be happy- that’s all really…. something annoying when dealing with Polish parents is how wonderful, extraordinary and talented their children are , starting from potty training (‘of course she was 7MONTHS when she was completely potty trained!’ to ‘he can subtracts, write essays and is generally genius’ …. and when finally met , all those children seem to be normal 2-3-4 year olds with no sign of genius in them ;))….. parents!!!! RELAX,please!!!! they are just children!!!! dont expect too much from them and let them be! ;)))))))) …. just want my children to be ‘children’ … :)))))

6 Mary Kay March 9, 2012 at 3:53 am

I took out the one book in Bambara we have and placed it in the livingroom. Sabou found it the other night and immediately asked me to read it to her. “Mommy, Book.” I would read a word at a time and she would repeat. It was so cute. She’s already getting into the swing of LC 180.

One thing I’ve noticed, is that she is now using “owo” (yes) and “ayi” (no) more frequently, although, she seems to be confusing Ayi (no) with Aqui (here in Spanish). So, when she wants to show me where something is she says, “Mommy, Ayi! Ayi!” while pointing at where the item is.

Learning three languages at the same time can be entertaining for sure.

7 Justine Ickes March 9, 2012 at 4:30 am

I loved reading all these comments! It was especially interesting to read Maria I’s comments about how Turks overdress their kids…well, overdress from my American perspective. Another my Turkish husband and I disagree on is what causes someone to catch a cold. He seems to believe that a very cold glass of water or ice cream can has resulted in my kids or hit getting a sore throat. We also struggle with coming to compromise about how much I require or kids to help around the house. he’s the more per issive parent while I’m the “mean mommy” — according to my kids — who requires that they clear up the table after dinner, hang up their coats, etc. I think my kids first word in Turkish was “tamam” (“okay”) because that’s what their dad says to them all the time. LOL

8 Zsofia March 9, 2012 at 5:00 am

I live in the States. Most children are sent off to preschool at the age of three. I am unusual in that I am choosing to not pay for something I can do myself.

9 Anna Puryear March 9, 2012 at 5:11 am

I really don’t like that in my neck of the woods if a child is crying because something is taken away or they are in trouble everyone looks at you like you’re a crazy parent. Why is your child crying? Sometimes, our kids cry because they didn’t get their way and that is ok,

10 Andrea Sansone March 9, 2012 at 5:23 am

I am American and live with an Italian Family in Palermo, Italy. I am always surprised by the comments from my husband’s family that we must bundle up our son otherwise he will catch a cold, get the flu etc by rush of cold air. I am amazed that this idea continues to circulate. Does Southern Italy not know that only bacteria and virus transmit colds and not cold air? One can take one’s small child on a motor scooter (not dangerous) but that child must be buddled up. 🙂 I acutally find the entire conversation funny- and yes I do allow my family to bundle my four year old up. Southern Italian Moms- if you don’t believe me you may believe Harvard Medicine.

11 Amy March 9, 2012 at 5:32 am

One thing I love about living overseas is that you don’t have to go to a restaurant that is “officially” kid-friendly in order to get nice kid-friendly service. That’s true in Honduras, where I live – no one will EVER shoot you the evil eye for bringing a kid into an “adult” restaurant, and especially in Italy, where my husband is from. They hardly ever had a high chair in a restaurant in Italy, but they were always happy to make some plain pasta, and oo-ed and coo-ed over our kids when they were babies. On the other hand, in Seattle we were once turned away from a totally empty restaurant (on the pretext that it was all reserved) because we tried to get a table with our (non-disruptive) kids along.

12 Eduardo Moreno March 13, 2012 at 7:46 am

“Kid-friendly” restaurants are the alienest of concepts in Korea. When I lived in the UK, I would see the point, because some kids are somewhat rough there. But, honestly, that’s not enough excuse to discriminate against little people. I wonder if restaurants are actually allowed to refuse anyone from entering without a solid reason for it, which was your case in Seattle.

