Bilingual is Better
Jul
29
2010

Strictly Speaking…

Posted by:  |  Category: Bicultural Vida, Daily Blog

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Photo credit: Micah Sittig

I have had several adventures and challenges that have helped me prepare for motherhood. I believe they have prepped me for the stamina, patience, and determination I would need to raise a little one. For instance, I volunteered in what was known as the poorest region of Central America for six weeks when I was 21.  I spent day and night with a family of 12 in Lempira, Honduras. My “room” was used for storage. It had several bags of rice, mice, and often times bee’s would swarm in whenever we lit our candle as there was no electricity or running water. I also survived a four-year university after being put on academic probation. No, not because I was partying, but because I didn’t know how to study. Eventually I did graduate and go on to higher education. For many years I was a runner. I participated in several 5k’s, 10k’s, and half-marathons. I could go on with how life has introduced challenges to me that have helped me be a mother. I believe there’s truth to the conclusion I have come to based on my reflections because I am after all 34 years old and a first time mom. I truly feel like I have lived prior to baby. What have I concluded? Well that being a mom is probably the absolute hardest thing I have had to do in my 34 years of living. There are so many elements to consider that make it challenging and for that reason alone I feel like that’s why strictly speaking in Spanish to my bebita has been difficult.

It’s been over a month since our little Sabrina has entered our lives. I must admit the first three weeks seemed like Newborn Boot Camp for Moms! We are now in our 5th week and I am finally starting to feel like a somewhat normal human being.

In my last posting I mentioned that you never fully know how you will react in any given situation until you are fully immersed. I also provided stats about Sabrina’s birth. The most important piece of information other than that she was a healthy baby was, to me at least, that the first few utterances she heard from her mami & papi were in Spanish.

It seems like after those first few words our little family’s world completely took off! So many events occurred. Baby went to get a bath, I took a nap and woke up speaking in my sleep, we switched rooms, we tried nursing for the first time, we started getting visitors, AND to top it all off our journey into sleep deprivation which would last weeks began. In fact I am not sure it has really ended. My aspirations of strictly speaking Spanish to our little guaguita (Quechua for baby) were dissipating right before my eyes. Speaking in Spanish was the last thing I was thinking about while trying to survive in my sleep-deprived world. What bothers me the most is that we speak what comes most naturally in times of distress, right?

Since Sabrina was born Spanish and English seem to float in and out of our daily lives. Every once in a while we mention how we should really just stick to Spanish, BUT the fact of the matter is that we live in Texas! Spanish and English are constantly being spoken and sometimes within the same sentence. I guess you can say we have adapted to the local way of speaking.

As we seem to return to a NEW “normal” way of life I find my goals of immersing our baby in a trilingual life more and more doable. This coming week I plan on going to the library to check out French language CD’s to continue learning a third language. To my surprise it’s my husband, Marcus that is pushing and encouraging us to only use our Spanish with our bebita. I think it’s more natural for him because he has actually lived in a Spanish speaking country for an extended amount of time. I never have AND am dying to do so! As my personal blog states I have strictly been living a bilingual life in the US, therefore it’s hard to live it monolingually, if you will.

So as I was saying I have had A LOT of time, especially while nursing, to reflect about our new life with Sabrina. After weeks of reflecting I have come to the conclusion that THIS, being a mom, is probably the hardest thing I have EVER had to do in life, but I am still hopeful that as our life settles into place our goal to live a trilingual life will also find a place in our new life with Baby Sabrina.

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