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.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Signing Times Versión En Español

Since we are strong believers and promoters of the Baby Signing Times DVD series, I feel compeled to write a small review about our recent purchase of the Signing Times VOL 2 DVD.  In a recent post, I commented on how we purchased the new edition of the Signing Times DVD because they have included an audio track en Español and so we needed to check it out.  I’ll keep it short and sweet.  It is HORRIBLE!!! Horrible, horrible, horrible.   I had issues with it even before making the purchase.  I think that if they are going to include an Español language track that everything should be en Español including the songs.  I’m sure that it would be incredibly difficult to write songs en  Español to the same caliber as the English versions, but not everything in life is easy.  I can live with this though.  Where I have the main complaint is in the production.  It is HORRIBLEMENTE produced.  ¡Horrible!  The parts where Rachel Coleman is giving the vocabulary and explaining how to make the signs is dubbed en Español.  They are such short and infrequent segments that I can live with the dubbing, which I usually hate.  But the sound track en Español is placed OVER the sound in English and YOU CAN STILL HEAR THE ENGLISH SIMULATANEOUSLY DURING THE ESPAÑOL!!!  In some parts, the English will start first and then the overlay of the Español will begin.  What a real disappointment from Two Hands Production.  It is embarrassing.  The majority of the other parts are fine.  They have native speakers and there really is an adequate amount of Español that I would be ok with it if the dubbing was not so incredibly horrible.  With that said, here is the KICKER:  sofía loves the darn DVD!  She asks for it by name and sign.  I think that Baby Signing Times is much more entertaining and appropriate for youngsters, but for some reason (I would like to think for the language, but that is Language Nerdo fantasizing.) she loves it.  She loves it so much that I unfortunately had to purchase the only other two DVDs with Español also.   Ugh….

Friday, November 26, 2010

Viaje a Thanksgiving

Every year at Thanksgiving, we make the 5 hour viaje to Ohio to visit my family. Last year we learned that a 5 hour viaje with an infant equals 10. Sofía hates the car, so frequent stops are necessary. Now that we have the carro nuevo, the great MiniVan, it does make travel un poquito más cómodo. It only took us between 7 and 8 hours this time. What really helped was the fact that when Sofía cold no longer entertain herself, we could as a last resort, play her favorite DVD of her canciones en Español. This is particularly helpful when it starts to get dark outside or you keep passing the same terrain over and over and over again. How many times can you make seeing a cow or a horse sound interesting to a 22-month-old? The other issue about Sofía during viajes is that she doesn’t sleep. So this foto that I snuck in of her during her only 40 minute snooze is, as MasterCard would say, “Priceless”!

