Friday, August 3, 2012

{ bilingual failure and perseverance }


I mentioned earlier this week that Jacob suddenly started talking last weekend.
What I didn't mention is that everything he says is in English 
which would be perfectly fine if I didn't speak in Spanish to him all day.

Why? I was born in Costa Rica and lived there until I was 9.
My dad lives there. My mom speaks mostly Spanish.
I have grandparents, a large handful of aunts and uncles 
and dozens of cousins still in Costa Rica.

Jacob being bilingual is just something Phil and I decided was necessary for in his life.

Not to mention it will give him an advantage later on in life 
whether he decides to be a priest, a plumber, or a CEO.

Being bilingual opens lots of doors in your life. I know that from first hand experience.

Earlier this week, when Jacob started saying "It's mine" "It's daddy's" "It's mama's" etc.
I was seriously disillusioned. 

I mean his first word was "gracias" 
He started giving kisses when we requested "besos" 
but his first sentences were in English.

Did I fail? Did I not do it right? 
I thought maybe it was impossible to teach a kid spanish in America 
especially when his father doesn't speak the language nearly at all.

But Phil reminded me it's not. 

One- exposure is key. He's definitely hearing it.

Two- he understands everything. He might not be saying things in Spanish, but when I tell him to get something or do something in Spanish... he does it. I mean the normal level of toddler defiance still applies but for the most part he follows directions in Spanish.

Furthermore, his vocabulary comprehension is pretty good. I'm talking animals, vehicles, etc.
When we ask "donde esta ____?" he points to the right things in the books.

So I have not despaired. 
I just have to keep working at it. 
Reminding myself to speak in Spanish because it's worth it in the end.

Are there any skills you are trying to instill in your kids from a young age?

5 comments:

Meredith said...

I honestly think Jacob could teach me Spanish at this point lol. I'm just hoping I can turn my girl into a killer Speech and Debater. "No dessert before you do an impromptu speech!" lol.

But I can see how that would be disheartening, but I'm sure he will be jabbering away in English and Spanish soon enough!

abby said...

The skill of staying in bed and not getting out 50 million times before Max falls asleep. Tonight, we had a victory! He only got out 2 times.

I'm totally jealous that you are bilingual...

Sarah @ Becoming Martha said...

I feel your frustration. We have two girls, and I only speak English but my husband is bilingual - English and French. He didn't speak much French to our first daughter, which he regretted once she got to be about 4. She attends a Francophone school though, and within six months she was pretty fluent. With our second, he spoke to her in French since birth, and while at 2, she now speaks mostly english, she completely understands everything he says to her in french, and that's the biggest battle. It's hard to teach them another language in a predominately English culture, but he'll get it. Hang in there :)

On another note, thank you for stopping by the CHQ blog hop last night. We hope to see you again next week - and tomorrow night we have our first inky party where you can link up any great crafts, recipes, etc... like that great window box that I love! :)

Myn @ fresh graNOLA family said...

Do you just speak to him in Spanish? My husband grew up with his mother speaking only Spanish, and he's fluent, but hasn't really taught our kids yet. Any tips would be appreciated (or maybe you have some on your blog I haven't found yet). I'm following along from Mommy-brain Mixer! :)
-Myndee

Taara said...

We are trying to be a bilingual house too - living in Brazil, I speak only English to the kids, they speak Portuguese at school (pre-school) and now our son (3.5) regularly switches between the two at home and when we're out. Just wish I could speak Portuguese fluently already! :) Hubby was blessed with a bilingual upbringing.

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