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, March 28, 2011

Libro de Gatitos

Sofía’s Tío and Tía Kathy gave her a Little Gato book for her cumpleaños. She read it to me the other day while I changed her.  It went like this:  “Algunos gatitos dis. Amén.”

Friday, March 25, 2011


Before I left Sofía with her abuela this morning, I told her that I had to go and “hacer vueltas” which means to run some errands. Litteraly, a vuelta is a circle as in to move oneself in a circle, like if I wanted you to turn all the way around so that I could see your outfit, I would use the word vuelta. When I returned and we were eating our almuerzo, Sofía was telling me what she and her Abuela did while I was gone. She told me and then said, “Mami vueltas.” and made circles with her pointer finger. I laughed…. “si, Mami hizo vueltas”.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Dos Manos

“Dos manos Mami”  Sofía tells me as we are driving down the road.  I kind of shake my head in bewilderment and think I didn’t hear what I thought I heard.  But again, Sofía tells me, “Dos manos Mami.”  I was indeed only driving with one hand at the time.  I put both hands on the wheel and asked her if she wanted me drive with two hands on the wheel.   “Si, dos manos Mami.”  I of course tested it out and each time my second hand came off the wheel, I heard the same cantaleta, “Dos manos Mami.”

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Los Elefantes

Every year Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus comes to the metropolitan DC area.  When they arrive to the city, they parade the elefantes from the train station to center of town where the circus is held.  Sofía and I skipped nap time and went downtown to see the spectacle.  I thought that there would be a LOT of people, but there weren’t.  We waited for those elefantes right on the sidewalk next to the closed off street.   I was probably more into the entire fuss than Sofía.  There was a small parade of clowns and acrobats and various animales.  It was really quite cool to see elefantes walk down the middle of a street. 

The entire parade lasted no more than four minutes.  We had waited over an hour and half because we arrived early in case there was traffic or road closures etc…(None of that happens by the way.  When the police hear the elfantes coming, they close the road and the cars must wait for the parade to go by.)  While we waited, we hung out in the outdoor park at the United States Botanical Gardens.  It was a beautiful day and Sofía really enjoyed it.  In fact, she tired herself out so much that by the time the parade came around, she was almost comatose!  Sofía’s favorite part of the parade was not the elfantes, but the payasos (clowns) which I didn’t get a foto of!

Monday, March 21, 2011


In an earler post, I mentioned that Sofía is obsessed with the movie Ratatouille. She continues to be obsessed with it. In the beginning of the movie, el Chefcito climbs out on a ledge and has an espectacular view of París and the Torre de Eiffel. She now recognizes the Torre. Yesterday, we were running errands and I told her that we would stop to eat somewhere. This is how the conversation transpired, en Español of course.

Mami: We are going to stop at a restuarante to eat.

Sofía: ¿París?

Mami: París like where Ratatouille Ratatouille eats?

Sofía; Si, París like Ratatouille.

Mami: Well, I’m not sure if we can find París around here or not, but we can look.

Sofía: Eat in París.

Our París turned out to be Burger King. (I’m embarrassed but, we needed food REALLy fast!) We are at the counter waiting for our food.

Sofía: Is this París?

Mami: No, this is not París. I’m sorry Bebé, but we are going to have to wait for Papi before we go and eat in París. Don’t you think that Papi would want to eat in París with us?

Sofía: Papi, Mami, Sofía eat París.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Las Flores

Today is the last day of posts in the mini-series of our aniversario. The flowers in Peru are exotically beautiful. Unfortunately, I didn’t think to take fotos of all the flower arrangements, but we do have a few. After our second date, my husband sent me flowers. I didn’t know what to do! Not only was he the first man I had dated to send me flowers…..I had always said that the first man to send me flowers would be the man I marry! So I used a foto of that bouquet to show our wedding florists what I wanted to be used as our centerpieces and bridesmaid’s bouquets. They were gorgeous!

When I arrived to my suite the night before the wedding, these roses are what awaited me. My husband sent them to me….just because.

