Bilingual is Better

Elsie

Mothering: A Draft In Progress

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Last week, I found myself passionately reading sonnets by Pablo Neruda to my 2-year-old. Yes, I know that sounds obnoxious, but the book is all pink, and she pulled it off the shelf…then I found the poem in it we read at our wedding…then I told her how romantic it was that Neruda wrote a hundred love sonnets for his wife…And somewhere between eyerolls, my husband suggested I should write love sonnets for the girls. Now, that sounds easier thanRead More ...

The Body Language of Bilinguals

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When thinking about Spanglish, I usually think about the words we use day-to-day.  Phrases like “Want your agua?” pass through my lips all the time. I keep trying to remind myself to speak en Espanol, not in English, but lots of the time what comes out is our familiar old friend, Spanglish.  Something I’ve only recently started to think about is the body language that accompanies my Spanish-speaking Latinidad and my English speaking American identity.  They are very different, andRead More ...

Just Like Children on Christmas Eve

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We have many traditions in my family: The baby Jesus in the front room, the ornate tree, the nativity scene, tamales, pupusas, pan de chumpe, opening presents at midnight christmas eve, but more than any single thing we do, it’s the feeling of familia that makes Christmastime special for me. Early in December or late in November, my Mami sets up the Christmas tree with los jovenes. Some years it’s with me and my husband, but as we live 500Read More ...

NOT Lost in Translation

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What?! What?! I hear this refrain countless times a day from Marisol, my toddler. Sometimes she hasn’t heard me, or, often, she doesn’t know what I said because I said it in Spanish.  ¡Qué pena! This is the not surprising result of my being too bone-tired to speak to her in much Spanish after the birth of her sister two months ago (despite my best intentions).  With little sleep and round-the-clock nursing, I just had to use the words thatRead More ...

10 Things I Didn’t Expect When I Started Speaking Spanish to my Baby

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That it would make me have to think really really hard sometimes to find the right words. That when asked her favorite fruits, my toddler would respond: blueberries, peaches, tamales, burritos. That her favorite bedtime song would be an improvised song whose lyrics are “Mama te ama, Papi te ama, —-te ama…” and which has as many verses as people and animals she knows. That “nalgas” is much funnier than “bottom” or even “butt” to say and point out. HowRead More ...

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