13 Dianne March 9, 2012 at 5:37 am

I think there is a funny quota here in the U.S. on how many kids to have. If you have 0 – 2 kids, everyone keeps asking when are you going to have another. Then when you reach three or four….well, it changes to wow, you have your hands full. Then at 5 and above…the comments are hilarious!!

14 Cynthia H March 9, 2012 at 6:40 am

My Belgian grandmother used to brag that my father could peel a peach with a knife and fork when he was 3 years old. There was a big focus on table manners when I was in Belgium as a child, and my sister and I were given exhaustive lessons after my grandfather stomped away from the table when we American children ate like “Barbarians”. My father says he never ate a peach with a knife and fork in his life.

15 Crystal Farmer March 9, 2012 at 7:15 am

I am a black American married to a white American. I breastfed my newborn for the first five months. When my mom would visit, she would leave me alone with the baby. When my mother-in-law visited, she would sit and talk to me like normal. Not sure if that is cultural or just their personalities!

16 Dimitra March 9, 2012 at 7:29 am

I love that in Greek families they carry on the cultural tradition of cooking together and passing on recipes down generations. My mum was taught by both my granparents and my dads cousin and they were passed down to me and I have childhood memories of all the women in our family together in the kitchen helping out and telling eachother strories and now I have fun teaching my daughter to cook healthy meals whilst teaching her Greek and maths and I hope shell have some great memories of us having fun cooking too (“,)

17 Heather March 9, 2012 at 7:49 am

Both my kids were born in Japan, and people there seemed to love babies. Apparently it isn’t a big deal to just go over and pick up someone else’s baby to hold. Many times when we were out and about, a person (man or woman, it didn’t matter) would come over and motion to pick up the baby. Sometimes they would even walk away with the baby across a restaurant and show him off to their friends. If this had happened in the States, I would have thought it very strange. But it was the norm in Japan and I enjoyed all the attention my little boys received.

18 JenneferJ March 9, 2012 at 7:58 am

We see lots of kids from different countries when we go to the park. I am amazed at how similar the word ‘Mom’ is in all the different languages. Even though I don’t know half the languages I hear, it seems that ‘Mom’ is everywhere.

19 Eduardo Moreno March 13, 2012 at 7:36 am

In Korean too. It’s “Omma”

20 Amanda March 9, 2012 at 8:34 am

I find it interesting in today’s global word that many parents in the USA want to teach and raise their children another language, but do not know where to start or are discouraged to do so.

21 Lilliana Gonzalez March 9, 2012 at 8:56 am

Although born and raised in the USA I have very close family ties in Mexico and my parents raised me with a very traditional Mexican culture which is sometimes in STARK contrast to the US culture. Sleepovers? Why would your child go to someone else’s house who is not a relative and stay overnight? Gym is not standard in public school there so the thought of wearing little shorts to gym class in school or a tennis skirt to play the sport was appalling… seemed ridiculous to me until I defied them and wore gym shorts on a public bus in Monterrey only to experience first-hand WHY girls don’t run around in shorts at school or afterwards.

22 Karolena March 9, 2012 at 9:03 am

While my own child is not near this stage, as a preschool teacher and having friends with preschool age kids, I have had quite a few conversations about potty training recently. It’s interesting to discuss the various ideas just within my own circle of friends – from “boot camp” – throw away all the diapers at once and just let the kid have accidents all the time until they learn – to waiting until the child is ready. I encouraged a parent to start to train her 4 year old to wipe himself when he goes to the bathroom. That was news to her, but I think it’s a reasonable expectation for a 4 year old to take care of everything on their own in the bathroom!

23 Emma March 9, 2012 at 10:07 am

I was told recently that in areas where Scottish Gaelic is traditionally spoken hospitality is assumed so you wouldn’t generally say ‘please’ if asking for a drink or whatever. There is a word for please but you’d be clocked as a non-native speaker right away should you use it. I thought this was an interesting take on manners – the politeness is in the situation more than the language. I like to bring my child up with manners so will need to add this wordless politeness.