Friday, March 18, 2011

La Pachamanca

Today’s post of the mini-series our aniversario is fun and cultural.  Yesterday, I explained about our adventure at the Hacienda the day after our wedding.  At the Hacienda, we were lucky enough to partake in a Pachamanca which is a ceremonious event to cook a typical Peruvian dish or dishes in a hot-stone pit.  The origins of a Pachamanca go back to the Incas.  Once the pit is covered, Padrinos of the Pachamanca are chosen to ceremoniously dance around the pit and kind of “give it a blessing” as it starts to cook.  We chose guests from each side of our families.  You will have to ignore all the noise from the videographer….crazy bride flapping her mouth!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

La Hacienda

As I mentioned before, the day after our wedding, our close family went to an Hacienda where we saw a fantastic horse show and partook in a Pachamanca.  A Pachamanca is a ceremonious event to cook a typical Peruvian dish in hot stones in the ground.  While that was cooking, we were entertained by a horse show featuring Peruvian Caballos de Paso.  I put together a brief photo story of the process of preparing the Pachamanca and the horse show.  You can see how the cooks layered the pit with the food (beef, pork, tamales, corn, papas, etc..) and bricks and banana leaves.  Tomorrow’s post is the ceremonious dance over the covered pit!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Culinary Weekend Celebration

In continuing my mini-series on our Aniversario and sharing some fun cultural tidbits that we incorporated into our wedding weekend in Peru, I mentioned that it really was a Culinary Weekend Celebration.  Our Rehearsal Dinner took place after we went to Tea at a local Country Club.  Tea also included an array of little appetizers that could have sufficed as dinner itself….we just didn’t know that!  So our Rehearsal Dinner was held at Restaurante Brujas de Cachiche.  We specifically wanted dinner to be filled with yummy traditional Peruvian food (served in traditional clay plots) for everyone - foreigners, Peruvians who have lived outside of Perú for many years as well as the locals.  My brother is a professional photographer and so I asked him to take fotos of each dish so that I could use it as a teaching tool with my students.  It was a very wise move!  My mouth is watering just thinking about all the platos!!  ¡Qué deli!
Picarones:  Fried squash fritter rings with syrup


Causa:   Mashed potato and Tuna roll

Salmon y alcaparras:  Salmon and capers

Pulpo al Olivo:  Octopus in olive oil.

Camote y Choclo:  Sweet Potatoes and Corn

Ensalada de Habas:  Faba Bean salad

Fried Yucca.

Papas-Yellow potatoes, which are originally from Peru, served with Salsa a la Huancaina, a hot cheese sauce.

Chorros a la Chalaca:  Mussles with onion, tomato, and aji.

Escabeche de Pescado:  Fried fish with onion sauce

Tacu Tacu:  Peruvian-style refried beans and rice

Rocoto Relleno:  stuffed rocoto peppers...very very hot!

Pastel de Papa:  Peruvian potato bake

Torta de Tres Leches


Carapulcra:  Dried potato stew

Pescado Saltado: Fish, potato, tomato and onion mix

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

¡Feliz Aniversario!

Today is our aniversario! I am reposting last year’s aniversario post because well, nothing has really changed! I still married the Man of My Dreams and I still LOVED our wedding weekend! (Sofía was born 11 months after!) I have learned a little bit more about videos and so over the next few days, I am going to post a couple of fun videos from our wedding weekend as well as some fotos my brother took for me of our Rehearsal Dinner with typical Peruvian Food. My husband once again took the day off to celebrate our aniversario together as a family. Sofía REALLY enjoyed watching the recording of the wedding this year—she recognized the majority of her family too! 
The short video at the end is a little summary clip that the videographer put together for us.  If you look carefully you can see some really neat things about Peru in the video.  The flowers were exotically gorgeous and you can see that in the bridesmaids’ bouquets.  Lima is really a desert and you can see the contrast of the brown sandy cliffs up against the ocean.  An impromptu traditional Peruvian dance, La Marinera, sprung out on the dance floor complete with white handkerchiefs/napkins!  And finally, Lima is in the middle of Summer in March, so we are dripping with sweat in the 90 degree heat!  The video ends abruptly….sorry, I’m still not THAT good with the technology!
Originally published Marzo 15, 2010
¡Nuestro Aniversario!
Today is our wedding aniversario! I loved our wedding! (I should say we loved our wedding!) Well, the first reason I loved our wedding is because I married the Man of My Dreams and I couldn’t ask for anything more of him, not one thing; he is perfecto! The other not-nearly-as-important reason why I loved out wedding is that we had a destination wedding. I insisted that we have a destination wedding because I just thought it would be so much more fun for everyone to go somewhere. We decided on Perú which is from where my husband is. We had a blast! What we really had was a culinary weekend celebration! If you don’t know anything about the food in Perú, you are missing out on one of the finest cuisines in the world! We combined various traditions from different cultures in our celebrations and had so much fun! We had 20 people (only 10 of them being from my side!) come from the USA and the other 40 was the part of my husband’s family that still live in Perú. So it was a small wedding filled with the most important people to us. (It was also nice because much of my husband’s family traveled to Perú for the first time in many years since they emigrated from there and brought their offspring, also for the first time.) The day before the wedding, the people who came from afar went on a tour of the city and then we went to Peruvian Tea time. The rehearsal dinner was typical Peruvian food. After the wedding ceremony in the church, we had a Champaign brindis (a toast) with appetizers and the food at the reception was an array of sea food al la Peruana. The next day, our close family went to an Hacienda where we saw a fantastic horse show and partook in a Pachamanca which is a ceremonious event to cook a typical Peruvian dish in hot stones in the ground. It was a LOT of eating in three little days. There are so many other details that I won’t bore you with—a live trio, an orchestra with dancing and balloons, the choir at the church with moonlighters from the Peruvian National Symphony----- We have a beautiful DVD of the wedding complete with traditional and meaningful songs that my husband picked out to accompany it. I love to watch it and decided that every year on our aniversario, that we would watch it and reminisce with Sofía and hopefully her siblings. I’m not sure how much she got out of it last year, but she has many more years ahead of her to catch every detail! My husband took the day off so that we could be together today to celebrate as a family. I would love to hear how other people celebrate their aniversarios or why their weddings were special to them.

