Ever since we brought Isaac home from the hospital I have tried to speak to him in Spanish a little bit everyday. Since Derek and I both speak Spanish, we have debated whether or not we should teach it to our kids as they grow up. Then when we moved into our house, I made friends with my next door neighbor and found out that she speaks exclusively to her kids in Spanish. She served a Spanish speaking mission in California. And her husband doesn’t speak a word of it so she’s been teaching her boys all on her own. They go to Spanish reading hour at the library, watch movies in Spanish and her oldest (now 8 years old) is in his second year of Spanish immersion at school. The first day of school he came home and told his mom, “I understand everything the teacher says.” He translates for the other kids who don’t understand. And the teacher is a native speaker. That’s pretty awesome.
So my friend inspired me to start speaking Spanish with Isaac. I didn’t do very much with him at first as it’s kind of hard to speak to a newborn anyway. I kind of felt like I was talking to myself a lot of the time. I would just babble mostly. I would describe the process of making dinner or where we were driving in the car or just random thoughts really. Derek and I hardly ever spoke to each other in Spanish so Isaac was hearing just me speak it for a little bit each day.
I have kind of been self-conscious about speaking Spanish to Isaac when I’m in front of other people. I don’t really know if he’s picking anything up and, frankly, I’ve been afraid of being judged. It is a little strange for a Gringa to be speaking Spanish to a non-responsive little baby. So it feels a little weird.
Since Isaac has started saying and understanding more things lately, I’ve been a little more dedicated to speaking Spanish during the day to him. We have even started speaking every other day in Spanish as a family so that he can hear Derek and I speak to each other. I’ll admit that it has done wonders for my struggling Spanish to speak it exclusively for whole days at a time. 🙂
Well, all of my work and worrying is starting to pay off with Isaac. HE SAID HIS FIRST SPANISH WORD LAST WEEK!!! It’s “si!” Granted, he doesn’t know what it means yet because he’s in the mimicking stage but he can say it! He DOES understand several other Spanish words too: zapato, cobijita, leche and ojos. It’s been very interesting to note that the words that he understands in Spanish are all of his favorite things. He LOVES saying (and playing with ) his shoes. He won’t go anywhere without his blankie. He is addicted to milk and he will practically poke your eyes out if you ask him where they are…. and sometimes even when you don’t.
So needless to say I’m feeling a little better (and possibly a little orgullosa?) about our Spanish sessions at home. It’s getting a little easier and more enjoyable even now that I am seeing results. I’m also starting to think of more things we can do as a family to encourage our Spanish language cultivation (including many future trips to Mexico!!! yay!) And…. I’m starting to be a little more confident in front of others. So if you hear me babbling away to my boys in Spanish while we are out and about, don’t judge, mmm-k?? Maybe someday they can translate too!