Yo hablo español

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watching the movie, ” Despicable me” in Spanish 🙂

Yesterday, while we were looking for arts and crafts to do, something fell out of the box, Aya, my 3 year old girl screamed, “Mama, mi corazon!”  I looked at the direction she was pointing at and saw a red heart, a project we did during Valentines Day. I was pleasantly surprised that she still speaks Spanish … or some of it.

One of the advantages of living in Southern California is the availability of Spanish-speaking nannies.  We were fortunate to find Laura, a sweet, Mexican girl when Ethan was around 10 months old.  She lived with us 5 days a week while we work.  Ethan adores her and at an early age, he was already speaking Spanish.  When Aya was born, she took care of her, too.  The kids bonded with her and Spanish was their secret language. They will play, sing, dance — everything in Spanish! Ethan used to say, “Daddy speaks English, Mama speaks Filipino and Laura speaks Spanish.”  Of course, Daddy wins because English is the dominant language in the house!  At a young age, kids were exposed to different languages and cultures … and they adapt easily.  So when Ethan had to go to a Montessori school at 2 and started playing with his monolingual friends, he started losing the grasp of the Spanish language, a common occurrence in English-speaking countries. Aya, on the other hand, stayed in the Philippines shortly  where she was able to strengthen her Filipino.  When kids are both in preschool, we decided to send them to a Spanish Immersion daycare .  They love Senora Evelyn, their teacher from Peru and soon  started re-discovering the Spanish language.  Everyday, they are excited to go to school to play and learn Spanish which is atypical for kids that age. However, 3 months into their school, we had to leave California and  go to Philippines for a long term language immersion in Filipino. When we left, Ethan was already reading in Spanish!

As Ezra Pound would say, “the sum of human wisdom is not contained in any one language, and no single language is capable of expressing all forms and degrees of human comprehension.” As parents who are passionate about multilingualism, our goal is for the kids to continue learning Spanish (along with Filipino and Mandarin) and hope that they become polyglots someday. Nowadays, we are actively looking for a native speaker who can tutor them or maybe a language school that is geared for learning language specifically for children.  Either way, we are going to make sure that their Spanish is not going down the drain — even if it means me, the forty-something mom, enrolling in Spanish 101 🙂

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