Si, gracias Dora y Diego for doing my job. I know, sounds sad doesn't it?!? As a Latina mom, who is fluent in Spanish, I have failed miserably. My husband, who is fluent in Tagalog, has failed miserably. How could I have let this happen? My kids speak no Spanish or Tagalog. The little Spanish that they do know, they owe it all to Dora and her primo, Diego. Imagine that?
The other night, Sarai looked up at the sky and saw the moon, and told me, "Look mommy, the luna!" WHOA! I thought that was SOOOO cool. I asked her where did she learn that word (hoping she would say me), she said "Dora". Ugh, I had that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. My eldest first learned his numbers in Spanish, only because I was working at the time and my mom was babysitting him. My little ones know some words here and there. Besides the obvious words like Tacos and Burritos, they know uvas (grapes), fruta (fruits), chonies (underwear), Sopita (soup). Jonah knows more since he's in school, but doesn't speak it on a regular basis. Oh, but he can count to 5 in español (:
I rest at the thought of knowing, "If they ever do go to Mexico, at least they won't starve and they won't go without underwear"! lol
When they watched Dora or Diego, I can hear them repeating whatever words the show is trying to teach. When they do ask about stuff they do not know, I try to teach it to them in Spanish first. I admire friends who make it a point to talk to their kids in español only. I totally regret not doing it. A lot of people can see the Asian in them. I get the "Are they Asian?" question a lot. Even more in Jeremiah and Sarai. My husband doesn't speak Tagalog in the house at all. Duh, who's he gonna talk too? Same with me! I don't speak it in my home. The only time I talk Spanish is when I talk to my mom. I LOVE talking in Spanish. When ever I do get the chance to speak it, I will. I have all the resource at hand, and yet I do nada to make it happen. A very good friend of mine, SpanglishBaby, is all about raising your kids bilingual. She does an amazing job with the site for people who are (or want to) raise their kids bilingual.
I have big time guilt. When I go to the Mexican Market, I see the kids walking around speaking Spanish fluently with their parents and English with their siblings. My kids won't be able to experience that, because their mom failed to teach it to them. I know all about the advantages of being bilingual It might mean getting a better job, or better opportunities in Life. Heck, it might even save their lives!!! Am I really going to let them rely on Spanish class in H.S. so they can have an accent when they do speak in Spanish? I remember my nephew, when he was in H.S., he was taking Spanish classes and he failed a test. The teacher recommended him speak more Spanish at home. OMG!!! My brother and Sister in Law (who are both bilingual) just hung their heads in shame.
To be honest with you, as I'm writing and re-reading this post, I can't help but feel motivated to do speak to my kids in español. Heck, I can do this, right? It's not too late. I can start with little words and here and there and have them just repeat those words to me, huh? Yes, I can do it. Si se puede! I will start right now. If you speak another language, are you teaching it to your kids?
Dora y Diego, watch out...
Here comes Mamí.
An original Orange County Moms Blog post.