I’m Expecting Another SpanglishBaby

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I'm Expecting Another SpanglishBaby

As I get ready to send my 5-year-old boy to kindergarten, I also get to start the journey over again….with a new baby! I’m currently 11 weeks pregnant (due right around Christmas!), and couldn’t be more excited to welcome a sweet SpanglishBaby into our home. This will be our fourth child in total, but our first child together.

I feel fully prepared for the pregnancy and birth itself, but as we all know, having a newborn in the house brings a different set of concerns altogether. Ironically, the part I’m most thrilled about is also strapping me with anxiety: making sure this child is also bilingual.

We have become so used to speaking mostly English in our home, since my son gets his Spanish at his father’s house and my stepdaughters reinforce theirs at church, with their abuelos, and at school. It will be an adjustment to speak more Spanish in general, and especially to the degree of exposure that a new baby will require. My husband and I have discussed the many ways we could approach it, and have decided to try the One Parent One Language method — he will speak Spanish and I’ll speak English to the baby. Although I’m confident that this will be effective, I’m apprehensive about the new rules we’ll have to remember to follow.

In addition to sticking to one language each, we know that we need to have more Spanish in our house in general to compensate for the English our child will be hearing from his/her siblings. So, my husband and I are also going to try speaking exclusively Spanish to each other. This will be a 180-degree switch for us, since we currently only use Spanish with each other when we’re around Spanish-speaking friends and family. I guess it’s always been more comfortable for us to have our private conversations and daily exchanges in English, so it’s going to take some effort to change that.

Of course, a new life is always worth the sacrifices and changes we parents make! I anticipate that we’ll have to get a head start and try switching to Spanish in the coming weeks, because our Navidad baby will be here before we know it.

Perhaps the hardest part of the language transition will be stepping back a bit from Spanish myself. I know that it is best for a little one to hear native speakers, and since I’m a native English speaker and my husband is a native Spanish speaker, we need to stick to those languages, respectively. However, it bums me out a little that I won’t be able to exercise my Spanish skills with my child until we have established a pattern and decide it’s okay to deviate from that occasionally. I spoke only Spanish to my son for nearly three years, so it may be a tough reality to use English with my new bebé. My only exception is reading: I can’t see myself giving up Spanish bedtime stories with either of my kids!

Hopefully the strange mix of ages, language use and schedules in our home will only serve to make our busy life more fun.

Do you have any suggestions for making the switch to OPOL or speaking to your spouse in your second language?

 {Image by tommo4074 }

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