On My Bedside Table (and, in my Feedly) – part 5

bilingualism bilingual literacy reading espanolita

The more I read, the more I want to read, and the more I realize how little time I have to do it.

So, I am constantly trying to wedge ratitos de lectura into my crazy mom schedule, during naps, while cooking, in between the transition from the post-dinner-coma to let’s-just-veg-out-in-front-of-the TV-until-nos-quedemos-dormidos.

Although much of what I read is either in Spanish (to increase and improve my own input) or about bilingual parenting (the focus of this blog), I do make time to read about some of my other interests: food, cooking, health, religion, and shoes, to name a few. (Yes, I just mentioned shoes and religion in the same sentence; and, mom if you’re reading this, a girl can never have too many shoes.)

Here are a few books on my bedside table, as well as a few articles that popped up recently in my Feedly. Happy reading!

My dearest friend, M., the one who asked, “Why not start a blog?,” gave me Dinner: A Love Story: It all Begins at the Family Table last week for my birthday. In a straightforward and non-judgmental voice, Jenny Rosenstrach shares how it is possible to cook dinner for your children on a regular basis. “This book is, in fact, for anyone interested in learning how to execute a meal to be shared with someone they love and discovering how so many good, happy things can trickle down from doing so.” (from the Introduction to the book) You can also catch her blog here.

What parent doesn’t need a good laugh once in a while, you know, to put parenthood in perspective? If you’re not familiar with American comedian Jim Gaffigan, and you’re a parent, then you must check him out. Many of his jokes are based on his life in a two-bedroom apartment with five (no, that’s not a typo) children. You can catch some of his best sketches here. I just started reading Dad is Fat. My only regret is not having bought the audio book instead!

This short film: Enséñame Pero Bonito. For the most part, Spain continues to be a pretty homogenous culture; this includes everything ranging from how parents dress their children to religious preferences to diet to educational practices. But, many areas of life are slowly starting to change and diversify, including the way Spaniards view learning. This short (45 minutes) interview-style documentary gives an overview of some of the schools and individuals pursuing alternative educational paths instead of the traditional schooling that most Spanish students receive. Whether their philosophy is Montessori or Waldorf or homeschooling or unschooling, all of those interviewed agree that “todos los niños han nacido para aprender” and that the best teacher is life itself.

After watching this film, I became interested in learning more about the Waldorf method, in particular in Spanish-speaking countries. A quick search on YouTube resulted in a half promotional/half documentary on this Waldorf school in Mexico City. (Again, in Spanish.) I would love to send E. to this type of school!

I thought the whole formula vs breastfeeding debate was only an American phenomenon, but I was wrong. In Spain, mothers on both sides of the pendulum are feeling societal pressure whatever their decision. According to this El País article, most mothers’ choices depends on the individual doctors that oversee their care.

Who would have thought that bilingualism plays a role in a baby’s ability to…lip read? Professor David Lewkowicz, from Northeastern University, and colleagues in Barcelona, Spain, found that “babies raised in bilingual households spend significantly more time watching the mouth of the person speaking to them than their monolingual counterparts.” You can read the summary and listen to the full interview by clicking on the above link. Fascinating!

I don’t know about where you live, but here in the United States there has been a rise in peanut allergies among young children in the past ten to 20 years. Consequently, most daycares, church nurseries, and other play spots for children prohibit parents from . This article from Scientific American summarizes the findings of a “randomized trial [that] suggest early exposure may decrease risk by as much as 86 percent.” So, that’s meant lots of peanut butter sandwiches and almond butter-infused fruit smoothies for E. (and me!).

What have you been reading lately? I’m always looking for new recommendations. Comment below or contact me here. I’d love to hear from you!

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