“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:
- He attends Toddler Story Time at our local library with my mom. Story Time is predominantly in English.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!