jueves, 23 de abril de 2009

Speech explosion!


Lucia has been talking a lot these last couple of weeks. I had been worrying that her speech was delayed and that it was probably because I talk to her in Spanish and Big T talks to her in English. The pediatrician was not worried and told me that two languages at home had no impact on how quickly or not she started talking. I also worried that we had been allowing her to watch too many movies and that was making her slow. But she watches *good* movies like 101 Dalmatians, Monsters Inc, The Emperor's New Groove, both Toy Stories, etc. Sure, some are a bit outdated in what they teach or how people talk (I especially dislike that the expression "you idiot!" is used so often in 101 Dalmatians) but they make Lucia happy and actually teach her more than not. She repeats what the characters are saying and then uses it with us. Her very favorite show is the Powerpuff Girls. And it is my fault [hanging head in shame.] And she has ordered us "Out!" many times (like the Professor does to an evil cat.) Also Kipper the Dog has earned us many "stop it!"s. If I had dozens of readers I know there would be a good number of outraged parents telling me what a horrible parent I am. I welcome your comments and we can have a spirited debate, but please don't call me names. I will cut you!

The best moment was a couple of days ago when we were having a heat wave in San Francisco (93 degrees is HOT here) and Big T took her to Aquatic Park. She said "mommy? Dad! Sand! Water! Balls!" She was actually trying to tell me about her day! I was so happy. So all that worrying about her not talking soon enough has turned into a panic that she will never stop talking and, worse, that she will repeat EVERYTHING we say. Which is bad for me because I curse a lot. I am trying to curve it but she's already said "oh, shit!" and I'm sure it's my fault. At least the murderous look my husband shot me that time told me so. She's so excited that she can communicate better that she will just point at things and name them for us: kitty! foot! head! carrot! eyes! mouth! cookie! hands! She also asks for things: bath, Playdough, outside, park.

And I eat it all up, I admit. Especially when she says she wants "mas leche" (more milk) or asks to eat "huevos" (eggs) because it gives me hope that she will eventually be bilingual. Being bilingual is not just about speaking two languages, it opens up a whole new world of people with different customs and different ways of living life. It has always helped me. It is how I got to come to the US in the first place. And I want my daughter to have choices, I want her to know where her family came from and understand how we are different and how we are similar to Americans. Bilingual and bicultural is my goal for her.

And now I know that I just need to relax about it and let her learn at her own pace. Most importantly, enjoy every minute of it. Hold her hand when she needs it and let go when she asks me to. I am here for her always. Siempre.

4 comentarios:

Minimeltdown dijo...

As an English teacher, it sounds to me like you are doing everything right in this situation. No t.v. or movies, is in my opinion, totally unrealistic (unless the adults don't watch t.v. or movies either). But we do, and so our kid does in moderation, and all is well. But yours is well, and potentially bilingual. ACES!

Neil dijo...

Maybe I don't understand the situation, but why would television be bad for learning? I'm not saying all the time, but wouldn't that be a good way for a child to hear and see people talking, and emulate them?

Listen Up, MoFos! dijo...

Yes Neil, that's my point exactly! She repeats what they say, she learns the names of animals if we're watching Nature on PBS or something like that. But it's all a matter of setting limits. You don't want a kid, no matter the age, to be sitting in front of a tv all day, drooling on themselves and never doing anything else!

spanglishbaby dijo...

When I was pregnant and setting myself up for so many unrealistic motherhood goals, I swore my daughter would not be exposed to TV as much as I was. Well, being that we have no childcare and our family lives in other countries TV has become a necessity for sanity and for cooking!
I do make sure Camila watches as much as possible in Spanish. I get DVDs with the Spanish-language option. It does make a difference.
You´re lucky to have a pediatrician that understands that a speech delay is not due to a child being bilingual. You have no idea how many stories I´ve heard from parents that stopped speaking their native language to their child because they were told by doctors, teacher and even speech therapists that it was a problem.
Lucía is beautiful!! :)

Ana Lilian

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