My journey is not as simple as it may seem, I made lots of mistakes along the way and I want you to learn from my mistakes so that your child may have the best opportunities available for him/her.
My journey is not as simple as it may seem,
I made lots of mistakes along the way and I want you to learn from my mistakes so that your child may have the best opportunities available for him/her.
My mom and I believe that there is not enough emphasis on the importance of raising a bilingual child and we feel that if we can get that message out and provide the support, more parents would jump at the opportunity.
I am a mother, daughter, and grandmother of a beautiful little girl named Luna.
I speak Spanish to my kids and have managed to raise 4 daughters to be fully bilingual.
I love to travel and Spanish has really come in handy.
I love visiting other countries and learning new cultures, especially Spanish culture because I am a part of it.
I remember babysitting my cousin's daughter while in college and playing Spanish music and dancing and thinking, “when I have kids, I'm going to play and sing and dance with them in Spanish”.
I can't wait to teach them about Spanish culture. It was something that was familiar to me because I grew up in Mexico and in the US so I was raised with two different cultures.
Fast forward to finishing college, getting married, and being pregnant with my first daughter Sara, how exciting, “yes, I can do this”, I will speak Spanish to her because it's up to me. My husband spoke only English and my mom lived in a different state so I had to do this, myself and I.
At the time we were living in Maryland where my husband was finishing his residency, working long hours for little or no pay. We really depended on my salary and my job which came with an hour commute in Baltimore traffic.
I was excited about having Sara, she was a dream come true after struggling with infertility and finally finding out I was having a beautiful baby girl, but I was so sad thinking that I would have to put her in childcare early on and not get to spend much time with her.
I did my best to speak Spanish to her but me being the only one speaking it and being tired from lack of sleep, long commute, my time was very limited or looking back, I did not try hard enough.
Soon I found out I was pregnant with Ashlyn and the tiredness only doubled with two under two so Spanish was now put on the back burner.
Then something happened that would change everything...
I found out I was having twin girls!! I continued to struggle with infertility and it took a while, seven years actually before I could conceive again. Sara and Ashlyn were now 7 and 9 and I was pregnant with twins.
What a dream come true. It was bittersweet, I felt I had failed Sara and Ashlyn to know their Spanish culture, I heard it from my dad every time he came t visit from Mexico “No Habla Español?” "No dad they don't speak Spanish" was always my reply. A shameful, guilt-filled reply.
"How are you denying them the privilege to be bilingual when Spanish is your first language, “there is no excuse for this" he would say every time I saw him. Deep down I knew he was right.
This was a lightbulb moment for me. I was going to have twin girls, it was time to start with a clean slate. I was working with Sara and Ashlyn at home but they were now learning it as "Americans learning Spanish". It hurt me deeply to see them struggle to try to understand the concept of Spanish. How could I have done this to them?.
This time I will not fail, I'm ALL IN with Alison and Melina, and the Spanish journey started with them when they were born on May 1st, 2007. From day one I welcomed them to this world in Spanish, I read to them in Spanish, they listened to Spanish music, I sang to them, and eventually, it became easy to be the Spanish speaker for my kids. With Sara and Ashlyn, I would have to say the English word then the Spanish word and explain, but with the twins, it was one word at a time, the same way they were learning English.
I have come to meet lots of parents out there who see the value in teaching Spanish to their kids. Perhaps you are of Hispanic descent and although your parents don't speak Spanish, you know its your culture and you should embrace it.
Or perhaps your parents do speak Spanish but you grew up speaking English and you don't feel like you know Spanish well to teach your children. Or maybe you have no Spanish connection at all, you just know it's a good language to know and the benefits it brings to raise a bilingual child.
Well whatever your reason is, my mom (whose story you will hear very soon) and I, have decided to lend a hand, create a Village, or as we call it a Pueblo sort of speak to help other parents like us teach their children Spanish. We feel it's our calling, we have done it successfully, we have seen where the struggles lie and we know that even if you have never spoken a word of Spanish (like my mom who is American) you can still raise a bilingual child.
This is super important to both of us because we see how easy and fun it can be with the help of others and the support you will get along the way. We feel its our mission to show other parents that their child can be raised as a worldly human being by being exposed to a second language and that if its done early enough they can gain the advantage of having their brain recognize Spanish as a native language.
This has many proven scientific benefits including how bilingual kids perform in school, how their brain will process information, and the type of adult they will become because of it.
But more on that later...
For now, I’d love to get your feedback on what I just shared with you. Are you a parent or parent to be who has had the thought of teaching your kids Spanish? If you already have kids, are you getting buried with guilt like I did, or are you already on a Spanish journey with your child?
Either way, I’d love to know more about where you are on your journey right now.
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