24 Natalie March 9, 2012 at 10:13 am

I’ve noticed that parents in the US seem to leave their babies with the grandparents over night a lot earlier than they woud in Europe. It seemed very odd to me when my daughter was a baby and was nursing full time & my MIL would keep asking for her to spend the night…she did not seem to understand that I didn’t want my baby to be given formula so she could spend the night…

25 Ely March 9, 2012 at 10:30 am

Still working on trying to get my fiance to join me in this, but it’s hard for him to make the time. We’ll see how well he does as the days go by. A little at a time is better than nothing. I look forward to seeing how much we can learn together. My hope is to be able have a bilingual household when we have kids.

26 Susan Tenney March 9, 2012 at 10:50 am

Living in Switzerland for 4 years and being there part time for many years before that that was a wonderful education in cultural assumptions! So much of what we assumed was “fact” was only just the American way of doing things. Now that we have been back in the US for 1.5 years, we still find ourselves surprised at simple differences. Neither way seems better – we just enjoy the contrast. For example, in Switzerland we were often surprised by the license the elders in Switzerland (particularly women of grandmother age) were given to comment on child rearing. Strangers in the street would comment on things as simple as “your child should be wearing more clothes! he could catch a draft!”. We almost never experience this here except at family gatherings perhaps :)… It felt like the granny set had the duty of keeping the “tribe” on the straight and narrow, especially for those parents who were clearly new to the job. A very strong sense of group/community that is totally different than the “do it yourself” mentality here. At times it was wonderful and other times totally infuriating, but in any case, it really highlighted the contrast between cultures. We love having that experience!

27 Terra March 9, 2012 at 12:45 pm

I can relate to weather/over-dressing comments. I grew up spending most of my days outside playing, no matter what the season or weather. My husband, from a much warmer climate, and I rarely agree about appropriate outerwear and amount of time spent outside. We’re learning to compromise 😉

28 Simon March 9, 2012 at 1:01 pm

One thing that drives me nuts here in the US is when parents refer to themselves in the third person. (ex: “Mommy loves you.”) I don’t know if this happens in other languages/cultures, but I’d rather model a more correct use of the language!

29 LindsRose March 11, 2012 at 3:23 pm

I agree with you Simon…and the worst part is that I am one of them! Now that my son is 2 I am really trying to break myself of the habit. 🙂

30 Eduardo Moreno March 13, 2012 at 7:19 am

I also see what you mean. In Japan and Korea (where I’ve lived recently) the words “I” and “you” are practically out of common conversations. Instead everyone is called by their names or their “relation” status. Therefore, my 1-and-a-half-yr-old daughter is daily bombarded with “Give Mum a kiss”, “Ask your big brother (referring to her cousin) please”. I think is not much of a big deal, but I see why you worry. And another thing, here (Korea) children are discouraged from calling the other children in the household by their first name. Instead, they must refer to them by the proper term for “elder sister”, “youger sister”, “elder brother” and “younger brother”. It must be confusing for them.

31 Maria Jesus March 9, 2012 at 1:39 pm

Hi everybody,

I agree with Simon. In Spain, not only some parents refer to themselves in the third person but also to their children. And another example of what I think is incorrect use of the language is to use the sound of the animals (“guau” for dogs, “miau” for cats) instead of the name of the animals, when talking to little children.

32 Eduardo Moreno March 13, 2012 at 7:21 am

Yes, that’s a funny one. I’m Spanish and I live in Korea, and the same thing happens here and in Spain. Maybe that’s some kind of language scaffolding method. I don’t know.

33 Kristiana March 9, 2012 at 2:42 pm

I don’t know if this is happening in other countries too but here in Australia I’m hearing more and more parents (and teachers) use incorrect English for example “youse” instead of “you”, changing the word versus into a verb “versing” when asking which team you are playing against and using “bought” when they should be saying “brought” and I can’t help myself from correcting them (even if it’s under my breath). My husband doesn’t seem to have the need to correct but I guess I’m the one obsessed with language. I just think that if Australians can’t speak their own language properly, how can we expect them to learn a 2nd language?

