About La Mother Tongue

La Mother Tongue is my medium to share the joys and challenges of being a new parent as well as to share how we make a conscious effort in our daily life to bring baby up bilingual.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

El Casco

One of our neighbors who is moving so graciously gave us her baby bike seat for Sofía. I was tan emocionada!! We took Sofía to get fit for a bike casco. She cried and didn’t want to have the casco on her head. Yesterday as I was preparing her to go out for a ride, the neighbor niños were out with their bikes and cascos! ¡Perfecto! I took Sofía out to see her amigos and their cascos. It worked. She put her casco on and fussed later (signing hat) when I went to take it off! I took front and back fotos of her because she looks soooo funny and cute! She looks like one of those cartoon aliens with the heads larger than the bodies! As you can see, she (and everyone else) kept their cascos on even when they were not on their bikes!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Sofía played with tiza, chalk, for the first time last week. She is really into it! I’m a bit surprised since she HATED finger paint. She decided that she needed to help me with the gardening and moved the rocks from one side of the garden to the other—while incorporating her tiza-time into the routine as well. She was very focused!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


During lunch today, I quickly handed Sofía the glass of milk she asked for and turned to get the yogurt from the fridge. I heard her say, “Gracias” and turned just in time to see that she was ignoring me and took a slurp of milk. She has signed “gracias” many times, but this is the first time she has said it. She seems to be into the G sounds. She has been saying “galleta” and “Good Girl!”. Today we had a wonderful play date with her friend Marnix. Marnix said something in Dutch that I can’t remember was juice or something else and she repeated him (matter-of-factly) several times. Very, very, funny to hear her repeat another tot. Here is Sofía during her first “gracias” lunch.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Our Barrio is Changing!

A very strange thing happend in our barrio. The neighbors on either side of our house have just sold their houses!  We live on a private drive of 6 houses. The kids play in the street and the neighbors always come out and chit-chat as they supervise their children. We never took advantage of this time before Sofía of course, but now, we are out there many times a day even before the others get home from school. So two of our neighbors are leaving us!  We loved our neighbors. I don’t know how many people can say that, but our relations were good. Today is the closing on one house and in three weeks it will be on the other. Today, we will have new neighbors and we hear they have a daughter close to Sofía’s age. (I saw them one day!) We are so sad to see our other neighbors move, but hope that our new ones will be just as sweet and that Sofía will start a life-long friendship with a new friend. Amazingly, even with the moves, our barrio will still be uniquely diverse. Right now we have Chinese, Vietnamese, Turkish, Peruvian, Indian, and Gringos. We hear that the new people will be Asian-Gringo and African. Pretty cool!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Capando Trabajo

My husband decided that he needed to capar trabajo, skip work, on Friday to be with his Gatas. Yes, I am the Gata Mayor of course! He really didn’t SKIP trabajo because he actually took the day off….but for us it was the same! So it was a day of for Mami y Papi and Mami, Papi y Sofía. My suegra always comes on Fridays to stay with Sofía for a couple of hours, so Papi and I went to breakfast all by ourselves. We also snuck off to the stone place to pick out stones for the patio that he is going to install (those will be fun fotos for me, not for him. It will literally be back breaking for him.). Then in the afternoon, we went to the park that we LOVE! Clemyjontri. Sofía even found some other español-speaking friends! It is very easy to do at that park as there are always people from all parts of the mundo. Sofía hates the swings but loves to go down the slide!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Un Día en el Parque con Papi

Sofía and her Papi spent Saturday afternoon together. Just the two of them. Alone. No Mami. I went to a baby shower and since it was Saturday, Sofía got to spend the afternoon with her Papi. This doesn’t happen much. I’m a stickler about spending as much time together as a family, so I normally don’t go anywhere without the other two on the weekends. We do everything together, well, as much as we can, because I think that we spend the majority of the time apart. If I need to do something that I can’t do with Sofía, I try to do it when la Abuela comes to stay with Sofía because when Papi is home, that is our family time. But this one time, I went somewhere by myself and the other two stayed home together. They sent me a foto!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

¡El Tenedor!

Sofía used a tenedor, a fork, for the first time today! This might not seem like a big deal, but for us, the first-time parents, it is. She ate from the tenedor and also took the tenedor and fed herself. She grabbed the tenedor and tried to put food on it, but it didn’t work out so much. That’s ok because practice makes perfect! Thanks Viviana! Does the background music sound familiar to anyone? I actually did something that I almost NEVER do, and I put her “Baby Signing Times” DVD on while she ate. I was trying to multi-task because she never has time to watch the DVD and since this is a new one, I wanted to “break her in”. See how engrossed she is with it! Anyway, this video clip is much longer than necessary, but I wanted to save it all for her when she gets older!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Espinacas y Galletas

Sofía is soo funny! She decided to eat espinaca patties and galletas at the same time! Go figure!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Mi Gata Camina!!

Sofía has been cruising for a long time and has taken some feeble steps here and there, but this morning, she woke up and decided that she was going to walk and that is exactly what she did. Check out my Gatita!

Bilingual School

Last week Sofía, my husband, and I went to Kindergarten Orientation. I know it sounds ridiculous, but here is why. There is a true bilingual, Spanish-English, school in the district where I used to work. I have been familiar with the school for quite some time for various professional reasons. When I used to work in Dual Language programs, I became convinced that Key Elementary School has one of the best programs in the country. So I knew that when I had a child, I wanted her to go to Key School. The only problem is that we don’t live in that district. It used to be that employees could pay a small out of district tuition fee (very small) and their children could attend school where they worked. Although this benefit is still in play, Key Elementary is not one of the schools where the children can attend. So the only way that Sofía can attend the school is if we live in the exact zoning of Key Elementary. The problem is that we don’t want to move because we love our house, the area, and the neighborhood. My husband is more inclined to build a house again than buy one and there just isn’t affordable land in the area. ¡Ay Dios Mío! We will figure something out! Here is a foto of Sofía playing outside of the school. We were under this Lilac Trellis and the sun was shining and there was a warm breeze! It was awesome! Doesn't she look hilarious?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

No Me Molestes!

