I must admit that listening to my child say, “Mommy I know Spanish” is music to my ears, though far from reality I know he still has a long way to go. This past week I was on the phone rambling in Spanish with my sister from Puerto Rico, and my son asks, “Mommy is that Abuela or Titi?” (Abuela – Grandma/Titi – Auntie). I responds, “It’s Titi.” He remains quite for a while, and interrupts me.
This is our conversation, while Titi was listening and patiently waiting for him to finish.
Him: “Mommy, Mommy, excuse me!”
Me: “Yes, lindo.”
Him: “Mommy, my friends (he said their names) at school don’t know Spanish.”
Me: “Is that so?”
Him: “Yes, Mommy. I was trying to teach them and they weren’t listening to me.”
Me: “So what were you teaching them?”
Him: “Uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco, seis, siete, ocho…”
Me: (I laughed) “So you were teaching them the numbers in Spanish?”
Him: “Yes, Mommy. I know Spanish like you, and they don’t!”
Me: “Don’t worry baby, they will soon learn. Now let me finish talking to Titi.”
Him: “OK, Mommy.”
My sister was cracking up at the other end of the line, since she had heard our conversation. Of course, I had a sense of pride and excitement listening to my child talk that way about the “Spanish” language.
It gives me hope that one day, he will be bilingual. I need not to be in despair, and worry so much about him learning Spanish. He’s showing interest, and is receptive to me speaking to him in Spanish. He often asks, “Mommy what does that mean?”, and I find myself translating for him. Then out of the blue, he’s repeating what I am saying.
For instance, there’s this children’s song: “Sana, sana colita de rana.” It’s a children’s song that my Mom would sing to us all the time when we got hurt. She sang the song as she rubbed or “healed” the bruised or hurt part of our body; and of course, we instantly felt better. This is a song that I often sing to my son, and that he sings to me when I complain about my back pain as he gently rubs my back! Sweet isn’t he?
♫♫♫Sana, sana, colita de rana, si no sanas hoy, sanarás mañana.♫♫♫
♫♫♫Heal, heal,little tail of the frog, if you don’t heal today, you’ll heal tomorrow.♫♫♫
So, with counting numbers, or singing children’s song in Spanish my son is getting closer to one day being bilingual; and I will be enjoying every step of the way! You can read more about our challenges here.
Awesome! I love reading your blog post. Keep it up!
My daughter is fluent because the 1st year of her life was all spanish but my son es un otra cosa. My wife speaks to both of the kids in spanish but my son though he comprehends, he rarely ventures to speak it. I keep telling my wife that one day when he needs to use it, he will.
It's great that you are keeping Leonides exposed to the language and his culture! Love your blog!!
Thank you Tonish! I really appreciate your input, and I totally understand where you're coming from. Be patient with little one, he will pick up the language. It's a slow process especially when his whole environment (except Mom) is in English. Two thumbs up for your daughter's fluency in Spanish, I pray that Leonides one day gets to that stage.
Thanks Alleyah! Maybe you'll learn a word or two in Spanish, too! 🙂
I'm so happy to have been part of that episode that occurred last week with my nephew and sister, it felt like if I was there with them. A few years ago, when my sister became a mommy she asked me…Gladys, what do you think? shall I speak to Leonides in English or Spanish?…well of course I answered, Spanish!…because considering that Leonides was always going to be exposed to the English language well I thought that she should always speak to him in Spanish and believe me he would be speaking Spanish right now. But it's never too late to learn and even more NOW that he is so interested. It is known that the earlier you introduce your child to another language the better. Children are like sponges they absorb the language with such facility that it's incredible. Usually the number of languages spoken within the household is enough for the child to absorb, and it’s actually possible to successfully introduce as many as four languages at the same time. Now that Leonides is acquiring the SPANISH language he will feel the need to learn in order to interact effectively with other kids and family. This also is going to help him preserve a sense of pride in the language of his mommy and titi. Moreover it is also going to help defend a sense of identity, which is likewise strongly linked to the language and culture of our family and heritage.
Wow Sis! Love, love your comment! You were really inspired, especially when you were "there" (well almost hahaha) to witness the whole conversation. Thank you again for your for your input, and comment, they truly mean a lot to me!
True, I should have spoken to Leonides solely in Spanish
since the day he was born; but as you said, "It's never too late!" Now, I need to find him some Spanish speaking friends! 🙂