34 Eve Bodeux March 9, 2012 at 4:03 pm

Someone else mentioned breast feeding above. I am American and my husband is French. I breast fed my kids “long” even by US standards (18 months) and, for the French, this was totally not in line with cultural norms. When my second son was 3 months old (!) my husband’s cousin commented on how it was strange to see such a “big” baby breast fed! All our French friends and family were very respectful of our decision, but I know it was hard for them culturally to interact with a mom who was breast feeding such an “old” baby.

35 Monika March 9, 2012 at 6:05 pm

I remember being shocked as an American kid living in a small town in Italy, at how little old ladies who were *complete strangers* would come up to my best friend’s baby sister (about 6 months old) and just coo all over her and PINCH HER CHEEKS! As a kid, I thought it was cute, and hilarious. Here in the States, I think of how different it is, where people tend to be careful and ask permission before touching someone’s baby. As the mom of a preemie, I do appreciate that about life here but… there’s something wonderful about the exuberance and joy those elderly ladies had upon seeing a cute little baby, where they just couldn’t contain themselves. 😉

36 Wendy March 12, 2012 at 11:12 pm

It may be true that American parents often ask permission before touching someone’s baby, but that wasn’t the case with our twins. They couldn’t resist it, particularly while we were waiting in line at the grocery store. I also found that people would try to touch me when I was pregnant with them. I was pretty big, as you can imagine.

37 Yazmin Wickham March 9, 2012 at 6:48 pm

I find it interesting how families sprawl out in the US and then go about their business, not following up with each other but maybe once a quarter with a phone call or an email. In contrast, while most of my family lives in Puerto Rico, my mom made it point that I speak with my grandmother once a week (in addition to her once I moved away.) As I got older, what became a chore as a teenager, became a habit as a young adult and something I look forward to now that I’m older.

Now that I appreciate reaching out to my family on a weekly basis, it pains me to see how little communication there is on my husband’s side of the family… and clearly how much he desires it now that he’s older. Wish it were that more families stayed tight-knit.

38 Sarolta March 9, 2012 at 8:06 pm

Coming from Europe to Canada where we had milder winters, I want to bundle up my son for the Canadian winter and he hates the scarf. Potty training ideas and expectations are different and children here are expected to be independent sooner – if not way too soon. I try to figure out what is expected from kids, a simple “I want” does not sound polite to me without “please”, but it does not seem to be the issue here if young kids are saying that.

39 Frances March 10, 2012 at 3:13 am

I have had 3 children in Japan. People regularly came up and asked me if my babies were bilingual:) Well I’m not sure, they only gurgle for now!!

40 Karim Siebeneicher Brito March 10, 2012 at 6:59 am

I did not think we Brazilians were such protective parents before living in Germany for two years. We were always surprised to see how very young children were left to walk alone on sidewalks, without being hand in hand with an adult; or babies were left outside in their buggies, while the parent was inside the shop or had walked to a distance to find some information. My guess is they find it important for their children to be raised independently.

41 Amy Van Vranken March 10, 2012 at 9:32 am

My native culture is the culture I’m living in now…so I’m not sure I fit the question so well. I’m just plain American. However, I found it interesting that my daughter, when she was living with a family in France at age 10, was “chided” (her words) for clearing only her own plate, silverware, glass, etc. after dinner. That’s what I taught her was good manners…but in her French family, everyone helps clear the table together. One person clears all the glasses, one person all the plates, etc. Interesting how much more individualistic the approach is in America.

42 Irene March 10, 2012 at 10:49 am

I live in France, my little daughter is 3 and speaks Italian with me, English with her father (who is Irish) and French with the outside world. When we are out and people hear us she gets lots of compliments, everybody is amazed and in admiration, which is pleasant for proud mummy of course… But I was just thinking – there are tons of bi- and multilinguals kids (and adults) around. Even just in the town I live in, there are Africans, Asians of all origins, communities from the middle East… All their kids speak different languages too, but I never hear somebody complimenting a little kid because he speaks Portuguese / Chinese / Libanese / Arab…. Is it only me, or do you think too that multilinguism is “noble” and appreciated when concerning european “important” (politically or historically) languages, and disregarded when reveals appartenance to less liked communities? I think it’s unfair…
I know, it’s not a “funny” episode, buy I thought this would be the ideal place to share my little thought…
I love multilinguism – concerning all kids and all languages! :-))

43 melissa March 10, 2012 at 11:11 am

My husband and I were talking about who would look after our son if both of us were to die. I have 3 brothers and said one of them probably would depending on their situation

44 melissa March 10, 2012 at 11:24 am

Whoops. Depending on their own children and financial situation but he said his 1 sister who is not as well off financially would definitely take our son because the family ties in brazilian culture don’t give her a choice.

