Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Abuela talk normal

That is my favorite picture of my mother and my girls! I just love it!!!! 

Yesterday my mother called me a little upset because apparently Layla started insisting that she talk "normal" which to my little four year old means speak English! Then I got an ear full because my mother is like when I leave no one will speak to them in Spanish, they will lose the little they know, how will I be able to communicate with them and on and on! 

Now a little back story my mother and father came to the states from Puerto Rico a little over 33 years ago, now my dad picked up English fairly quickly because he was out in the work force but my mom she had at that time two young boys at home and when she had my sister and I, she became a full time stay at home mother. At home we spoke Spanish! Nothing but Spanish. I think Spanish was my first language, until I went to school. At home no matter what we spoke to each other when we addressed our parents or addressed ourselves in front of them in Spanish. Now my mother does know English, she actually knows a lot more than she gives herself credit for and she understands even more but she has that old school mentality, she feels like she sounds uneducated when she speaks it so she doesn't unless it is truly necessary.

Now back to present day, I was raised knowing where our roots are from, we have a solid Puerto Rican foundation and all that, that consists of, family traditions, values and the language. We all are fluent in Spanish and for the most part can speak, write and read it. I always felt that when I had children I would also carry the tradition of language to my children. I wanted so much for they to be bilingual just like my husband and I are. But here is the problem, in my everyday life I do not speak Spanish. I only speak it if I am addressing my parents or a elder family member. In my home to my husband, and everyone else I speak English, thus my children speak English as well. English is their first language. I just can't help it.

I figured that my mother being their primary babysitter she would teach them Spanish. For the most part she has, they know alot in Spanish but with my mother back and from, from Puerto Rico they really don't use the language.

I feel bad because I did set out to raise bilingual children. When Layla was smaller I showed her things in English and Spanish, but after having Ava and just being too busy it just fell through the cracks. Does that make me a bad mother, a bad daughter or even worse a bad Puerto Rican!!!! I have to be honest after all these years I have to make an effort to speak Spanish, I think in English so my words are in English. I only really talk Spanish to my mother and mother in law. 

Now I am faced with the reality that I have Puerto Rican children that don't know much Spanish and a mother who feels she may lose communication with her beloved granddaughters!

So I am asking for help, are your kids bilingual? How do you instill your culture and language to your children. Is it wrong if they don't really know how to speak both languages?


  1. you should share this on twitter by tagging blogadera and the other latina bloggers we know. Maybe they can help.

  2. I sometime think it's hard trying to teach more than 1language at a time. I speak mostly English to Gabi, few words in Spanish and now she also is being spoken to in Japanese. I didn't grow up learning Spanish but I speak It fairly well, understand and read it. Writing in Spanish is a different story I sometimes struggle with know how to conjugate words. I believe it takes time just like anything else with children and it's not too late to start showing them again.

    1. yeah one of my cousins on facebook had a great idea she lives in Puerto Rico and when her daughters were growing up their first language was Spanish so she decided that on Sundays everyone spoke English. If someone asked for something in Spanish they were ignored till they said it in English that helped her girls grasp the English language... maybe one day out of the week I will do that with my daughters.