Monday, March 14, 2011


Sofía has nicknames, apodos, which she uses for her familia and amigos. At first, I wasn’t sure if apodos would be the correct name to call it because I wasn’t sure if she could pronounce some of the names completely and that was the way the words were coming out of her mouth or if she was making a choice to say the names. Most of them are apodos with the few exceptions of certain sounds like ‘F’ when it is followed or preceded by certain vowels.

Anyway, here they are:

Tía Emma – a real name. But her husband is Luis Miguel whom Sofía refers to as Tío Emma.

Tía – is my sister, her only blood related Tía.

Tío or Tío Sisipe - is Tío Felipe.

Tío Cisco – is Tío Francisco. Tío Francisco has a son that they call Cisco. Sofía learned his name immediately and decided that the rest of the family should have his name too. Cisco’s sister, Bianca is also called Cisca. (At least Sofía has grasped the concept of gender…amazing isn’t it! Some of these grammatical “rules” are innate according to Linguists.

Lolo – is Abuelo. Sofía can say ‘abuelo’ when she wants to, she just likes Lolo.

Primo Ryan- is Sofía’s cousin whom she has only seen twice, but has for some reason stuck in her head. She talks about him all the time. Very funny.

Yun-ka-ka – is my Dutch friend, and mother of Sofía’s friend Marnix. Her name is Jonneke.

Baby Nachi- is Nacho the gato, whose name was Sofía’s first word.

Fufu-isthe other gato, Fulanito, or Fufu for short. Sofía is funny when she makes the ‘F’ sound in Fufu. She doesn’t verbalize it with an open mouth, it is almost as if she says it through her nose---there is no open mouth or lips moving and you can hear the air escape through her nostrils.

I’m always Mami, but Papi can be Papi or Papito depending on her mood! Oh…and we can’t forget her stuffed peluche el perro. His name is Perro, but Sofía NEVER says the name Perro. She either signs, “dog”, or calls him, “Wuf Wuf”!
I'm sure there will be more to come soon!

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Pecigalletis (prnounced pez - y - galleties) This is a new word that Sofía made up. She uses it to refer to these.

Since en español, galletas, is the word for both cracker and cookie, she wants to be sure we know EXACTLY what galleta she wants!  And yes, we eat the integrales, the whole grains!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Carros del Supermercado

Hoy, I discovered a way to FINALLY be able to go the mercado with Sofía. It was kind of embarrassing at first, and I didn’t know if she was going to like it or not and I was kind of turned-off by the dinginess of the carro, but it worked like magia.