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Before Thanksgiving every year, we try to make a large donación of food and since Sofía was born, we have included her in the ritual because we think it is important that she learn about giving to others in need. My husband used to make his donaciones to general organizations like Toys for Tots before he met me. Then it became personal. Sure, I think that everyone feels a twinge in their hearts when they make a donación to their churches or food banks because they wish that they could help more people out. That’s just it, they are people. People who need your help, who, in the majority of the cases, you don’t know, but who you know need your help. I think it is another story when you are a teacher. You see these children every day, in every situation. You notice that when it starts to get cold outside, that the students who don’t come dressed in coats, don’t because they don’t have one. Or maybe they come to school with the same clothes on every day. In my case, our school had some 320 students and out of them, 55 families were given food baskets for Thanksgiving last year. That’s just the number of families, I can’t give you the number of kids because some have multiple children, but there are at least 55 kids affected. Donaciones to the “needy” becomes a whole different ball game when you know these kids and their families personally. One doesn’t worry so much about the students who live in homeless shelters because, there, the students and their families receive clothing, food and school supplies all year long. (We worry about them for other reasons, but not for these basic human needs.) The majority of the families in need, have jobs but aren’t able to make ends meet. They work and they work long hours, so not only can they not always provide for some of the basic needs for their children, they also don’t get to spend time with them which only adds salt to the wound. Many of these families live with extended family members who help out with child care, or often an older sibling will take care of the younger ones. In our case, the majority of these families are Hispanic, but not all of them. Many are from other countries too, (we live in a very diverse region) but again, not all of them. So while the students are in school, we at least know that they are eating breakfast and lunch. We don’t really know about dinner, but at least that will free up some of the burden and mean that the families only need to buy for one meal. If you saw the way some of the students ate breakfast at 6AM….you would understand that they had not eaten since lunchtime. So, when we really worry about the familias and the students is when they are on vacation. If there is no school, there are no free breakfasts and lunches.
So during Thanksgiving and Winter breaks (at least 3 weeks for our area) the school rallies its community together and gives food baskets. The number of familias went down by 10 this year. So 45 people were going to be given food baskets. Last year we made a donación of about 20 pavos. This year we tried to challenge ourselves to buy all the pavos for the families. We did….Gracias a Dios for the minivan!! We unfortunately have no pics of Sofía that day. She had a lot of fun being the center of attention of course. I was prepared to blog about how disgusted I was with humanity and the supermarkets because no one wanted to give us a LITTLE discount for buying so many turkeys. I wanted to write the headquarters of Giant and Safeway because they were ridiculously stingy when so many people really need so much help. No one wanted to help us out or give us any kind of discount. When I spoke with people in person or on the phone (yes, I dragged Sofía with me to the meat counters for some extra empathy) the answer I got was pretty much the same. “We have a lot of people and organizations coming in here buying way more turkeys than you and we just can’t give that amount of people a discount for turkeys or we will lose money.” I told them that if that many people are buying that many turkeys for donaciónes, that means that there are that many people out there without FOOD!!! Everywhere I went, it was the same and it was futile. I came to the realization that none of these butchers and none of these wholesale poultry vendors have ever known someone who was in true need. If they had, they would have at least SHOWN some ounce of empathy. I should correct myself, everywhere was the same except one small supermarket that had a young Latino butcher as a manager. He tried to help us. He made several phone calls, he contacted me daily and when we met, you knew that he also had met many familias who needed a pavo, a box of cereal, soup or a coat. It ended up that he couldn’t even convince his meat managers to meet the competitor’s regular price and he unfortunately could only offer us the regular price…which was in fact DOUBLE the competitor’s regular price. So we were forced to actually buy all 45 pavos elsewhere because of money. That’s fine. We made our donación and we helped some of my former students survive a little less stressed during their vacation from school.
Out of this we decided that between Thanksgiving and Navidad, that we would do some kind of “good deed” with Sofía every week. It is kind of like my own LIVING ADVENT CALENDAR. So next week, we will buy a load of canned goods at Costco to donate to the school again. (What happens is that the food pantry becomes depleted during Thanksgiving food basket time and when the students return to school again, there will be families who will need food again.) The weeks after that, I don’t know what we will do, but I will try to post what happens!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


My husband likes to make wafles or panqueques every Sunday morning. It’s great for traditions but not so hot on the waste line. We recently purchased a stepstool for Sofía to use to wash her hands and we also can use it to help her reach the countertop of the island a little better. This makes for easier helping on her part also. She LOVES to mix things and will tell you about how she did it whenever she sees the item she helped make. This video clip is really from the beginning of Octubre and I’m just now getting around to editing it down, but I figured it would be ok since this is pretty much an every-Sunday-experience.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Hand and Foot Pavo

Sofía and I try to do arts and crafts every week.  Sometimes that works out, sometimes it doesn’t, but hey we try!  For Thanksgiving, we made a pavo, a turkey, Enchanted Learning.   I laminated some cartunlina, construction paper, and then I traced Sofía’s hands and feet.  After labored hours of cutting out those tiny little fingers, we put it all together to make a pavo. We made two.  We kept one and brought the other one to Tío Felipe’s house to hang on the door.  I had no idea how much Sofía liked the activity until afterwards.   She tells the story to people often about how I put her manos down on paper and traced them.  What she does is re-enacts the process.  She evidently really LOVED tracing her hands and feet because she asks to do it often, or I will find her putting her feet on the etch-a-sketch and tracing them herself! 

