Bilingual is Better

Mami, hoy es January?

That’s my 5-year-old asking from the back seat.

I’m thrilled — finally the kids are getting the hang of time — the difference between seconds, minutes, days and months. But his question is also a harsh reminder.

He is learning most of these new concepts in school.

In school, they teach purely in English.

And now the corollary — my husband and I, their only Spanish teachers, will never be able to keep up.

We had recently given ourselves some real pats on the back. Congrats to us! Our twins are 5 and are still speaking Spanish! We “made it.” And yet, the more time goes by, the more I realize the quest to raise bilingual kids never, ever (ever, ever, you get the point) ends.

They grow, they learn — and they need to do both in two languages. Somehow, somewhere, between trying to raise well-mannered, confident, curious beings, between instilling a work ethic, love of books and a sense of spirituality and empathy — we’re talking basics here people, not Tiger Mom stuff — we still have to find time to ensure that their Spanish progresses.

I didn’t actually expect to reach this point now. About a month ago, I had decided that since the kids’ language skills were on solid footing, I’d dedicate 2013 to go a step further to teach them more about their Hispanic heritage. Over Christmas, I wrote up a whole plan, a timeline, links to all the books and projects we were going to tackle so that they could learn more  about la madre patria, and Latin America and the Caribbean in general.  But then came enero, and the questions from the back seat.

I am tired.

Last year, I wrote a post on six things I wish I’d known before I started raising bilingual kids.

I’ll add another: I wish I’d known this process was life long.

I wouldn’t have changed course, but I would have adjusted my expectations.

{Photo by popofatticus}

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