It worked soo well, that she threw a little pataleta when I tried to put her in our car to go home. She insisted on going back to the front of the store to try out the other color carros. So since I couldn’t believe that is exactly what she wanted, that is exactly what we did!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Elmo Va Al Baño

If you are looking for resources en Español for your baby, toddler, or preschooler, really, is there any better place than the internet? I found this great video on YouTube about using the baño. (I was looking for an alphabet song and stumbled across it) We are in the pre-potty training stage at our house, so not only will it be thematic appropriate, I know Sofía will LOVE the canciones, música, and personajes. If you are looking for a specific resourse and can't seem to find it, let me know.  I don't necessarily post about all the cool stuff I find, although I try to!

Monday, March 7, 2011


Mi familia has been making pizzelles for as long as I can remember. In our casa, Fridays were Pizzelle days. So it goes without saying that my husband, Sofía and I also make pizzelles. We like to do it…we feel it really is a process that requires more than one person, so making them is nice bonding time. If you don’t know what Pizzelles are, you can go here and get a synopsis. But basically they are a traditional Italian waffle galleta. Not everyone can make pizzelles as they require a pizzelle iron….so it makes a nice treat for special occasions or gifts. 
Today, Sofía actively participated in the making our pizzelles!

Sofía mixed the masa.
Then she rolled the masa into balls just like Mami.

The balls were weighed and placed on the pizzelle iron to “bake”.

Then pizzelles are moved to cooling racks so they don’t get soggy as they cool.

Here Sofía is making silly faces as she waits to try her first pizzelle of the day.

No fotos of her eating the pizzelles….I can’t possibly eat and take a foto at the same time!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Las Pepitas de Cerezas

In a recent post, I talked about how Language is Culture and one really can’t separate the two.  If you are going to learn a different language you must also learn the culture of the language.  This is too deep of a topic to delve into right now, but I wanted to share a cute anécdota that Sofía picked up on yesterday.  She decided that she wanted to eat uvas, grapes, instead of cerezas, (not to be confused with cerVeza!), cherries.  So I ate the cerezas.  And like any good Latina would do, I inconspicuously spit the pepita, seed, into my closed fisted hand and secretly slid it onto my plate.  She seemed to be intrigued by this.  So since she didn’t have any pepitas in her uvas, she made me spit them into HER mano and then she not-so-secretly, put them onto her plate!  I don’t know what other countries do this besides some Spanish-speaking ones. I also don’t know if in España this is done or not.  I like it much better than the practice that we often see in La USA and at dos años, I’m glad that Sofía has picked up on it already!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Pijama Day

Today was a Día de Pijamas.  No particular reason.  Sofía just never made it out of her pijamas.  I think this is more of a reflection on me than on her since she doesn’t dress herself.  But the entire day was kind of a lazy day and we ended it by a lazy dinner….Pizza delivered from Pizza Hut!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

¡A Cantar!

Sofía LOVES to cantar.  In a previous post, I mentioned how she woke up in her cuna cantando “Happy Bithday.”    Now as soon as she wakes up, she starts cantando. She has also expanded her repertoire of canciones.  She will cantar a canción from our Music Class that is like this: “Hola _____, Hola _____ gusto verte hoy.”  She usually fills in the blanks with the names of her friends and family but also whatever object or animal that comes to mind.  This morning it was “la caja” (box) and “mami”.  There is another little jingle en Español that she will belt out:  Mi Mamá me mima, mi mamá me ama, mi mamá me ama, mi mamá me mima.  The words itself aren’t as important as the play on sounds and blends.  She of course continues to sing “Happy Bithday yo” or to whomever she feels like singing it to that morning.  The last canciones that Sofía will sing are the silly canciones that I make up for her during the day. These are my favorite because they really keeps me on my toes.   I’m still trying to find a way to record her and share it with you.  So meanwhile, I will leave you with a YouTube audio song of Ella Fitzgerald singing “Blue Moon” which has been our most recent dinner time entertainment.  We sing the refrain in Español, Inglés, and we simultaneously sign it! 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

La Torre de Legos

Three weeks ago, Sofía didn’t want anything to do with her nuevos Legos. This morning, she ran over to me with her nuevo Lego torre in her mano and said, “Mírala” (Look at it.).  She was very proud!
The Legos have various numbers and drawings on them. She was pointing out the numbers and drawings and identifying them to me. “uno, manzana, cinco”. Later she returned again and said, “Este qué es?” This is the first time she has asked a question with three words together. “Es el número 7.”, I answered her. She was satisfied and ran back to make more torres!
Sofia inspects her torre de Legos.