Yesterday, I received the following note from a mom I have known since the birth of her child. She wanted to speak Spanish to her baby, which I encouraged her to do. However, mom has run into some bumps in the road in raising her child bilingual. Here is what she has shared:
Katerina started going to school in Sept. twice a week and she was having a very hard time adjusting. I thought perhaps it was the language “barrier.” So, I started talking to her, just a little, in English. At first it was harmless, but then she began to respond to me more and more in English. As she picked up more things in school, she detached from the Spanish more and more. I began talking to her in English too much and so now she speaks to me mostly in English. I was just about to give up on the whole TWO YEARS of progress I had made with Katerina when a miracle fell on my lap….
I went to the Stepping Stones Museum last week. As I was getting ready to leave, I started telling Katerina to get her things so we can go. I did this all in Spanish. A young mom overheard me and she started speaking to me in Spanish as too. Well, she has two little girls THE SAME AGE as mine. She’s Cuban and Mexican and also talks to her girls in Spanish. We got together a few days later and began exchanging stories. She was a Spanish/Bilingual teacher for 6 years and gave me THE BEST pointers on how to get Katerina back on track and….BACK ON TRACK SHE IS!!! She’s not 100%…yet, but I now have confidence that I can get her to talk to me only in Spanish again. This woman also recommended a book on bilingualism…The Bilingual Edge. I just started it and appears to have a lot to offer.
Anyway, I thought I would share this linguistic story with a fellow teacher who appreciates the art of language and how truly delicate and malleable it can.
Talk to you soon,
What bumps in the road have you encountered as you strive to raise your child bi-lingual? What has worked and what hasn’t?