It’s been a while since we’ve done this, so we think we’re due for another round of letting you be the experts. After all, you live in a bilingual environment day in and day out; that in itself makes you an expert–a voice to be heard.
Sarah Kalert reads our site from her new home in Chile. She has enthusiastically agreed to let you weigh in on the issue she is facing while raising her son using the OPOL method.
“While I love reading SpanglishBaby, I must translate all advice to the opposite extreme. I am currently raising my 6 month old son in Southern Chile, in a very small town where I am the local English teacher and outside of my students, me and my husband (Chilean) are the only English speakers. We are choosing to raise Henry using the OPOL method as we are unsure what the future holds for our family and may be living back and forth between our English and Spanish speaking families.
But back to my question, I have had a very difficult time these first 6 months communicating only in English with my son when other people are around, as when we are visiting friends, or especially when my mother-in-law is present. I try my hardest to speak to him in only English and then address the others by repeating what I said to him in Spanish. But, many are so “sin vergüenza” they either get upset with me or downright tell me its rude to speak to him and not let them understand. I know its not their business and I can converse with my son as I feel, but it is still difficult and I often find myself falling into just Spanish after being somewhere for more than a short period.
I don’t want to become a shut in but I would love some advice on how to handle such situations and what you have found works best, in both managing speaking to my son, and in what to say to the rest of those around.
Thank you so much!