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Lately Sofía has become very attached to her peluches.  The Perro (that’s his name) she either calls by saying “wow, wow, wow” or signing ‘dog’.  There is the little bear, Pinky, who usually rides in her favorite toy, the stroller.  She says, “Pinky”.  Then there is the mico, monkey, Mateo, who sleeps with her in the cuna.  He is made without anything small that can fall out or off to cause some kind of hazard.  Last but not least, there is the Mickey Mouse peluche that we bought in Disneylandia in Junio.  She either signs “Mickey Mouse” (made by simulating his round ears on your head) or calls him, “Pa – Tí – Ta”.  I don’t know why she doesn’t call him Mickey Mouse because she can say “Mickey” – I’ve heard her actually say it about three times.  For whatever reason, her preference is to say,  “Pa – Tí – Ta”.  So be it then.  She has been asking for her amigos to accompany her in various places now….at the table to eat,  in her cuna during naps, or on her rocker to read to them.  It is all very interesting to watch her mimic things that we do every day.  Here in the foto, her amigos HAD to sit with her during desayuno and I had to feed them the same oatmeal and waffles that she ate! 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Dresses Para Navidad

Not that I’m TRYING deliberately to create a “Minnie Mi”, but how am I supposed to find Sofía a dress for Navidad without having her try on a few?  Well, we tried this one on from Costco.  I liked the dress, and it fit Sofía really well, but look at her!  She looks like she is 23 years old!  Way too much for this Mamá to handle, so we didn’t keep it.  Sofía didn’t really like it anyway….she IS on the floor having a fake berrinche, tantrum, so I took her foto.  I’ll let you see the one we decided on later!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Clifford Libro

Unfortunately I have no fotos of Sofía for this post.  For the first time ever, she decided this afternoon before nap, to sit on her rocking chair and read ME a Clifford libro, page by page, pointing out the pictures and telling me about what was happening in each scene.  I WISH, WISH, WISH, I could have recorded it.  Soooo very sweet. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

All Done

Sofía looked at me and said, "All Done".  I said, Oh terminaste, and she repeated, “all done”.  There were no signs, just frases en Inglés.  Yes, I’m glad that my Signing Times en español is flying though the skies and on its way to my house!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Sequel Part III of Mi Madre is un Language Nerdo: Repeating Frase en Inglés from DVDs

I’ve discussed before in an earlier post how Sofía repeats the vocabulary in English when she is watching Baby Signing Times. I couldn’t be sure that she actually knew the vocab or was just repeating what she heard. Now I know. She has continues to repeat, on a regular basis, what she hears on the DVDs. Lately, much to my chagrin, she will say them with her signs IN CONTEXT! So while she is eating lunch, she will sign “eat” and say, “eat”. I praise her and say, something like, “That’s right, it’s comer.” All this is said en Español of course. (I suppose it never hurts to remind everyone that we only communicate en Español en our casa.)
It was then that I decided to check out the Signing Times DVDs that have been dubbed en Español. Signing Times is the series that follows Baby Signing Times. I’m not sure what to expect. I contacted them and they investigated a little bit for me to find out some questions I had. The intro to the vocab etc…is all done en español, but the songs are NOT translated, they remain en Inglés. We are going to give it a try and see how it works.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Nuevos Zapatos

Sofía has a plethora of new zapatos.  She has grown like a weed and not only do we need new pants, we need new zapatos and a variety of them.  You can’t wear the same zapatos every day!  We decided that this year for her Navidad foto, that she had to have black dressy zapatos, so we luckily found a decent pair for a decent price.  I figured these didn’t have to be top of the line because one or two days weren’t going to interfere with her foot development.  So today we sported a new jumper and new zapatos and Sofía couldn’t be happier.  She ran like a maniac all over the house so that she could hear the sounds of her zapatos.  After her nap, she ran out of her room to where we left her zapatos and insisted on putting them on immediately.  She tapped her zapatos nuevos when she talked to her Papi on the phone to tell him about her nuevos zapatos and when we went to the mall; she showed them to every clerk of every store.  Move over Imelda Marcos, Sofía is growing up! 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

signing Times Thanksgiving Signs

Signing Times has a YouTube video of our much needed Thanksgiving Vocabulary.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


¿Pañal? What pañal, you ask?  Well if you look closely on the floor, you can see what greeted my husband on Sunday morning when he went to retrieve Sofía from her crib.  She has learned (and really likes to) unzip things.  This morning she decided to unzip her pijamas and throw her pañal on the floor.  Stop laughing!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Nuevo Carro

Last night, on Halloween, we bought a nuevo carro.  Bye Bye Jetta, hello MiniVan!  I never thought I would say this….but I FREAKING LOVE the MiniVan!  I feel like that woman on the Toyota Sienna commercials…I could spend hours in the thing.  It has a rear view camara for when I back up, a rear windshield wiper, automatic opening doors and most of all….SPACE!!!  Sofía can say, “automaticas” when talking about the puertas.  I think she is equally as happy as I am!