45 Sophie March 10, 2012 at 1:10 pm

I love that here in NZ, simply by existing, kids and adults pick up a many words of another language. Even “NZ Europeans” don’t seem to realise how much Maori is in common usage, but of course we immigrants notice as soon as someone says “bring the whanau over for a bbq”. Sorry, the what? Ah, family. The more lingo the better of course, but so casually spoken makes for fun parenting in our home, which always featured casual French too 🙂

46 Monika March 12, 2012 at 10:41 am

That’s really cool, Sophie! I love that.

47 Avery Fischer Udagawa March 11, 2012 at 1:09 am

Yesterday an acquaintance here in Thailand gave my four-year-old daughter some flowers harvested from beneath a blooming tree. I referred to them in my native English as a bouquet, and my daughter asked me what that was. I described a bouquet in English, and then she summarized by saying, oh, you mean a hanataba–using her father’s native Japanese. I guess they covered that ground early, unbeknownst to me!

48 Mikayla March 12, 2012 at 8:08 am

As a foreign language teacher in rural USA, one of my pet peeves with parents is that so many times they are more worried about their child’s grade in the class than how much of the language their student is learning. I’m proud of the parents that have joined this group because it shows that they don’t fall into that category. Great job!

49 Shannon March 12, 2012 at 3:51 pm

The warmth and inclusion of family life in Peru is in such stark contrast to that of the US. We lived with extended family in Peru (up to 20 people under one roof at times) for 2 yrs and there was always someone willing to help care for my little ones. Then we moved to the US to be around MY family, and we go often spend months without seeing them. When I want my mom to babysit, I have to get it onto her schedule far in advance. I guess that’s more a difference in lifestyle than in parenting per se, but it definitely has an impact on parenting styles too.

50 Wendy March 12, 2012 at 11:07 pm

When I was a teenager, I spent many hours babysitting, especially during the summer months. Now that I need a babysitter, I find that the neighborhood teens are too busy with all of their own activities and don’t have time to babysit. It’s annoying that their parents are paying for everything so they don’t need spending money, in spite of the fact that babysitting rates are 10x what they were when I was a teen.

51 Eduardo Moreno March 13, 2012 at 7:34 am

Things I like about childrearing in Japan, Spain, the UK and Korea.

In Japan, children are given a lot of responsibilities at school. Things like cleaning and tiding up the class are students’ daily chores. I think that’s great.
In Spain, parents take their kids out a lot. The Spanish good weather helps a lot on that, really. The beach is my favourite place to go.
In the UK, safety is first, and I love that. Being aware of potential risks is essential. In Japan and Korea, the safety levels are so high that they lower their guards a bit too much for my taste.
In Korea, EVERYONE seems to adore children and they express it in public without hesitation, even to strangers’ children. I also love that every mother uses their baby carrier as much as they use their prams, so children get a fair share of body contact with their Moms.

52 Jen N. March 13, 2012 at 2:41 pm

I had my newborn in her car seat that I had put down on the ground between my legs by my car in a parking lot so that I could dig my keys out of the diaper bag and open the car. A well-intentioned lady came running up to me telling me that I should NEVER put my child down like that or someone would steal her. I think of that every time I unlock my car…9 years later!

53 Manuela Moran March 13, 2012 at 4:13 pm

My in-laws who live in Ireland where it rains all the time are really obsessed with the kids rushing indoors at the slightest drizzle. I just think “a bit of rain so what”. I wonder how kids over there ever get a bit of fresh air

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