I’m working hard to make every morning and every evening count in terms of our child’s Spanish language exposure. Breakfast en español is working! Our child is speaking Spanish for the majority of sentences while eating coconut yogurt to start the day. I listen without making corrections, as our child has requested. I make encouraging replies like “¿Verdad?” Really? or “¿Cuándo?” When (is that)? We converse about the same things we’ve always talked about at breakfast; the day ahead, afterschool plans, a book we’re reading, except that now we’re both speaking Spanish.
Similarly in the evening, now not only my half of the conversation is en español, but that of my ten year old as well. One book in Spanish earned on the sticker chart! We’re heading toward a second. I am excited at this progress. Last night our child got frustrated because words did not come easily in describing the school day en castellano. I said not to worry, that vocabulary would grow again with patience and more practice. No one knows every word. I don’t. However, knowing what we don’t know and knowing what we want to know are important steps to create intrinsic motivation. No one but experience can teach us about choice and our personal preferences.
The book cover featured in this post is from a Spanish children’s story about inaction and lack of communication. Cerca means Close, in this case as in almost, not quite. This story by Spanish author Natalia Colombo is about a duck and a rabbit whose lives mirror one another but don’t quite intersect. In the United States, the two animals would have held hands and skipped down the street together as new BFFs on the last page. Nevertheless, in Spain the culture does not shy away from unhappy endings. The animals only could have been friends. They are close but not quite and that’s it. From a positive perspective, that allows the child to think about how to create a happier ending. What could have been different? What did the animals need to do to be friends? (talk to one another)
In nuestra casita (our home), our child is taking ownership of communication and languages of choice. For me, that’s a new Bilingual Dream beginning. Sí, I’m smiling in two languages. Gracias for reading Fake Flamenco. Olé! -Rebecca
Para leer este ensayo en español, haz un clic en El sueño bilingüe.