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, June 30, 2011
Bedtime Stories of a Language Nerdo’s Child
After Tío and Tía Cathy left to return to their own casa, Sofía started to insist that I put her to bed instead of Papi. We sat in the rocker and she snuggled back in my brazos, kicked up her little patitas and instead of calming down and beginning a rich drifting into sleep, she put herself into fifth gear. It started with, “Mami, ¿Cómo se llama…..” (Mami, what is the name of…). I would respond to her, “¿Quieres decir, ‘¿Cómo se dice …. en inglés?” And that started her quest to find out how to say anything and everything en inglés. After I would tell her how to say a certain word en inglés, she would repeat it, nod her head and say, “Okay” and then move on to the next word. There are three favorite stories about her questioning that stick out in my head.
“Mami, ¿Cómo se llama…um, um…árbol?” “¿Cómo se dice ‘árbol’ en inglés? En inglés se dice, ‘tree’. “¡Oh, Mami, dos palabras, árbol o tree! (Oh Mami, two words, árbol or tree!)
My other favorite is soup.
“Mami, ¿Cómo se llama…um, um…sopa?” “¿Cómo se dice ‘sopa en inglés? En inglés se dice, ‘soup’.
“Soupppppppppp” (She drags out the p and sprays us laughing.)
When I corrected her, she laughed. Now whenever she hears the word “sopa” she likes to say it her special way en “inglés”.
The last anécdota is about Papi.
We were trying to get back into the routine of Papi putting Sofía to sleep at night. I told her that she could still ask how to say things en inglés and that Papi could answer her. Her response, “No. ¡ Papi no sabe inglés!” (No. Papi doesn’t know English!)