Bilingual is Better

Bicultural Vida

Our Bilingual Family’s Proudest Holiday Moment

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La Plaza Olvera is where the heart of Mexican culture in Los Angeles beats. This is where all the tourists go to in downtown to get a feel of a traditional plaza with its mercadito, churros, tamales and obligatory knick knacks to buy. But Olvera Street is more than a tourist spot, it’s a historical landmark known as “the birthplace of Los Angeles,” or Nuestra Ciudad de Los Angeles. So imagine how thrilled we were when Camila’s Spanish music teacherRead More ...

Balancing Traditions in a Multicultural Family

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If you are a family with multiple cultures represented, a family that has immigrated to a new country, a mixed race family, an interfaith family, una familia multilingüe, an adoptive family, an expat family, a host family, holidays are a balancing act of choosing “which,” “how,” and “when” to incorporate the different traditions and customs. In our family, my husband is from Mexico, I am from the U.S., and we have two biological daughters, and two sons who are adoptedRead More ...

Why Consistency & Repetition Are Key for Bilingual Kids

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Enzo has made incredible progress in English, and just when I wonder if English has replaced Spanish as his first language, Enzo surprises me by saying things like “Mama, en español por favor.” (Mama, in Spanish please.) He was referring to one of his favorite TV shows, Doc McStuffins, which I usually play for him in Spanish. I was, of course, thrilled. It was very different from a meltdown he had one morning when I switched the Doc McStuffins episodeRead More ...

I Am The Mom Who Speaks Spanish

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I volunteer in my boys’ classrooms when I can, and we make a point of going to school events. One of my favorite things to do when it comes to school, though, is just hang out. They’re still young enough to get excited when I have a day off and can come have lunch with them in the cafeteria, and when I pick them up at aftercare on the early side, I like sitting with them and the other kids at the table whileRead More ...

The Legacy of Words: Passing On the Spanish of Our Abuelos & Cri-Cri, El Grillito Cantor

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It’s been said that “the past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.” Well, they also speak differently. I remember how my grandparents, who were born in South Texas and lived there their entire lives, spoke Spanish. Their Spanish included a healthy mix of antiquated or regional Spanish words like velís (veliz), instead of maleta, or bogecito for baby stroller. And we all grew up calling opossums tlacuaches; cockroaches were tatascuanes; and of course, guajolote was turkey. TheyRead More ...

Is Language Enough When Raising Bicultural Kids?

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The arrival of the newest member of our family is on the horizon, and I have anxieties just like any expecting mom. However, most of mine have nothing to do with balancing time with each kid, getting through sleepless nights, or making sure the baby is eating well. Strangely, I am most concerned about culture. Although my son and stepdaughters can be considered bilingual, I am not sure they could accurately be called bicultural. My husband’s family expresses Salvadoran andRead More ...

Día de los Muertos: Funerals, Death and Questions from a Three-Year-Old

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  Her obsession with all things death began when my grandmother passed away last year. My then 3-year-old daughter Kalila had grown fond of Mamá Leonor, and I never really considered not taking her with us to the funeral. Just the year before, she had sat on my lap at my grandfather’s funeral, although I’m sure she didn’t remember. There were other small children there, too, and I had always grown up believing that children were just as much aRead More ...

Are You Raising Truly Bilingual Kids?

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Last week, I shared a link to an EFE story I was interviewed for regarding the current state of the Spanish language in the United States. One of the other people interviewed is a woman who runs a language school for children here in Denver and one of her quotes caught my attention. She said: “Bilingual people must possess a certain mastery of both their languages… speaking them is not enough. Writing, reading and comprehension are integral parts of learningRead More ...

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