Mira ya viene el sol,
Ya ya ya viene el sol,
Como una bella flor
It has been awhile since I’ve updated. To be honest, I haven’t felt inspired. I usually write passionately. However, I do want to document this summer and what better way to do it than with a blog post.
Last summer was really hard. I think I cried almost every single day. Fernando was pretty much non-verbal, we were attending speech twice a week, my husband wasn’t getting home from work til 7 p.m., and I was emotionally drained. And I felt like I was failing as a mom every single day. Luckily, my good friend told me about the Somos Padres podcast and listening to it made me feel like I wasn’t alone. It was the silver lining of my summer. This isn’t a shameless plug. It was episode #4.
My husband and I like uploading videos we take of our family on YouTube so we can have these memories to look back on. That’s why I was recently able to see a video I took of Fernando naming the colors last year. Almost one year ago to the date. And that video made me tear up. Fernando was 2 years and 4 months old. I can hear how hard it was for him to speak, I can hear how he was trying, and I saw myself. I saw myself and all I could think was, “What a badass, mom.” And this was recorded at a time when I felt like I was failing the most. Because there I was helping my son verbalize. And there I was validating his word approximations. The video is like 5 minutes long. You can grab the gist of it in the first minute.
Now this summer so far has been great. I mean, I still feel like I’m failing but not as often. It helps that Fernando is attending his Spanish play group twice a week for 3 hours. I’m able to have that freedom time to go to the gym, visit a friend, or renew my passport (just did that this past time).
I love this playgroup because Fernando is with Spanish speaking amiguitos his age, and it has allowed him to have both freedom and structure at the same time. My goal is for him to socialize without hitting. According to my friend, we are all still working on figuring out Fernando’s triggers, however, I am grateful that he is in this safe space with people I trust completely. He is not asked to sit still and listen, he is not placed on time-out, nor is he isolated. Fernando is learning in the perfect, safe environment I had painstakingly searched for. And it’s all thanks to my comadre whom I love. Who was super understanding when I said we’d be half an hour late because Mexico was playing (and breaking my heart).
But I think the main reason this summer has been great is because Fernando speaks. And boy does he speak. I asked my comadre what percentage of Fernando’s speech did she understand. When he tested out of speech services in February he had been at a 65%-70% rate of understanding for someone who didn’t know him. She said she understood 100% of what he says. She said that if she had to rate his speech, it would probably be “advanced” for kiddos his age. And if you saw the video, then you would know why I am typing and crying at the same time because there was a time when I thought he wouldn’t speak. There was a time when I envisioned him attending school without being able to communicate his needs. But here he is, speaking to me, and letting me know that he’s tired, frustrated, happy, or hungry (hungry at least 1,000x a day). Not only that, he tells me he has ideas. “Mami! Tengo una idea! Porque no juego primero, y despues como.” Or he asks me to fill in the blanks, “Mami, estan arreglando la calle porque a la mejor….?” And if I’m speaking to him and I don’t know how to say a word he’ll say, “Buscala en tu telefono.” Now it’s me trying to keep up with his vocabulary, and I will do whatever it takes to meet him there.
Raising Español started because I didn’t know anyone in my situation and now here’s the proof that teaching Spanish to your child is totally doable. Even when your Spanish isn’t perfect, even when you have to look words up, even when you have to create cheat sheets, and you have to call your mom to help you out, here is the proof that it can be done. It’s hard. Really hard. But soooo doable. So while this is a short blog post, I will leave you with a recent Fernando video. He is the sun and we orbit. I love this kid.