Playing in English

It’s official! My 3-year-old son’s vocabulary in English has multiplied exponentially the last couple of months, and he’s starting to have a preference for his new language. I’ve been observing him closely lately and I am pretty amazed by the fact that whenever he plays by himself, English is his language of choice. Nothing wrong with that, except that it’s all totally new for me because his sister didn’t really do that.

I’m pretty sure it has to do with the fact that Santiago has been exposed to a lot more English much earlier than Vanessa, who didn’t go to school full time until she entered kindergarten. And now I can see how much easier it could be for him to go through the rebellion stage and start refusing to speak Spanish — something his sister has not done… yet.

My boy spends most of his day immersed in English, even now that school’s out because I enrolled him at our local rec center’s summer camp. Every day he surprises me with new phrases and tons of play vocabulary he has obviously learned while having fun with his little friends.

Read more: Watching in Awe As My Son Becomes Bilingual

I am so impressed by my son and his amazing language abilities, and though I should be at least a little bit concerned about the influence all this English will have on his Spanish, I am not. But that’s only because his English immersion experience is about to drastically change.

We’re embarking in a summer adventure I’ve been wanting to make a reality for a couple of years now: immersion travel. We’re going to Puerto Rico in a couple of weeks where we plan to stay for a month with my husband’s family. My children have 10 primos hermanos over there, with at least six of them in their same age group.

I’m super excited that they’ll be attending summer camp with some of their cousins, but mostly that they’ll be spending a ton of time immersed in Spanish and our Latino culture. Both of them are incredibly happy about this adventure and are counting the days until we get on the plane. Vanessa has been to Puerto Rico twice in her short life, but she doesn’t really remember. Santiago has never been, so everything will be completely new to him — especially because most of my husband’s family has never met him.

I’m hoping to make this a summer tradition so that when my kids get a little older, we can send them over there for the whole summer, like we did with my stepson, who is now 22 and fully bilingual thank, in a big way, to the summers he spent immersed in Spanish with his cousins in Puerto Rico.

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