At 22 months, Anya is communicating with us predominantly in English. This is a result of The Husband and I speaking to her in English even though she hears us speaking to each other 50/50 in English and Mandarin.
Over at The In-laws, they communicate with her in Mandarin. Still, Anya always replies them in English. The MIL has been cautioning us not to put off teaching her Mandarin lest she has difficulties catching up when she reaches schooling age. So we have been trying to teach her to identify things around the house in Chinese.Here's an example of dialogue where I was trying to teach her Mandarin.
Among the leftover Lunar New Year goodies that we are clearing out (i.e. stuffing our faces with them), there is one item that Anya particularly likes to eat. It is none other than 山楂 (Chinese hawthorn).
Seeing how much she likes them, I believe she would take an extra interest in learning how to say it, so here was how it went:
Me: "Anya, this is called ' 山楂' in Chinese."
She: *eyes fixated on the one I'm holding in my hand, smiling widely in anticipation*
Me: "Anya, can you say ' 山楂'?"
She, in a whiny voice: *still smiling while pointing at it* "Anya wants...."
Me. thinking that it will be helpful to break down the words: "Okay. Can you say ' 山'?"
She, in a funny accent: " shannnn.."
Me: "Say 山 again."
She, eyes never leaving the item: "shannn..."
Me: "Now, say '楂'."
She, again in a funny accent: "zhhhaaa.."
Me: "Say 楂 again."
Me, feeling slightly excited that things are going so well, beams and exclaimed: "Good job! Now, Anya, say *pauses for effect* ' 山楂'..!"
She, catching on the excitement: "YEAH!!!" *Proceeds to clap, jumping up and down*
Okay. At this point, I am not so sure about being an effective bilingual but I sure think that she can be an excellent cheerleader.