It all begins and ends with me: the heart of parenting

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(Photo courtesy of Barbara W, Flickr Creative Commons)

Last Thursday I had to excuse myself from E.’s bedroom. “Necesito un descanso,” I told her. I need a break.

What I didn’t tell her was why.

But, I could feel the anger swirling in my stomach. My muscles were tight. I needed to step away. I needed to take a few deep breaths. I needed a time out.

“Was that okay?” I asked myself. 

Processing the situation later, I realized, “yes, of course! It’s always okay, when you sense you’re about to lose your temper, to take a break.” 

I also realized that there was more going on.  

Because in parenting there’s always more. So much more. Continue reading

¡Hola! {Book Review + Author Interview}

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Happy Friday, amig@s! The weekend is here, and for me that means more time to READ! If you’re like me, always looking for a good book to read (both for yourself and for your children), then you’ll love today’s post.

Author and former language teacher, Judy Martialay, sent me a copy of her children’s book ¡Hola! Let’s Learn Spanish a few weeks ago, and the minute I got my hands on it, I knew I wanted to share it with you all.

Designed to introduce children between the ages of six and 11 to the Spanish language and Hispanic culture, this book would make a great addition to your home library. Here’s what I love about it:

  1. Child-focused and friendly – Although it’s meant to teach children basic Spanish words, phrases, and cultural knowledge, it’s written in a way that you, the parent, could simply give it to your child to read on her own. There are colorful illustrations, craft ideas, and a fun story of cultural exploration and adventure (meet Pete the Pilot and Panchito!).
  2. Designed for the non-native speaker of Spanish – I can already think of several non-native Spanish-speaking family friends of mine who I’d love to pass this book on to, families that are eager to expose their children to introductory Spanish. I would feel totally comfortable giving this book to these parents (who don’t speak the language themselves) because it presents the language in a natural and non-threatening way. For example, the story about Pete the Pilot and Panchito is written in 90% English with one or two Spanish words sprinkled throughout each paragraph.
  3. Culturally sensitive – It’s clear that Judy took her time to research México, the culture highlighted in the book. There is a section entitled Rincón Cultural, in which she explains in clear, child-friendly language the type of Spanish used, typical food, customs, and celebrations.

And, of course, behind every book is an author. Judy graciously agreed to tell us a bit about her professional background, experience raising bilingual children, and why she believes every child should learn a second language.

Read on, amig@s, and be encouraged!

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Raising trilingual children {Family Fridays – an update}

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(Photo via Carissa Rogers, Flickr CC)

¡Feliz viernes, amig@s! We’re back with another edition of Family Fridays here on the blog, a series in which I highlight a different multilingual family from around the globe.

I’m so happy to have back again my dear friend J.K., whose family was the first to be interviewed for this series over a year ago. Originally from Korea, she and her American husband are raising their two (soon to be three!) children in three languages while living as expats in China. You can catch her first interview here.

Today, she gives us an update on her family’s language policy, shares challenges she and her husband have experienced in their six years raising trilingual children, and provides encouragement for families in a similar situation.

Be encouraged, friends!

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“Keep your eye on the prize!” {Family Fridays}

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(Photo via Carissa Rogers, Flickr CC)

Friends, it’s great to be back again in 2016 for another edition of “Family Fridays” here on the blog. This is a continuing series in which I interview different multilingual families from all over the world. I love this series because each family interviewed has something unique and encouraging to share with readers; it’s been a reminder that there are so many ways to approach bilingual parenting.

To kick off the first “Family Fridays” interview of the year, I’d like to introduce you to Diana Limongi from the blog LadydeelLG. She’s a self-described Latina New Yorker with Ecuadorian roots married to a Frenchman. They live with their young son, Enzo, in the Big Apple, and she’s here today to share her family’s journey in bilingual parenting.

Be encouraged, friends.

FAMILY WHALE WATCHING Continue reading

E.’s Language Development at Two Years

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Part of raising a bilingual child is fielding questions of curiosity (which is totally fine) like, “So is your daughter bilingual?” or “How’s her English?” or “What language does she understand?” Although I’m still working on my elevator speech-style answer of 10 seconds or less, and although this post is not meant to be a defense of our choice to parent only in the minority language, Spanish, I did want to write a more personal, or narrative, style post to give you a snapshot of her current language(s) use. Continue reading

Promoting bilingualism in my local community: story time

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(Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons, catnip studio)

Thank you friends for patiently wait as I took a short break from blogging since November. I needed a break so much I didn’t even announce the break. Now I’m back, and it feels good.

In my last post I did mention that I would write a follow-up on ways I’ve changed how I perceive and relate to my daughter, based on reading María Montessori’s book The Secret of Childhood. I’m half way through that post, so stay tuned.

In the meantime…

Very few people in our neighborhood speak Spanish, our family’s home language, and E.’s current dominant language.

While most friends, family, and neighbors in our community generally express support for our choice to raise E. bilingual, few actually speak the language with and around her. I appreciate the positive reception to our family’s lifestyle, but for a while now I’ve wanted to do more.

How can I go beyond enumerating the benefits of bilingualism with friends at parties to actively promoting it – and even encouraging others to join in on the fun? I’ve thought.

And, then it came to me. Story time at our neighborhood library. In Spanish! Continue reading

Final Thoughts from our Trip to España

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We made it back to the other side of “El Charco” just a few days ago. It’s taking us a bit longer to break free from the jet lag and adjust to the six-hour time difference (i.e., days starting at 4am).

Despite the cansancio and despite D.’s and my sadness at no longer having total access to jamón serrano, we’re still running high on fond memories of our month-long trip to Spain.

There’s so much to say, so many thoughts, that I thought I’d just put them all down together, potpourri style, in one blog post. Continue reading