Here is Sofía watching her Baby Signing Times DVD.  Wow!  What a look!  ¡Intensa! She seems to be saying, "Don't bother me!  Can't you see I'm REALLY busy!"

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Ah the Good Ole Days of Graciela!

Take a moment and think back (probably not all that far back) about what was the most difficult thing about having your first baby. Heck…who am I kidding….it is still the same thing now. The constant cooking and cleaning that I try to juggle in between providing an entertaining, stimulating, and learning environment for Sofía. After first having her, it was just physically taxing for me to bend over and pull my sweats on, let alone gather all my clothes for the laundry and schlep that huge, bulky laundry basket overflowing with clothes to the laundry room located in Egypt and then bend over and stuff all those clothes in the machine. Oh dear God just remembering it makes me winded. Now take another moment to think about what it would be like to have some fairy godmother that would cook and clean up everything for you. You would have lunch or dinner prepared for you. You wouldn’t have to do the dishes, you wouldn’t have to fold your own clothes, and you wouldn’t have to even THINK about taking out the trash. Imagine how much more quality time you could spend with your little one! All you would be responsible for would be the actual raising of your child! Wow! This is how many, many, if not the slight majority of Latin American Women get to raise their children. Without passing judgment on cheap labor, I must say, I do miss the days of Good Ole Graciela. She used to come to my house only once a week. She cleaned, she cooked and she ran whatever errands I needed done. She even went to the grocery store for me! Every now and then, I fantasize about how to smuggle her into the country and work for us. Oh my goodness….how wonderful it would be to have her make Sofía and I huevos pericos, tostadas and jugo fresco just one morning even and all I would have to do is just arrive at the table and leave when I’m finished. No dishes, no preparation, and no cleaning! A girl can fantasize can’t she?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Learning Tower

A friend of mine has the Learning Tower for her kids to help out in the kitchen. She really loves it and recommends it highly! (Thanks Becky!) We do lots of baking and cooking (I’m the baking, my husband the cooking) and I’ve been involving Sofía in both of them since she was born. I can no longer (and have not been able to for quite some time) put her in her bouncy chair on the island to participate in the processes. When I saw this, I thought it would be the perfect solution! I also love how it has other functions as well. After doing some research, I found out that there are some products very similar, one in particular folds away well, but it doesn’t have the adjustable levels to accommodate as your child grows. The only downfall that I see right now is that it is a bit pricey and let’s face it, we have only one income! Did I also mention that I want a patio and a child’s bike seat and new clothes for Sofía because she grows like a dandelion?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Homemade Signs

As I mentioned in my other posts about Sofía’s signing, she makes up her own signs. The only problem is that we don’t know what they mean. But finally we learned!! She made up a sign for Cheerios! I wish I could get a pic of her doing it, but I see that as virtually impossible. She is also able to apply her knowledge of a word in various contexts. For example, when something comes out of the oven, she signs hot. I told her that we needed to heat up her broccoli patty before she could eat it and she signed hot. Today, she was outside cruising in her carrito and she bent down to touch the asphalt and signed hot. And every time we walk by our neighbor’s house who have doggies, she signs dog regardless of if they are outside or not. The Human Brain is pretty amazing!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Place Settings

Every Easter we decorate huevos for every guest that comes to our house and we make a mini-Easter basket to mark his or her place at the table. On the Easter huevos, we put the person’s name and my husband draws something specific to that person. For example, his father loves soccer, so he drew a soccer ball. This is what it looks like. Sofía had two gatos on her huevo.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter Huevo Hunt

We held an Easter brunch at our house for some family and friends. Marnix and his family came over even though they have a new baby that isn’t even two weeks old!! There were a few other kiddies as well. After brunch, the little ones went out in the back yard hunting for Huevos! Sofía and Marnix were THRILLED to be outside and THRILLED to share their huevos back and forth!  Sofía had to change out of her Easter dress so that she could roll around in the grass!
A cultural side note:  Now you will be able to find some US commercial Easter things such as chocolate bunnies and huevos in various parts of Latin America.  It was not very common less than ten years ago.  The idea of the Easter Bunny and hunting for huevos doesn't exist in Latin America, to my knowledge.  If there are some things, then they have been brought from the US, but are not culturally specific to that region. 

Here is something that was in the Easter basket that Los Abuelos gave to Sofía!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Tarjeta de Pascua

Dr. Kata sent Sofía an Easter present that she just adores and is so perfect because we do a lot of baking and cooking with Sofía.

Almost better than the gift (almost) was the card. Since explaining it can’t possibly do justice….I’ve included it below! Hope it makes you laugh like it did me!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Preparing for Pascua

We are preparing for Easter or Pascua at our house. Usually I make my poor husband hunt for eggs and his Easter basket in the morning. Last year he did it with Sofía who was only a few months old. This year she will be able to find her own! And love the eggs she does. We are hosting a brunch at our house on Sunday and a few of our friends have children, so we decided to do an Egg Hunt outside for them. As we were preparing the plastic eggs with their little surprises, Sofía became interested in the plastic eggs, not the candy, the eggs. She spent some long quality focused time trying to snap the egg back together in place. She didn’t want ME to do it for her, she insists on doing it herself…with one hand!