Ingles…con Barreras

“I like the donut yellow!”

– Fernando Morales


English has infiltrated our home.  I was recently messaging with an IG friend and I was telling her how I haven’t been able to post our recommendation of the week because English has completely infiltrated our home.  So let me break down how Fernandito has picked up English:

  1. He attends Toddler Story Time at our local library with my mom.  Story Time is predominantly in English.
  2. He attends Art Time at our local library with my mom.  Art Time is English Only, however the teacher is bilingual and communicates with Fernando in Spanish.
  3. He attends Mommy and Me every Wednesday with both Dennis and I.  Mommy and Me is English Only. Dennis and I speak to him in Spanish.
  4. He watches a limited amount of YouTube Kids.  His favorite videos consist of numbers and Shopkins unwrapping videos which are both in English.  He has picked up several phrases from these videos.
  5. He watches Qubo with my mom.  Qubo is an English educational channel.  He loves watching Qubo.

Because we are trying to raise Fernandito in a conscious/echo parenting home, and I mean trying because I have been guilty of losing my patience and raising my voice, it has become challenging to enforce these strict Spanish-Only rules.  I don’t want to diminish Fernando’s love of learning and he is loving the ability to speak another language right now.

I have, however, been guilty in the past for saying, “Ingles? Como que en ingles??” in a joking manner.  I stopped doing this once I began to understand that Fernandito was proud of speaking English. He enjoys it.  And I do not want to be the reason he feels any sort of inhibition when speaking it. So if my husband isn’t around, and Fernandito speaks English to me, I will respond in English, but will continue the conversation in Spanish.  I have even told Fernandito, “Si no sabes como decir algo en ingles, me puedes preguntar. Yo te puedo ayudar.” I want Fernandito to be aware that I am on his team.

I am attempting to embrace this English that has entered our home.  I will preface this by saying that it helps tremendously that I have my husband on board.  When Fernandito began speaking English sentences to us such as: “I like this song!”, “I want to eat chicken nuggets.”, “This is a lot of Shopkins!”,  “What is eight plus six?”, we decided that my husband will respond to him in English and I will repeat what he said in Spanish and answer him in Spanish.  For example, Fernandito has said, “This is a lot of Shopkins!” and I have responded with, “Son muchos Shopkins. Si! Son muchos Shopkins!”. Fernandito still speaks and thinks in Spanish.  Like that is his go-to language when he wakes up in the morning to ask for his chocomil, when he’s angry, when he needs to communicate immediately.

I am impressed, however, at his ability to code-switch.  He knows that Mommy and Me is English only. I know this because recently a parent brought some balloons to play with and the teacher was frantically trying to collect them, meanwhile, Fernando wanted one and I explained to him (in Spanish) that the teacher was collecting them.  There was a two year old who was still innocently playing with the balloon and Fernando spoke up and said, “Miss _____!!! Miss ______!! He has a balloon!” in true tattle-tale form. While we are working on worrying about ourselves, I couldn’t help but be proud of Fernandito’s English.

I still try and implement as much Spanish as possible.  I play songs in the car in Spanish when I get the chance, Fernando watches his favorite show, “Vera y el reino arcoiris” in Spanish, and our daily conversations are en español.  But I want my readers to know that we are rolling with the punches.  I am not an expert in raising a toddler in a Spanish-only environment and am only documenting our journey in the hopes that others can relate/connect/suggest.  I know that I am trying really hard to ensure that Fernandito maintain his Spanish and, yes, the idea of him one day refusing to speak Spanish freaks me out. But I know that we’re trying.  Dennis and I are making the effort to respect Fernandito as the amazing human being he is, and I have found that he tries to respect us as well. And I hope, with all my heart, that with this mutual level of understanding, we will continue to raise an amazing, bilingual, human.

Side note:  I am considering posting some of our English approved recommendations.  As one IG friend mentioned, I would be “keeping it real”. Thoughts?

Thanks again for reading our journey!


2 thoughts on “Ingles…con Barreras

  1. We raised our boys with dad as a Spanish model and me as English. It worked for us. I wish their Spanish was stronger but it has helped them in numerous ways to be bilingual.

    Liked by 1 person

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