Today was a typical day

Today was a pretty typical day. I dropped Santiago off at school, he had a pretty good day yesterday and this morning I changed up our routine a bit. Instead of having to change him, I just put him in his school clothes to go to bed. It made my life sooooo much easier, should have thought about that a while ago.

Went to and worked from my suegras house today with little Andres.  Mid-day went to pick up the iPad that was stolen from our house last August.  They found it last September and it was finally ready for pick-up in March, it has just taken me a few weeks to go and get it. Andres was great all day long, Santiago came home relatively happy. He had another good day at school and he actually went to bed pretty early, 8pm (normal bedtime is around 9:30).  After he went to bed, I breastfed Andres for a bit, 9pm rolled around and I watched my first TV show this week, The Big Bang Theory, and now I’m here. The days are passing volando and I’m feeling a little overwhelmed with everything…Work, kids, life…but what working mom doesn’t. It’s a balancing act and I keep saying this but I really do need to get that workout back in my schedule.  It will happen, I just need to focus and get back into it. So many goals, so little time and so little space. Just need to breath, take a step back, relax and things will come together.

Another day awaits…

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Today I…

Today I decided that I was going to start to record my memories, my days, to learn to become a better writer by practice, to leave something for my kids and their kids.  Today I decided to write. Santiago is now 22 months and Andres 4 months. The time is passing volando and I can’t keep up.

This morning I had to wake Santiago up to go to school and oh what a disaster, have you ever heard that saying “don’t wake a sleeping baby”, well, I have learned why several times this year. He’s a maniac when he doesn’t wake up on his own.  Santiago refused to let me change out of his moose sweatshirt that is way too small (it’s for a 12 month old), the sleeves only reach to the middle of his forearms.  I finally achieved my ultimate goal of removing his shirt, only to be followed by 10 minutes of continuous crying, running around and begging for his sweatshirt back…I gave in.  He went to school looking like a cute little fool with his sweatshirt that has a big moose and is two sizes too small and his little hat his abuela bought him over the weekend. After that he was a happy little camper, smiles galore, what baby isn’t happy after they finally get what they want.  All the while Andres was patiently waiting in his crib cooing and awing, just waiting for it all to be over.

Off to school, the drop-off was actually pretty uneventful, thankfully; though, as we approached the campus, dije a Santiago “Vas a divertirte hoy dia, vas a jugar con los amigos, vas a ver tus professoras” and he always responds shaking his head “No, mami, no.”  We parked and I took Santiago and Andres out of the car and Santiago hung onto me for dear life until I handed him over to Ms. Faby.  Long story short on why Santiago won’t be going back to his current school…Month of March, one of the teachers had an emergency and had to be covered by multiple subs during her absence, then Santiago & I fell down the stairs, I busted my back and he busted his lip and since then Santiago has pretty much been en contra de la escuela, hoping he’ll get back into the swing of things soon.

Off to work, mostly uneventful, worked from my suegras house, Berta. I have a pretty nice set-up. Berta takes care of baby Andres, I work in one of the bedrooms, and when Andres needs to lactar, she brings him over to me, I feed him and then when he’s done give him back. She’s a god-send (more about religion and god later, still not sure about everything, learning and growing).  Anyways, we’re starting a health and wellness program at work and I talked to the woman who is likely going to be planning and implementing everything; I’m super excited to work with her.  Other than that, just building a new ecommerce site to compliment our current business, everything’s going pretty smoothly and then tomorrow off to the warehouse.

I talked to Mamu, my grandma, mid-day. She’s not doing so hot, Papa is in the hospital, he’s 97 and having some gastrointestinal problems. He should be getting out tomorrow but Mamu is pretty depressed about the whole thing. She’s 89 and overall in pretty good condition; though extremely depressed at times.  She was crying, but always finds something nice to say about whoever she is talking to.  She told me today that I was like her daughter, that Luis was the best guy, the best husband, and that I am very lucky to have him.  Then she told me she loved me.  Mamu is such a special person and I’m so happy to have her in my life. Our Saturday visits for the past decade have made my life so complete. Though the weekly visits have diminished to bi-weekly because she doesn’t feel well quite often, every time I call and talk to her and see her, it puts a smile on my face. My Mamu & Papa will forever be the parents I never had…

Santiago came home feliz de la vida, gave me a big hug & kiss, even though apparently he spent the day sitting in his chair with his shirt and hat held tight for three hours straight, not really wanting to move or get up.  That didn’t phase him though, he was running around, eating nuezes (his favorite) and sitting with his abuelo, while I was breastfeeding and working, I’ve become a pretty good multi-tasker since the first.

Looking forward to another day tomorrow, another day to start something that I wasn’t able to start today…maybe tomorrow I will jump at the chance to finally workout, it’s been too long.

Why isn’t Isabel Bilingual?

One thing that I am very aware of is that raising a bilingual child in a predominantly English speaking world is challenging and it is going to take a lot of effort and time for us to succeed.  I was reading 12 things parents raising bilingual children need to know and have experienced many of these just by observing my neice, Isabel.

Isabel was essentially raised by her Spanish-speaking Peruvian abuela. The same abuela who has taken care of Santiago for the past 15 months, before we sent him off to daycare in September.   Abuela speaks only Spanish, yet after Isabel went to school at the age of two, she decided that English was what she was going to speak.  She understands and speaks a few words but is by no means fluent.  So when looking at this article, I can relate and am on a mission to figure out the right steps to take to succeed in raising Santiago to speak both Spanish & English.

The first point the author discusses is “It doesn’t happen by magic“.  It’s important for me and my husband and whoever is trying to raise their children bilingual that there is a lot of effort and emphasis that needs to be placed on the second language if the child is truly going to e bilingual.  Along with this you need to be extremely consistent, “Consistency is crucial” and “Plan Ahead“.  I keep thinking about laying out a plan, and in the next week I plan to in one of my future blogs.  Without a plan, you really don’t know where you’re going.

The fourth point talks about Paying Attention to Exposure Time and recommends that the child should be exposed to the language for at least 30% of their waking hours.  Along with this point is spending that Extra Time reading, talking, and taking vacations that involve the second language.

The author points out that There will be doubters, Don’t listen to bad advice, and It’s not always easy, and Your child might answer you in the “wrong” language. These are important tips, essentially this means follow your heart and your plan and if it works out it works out, if it doesn’t seek advice from those who are experts in the field and don’t give up if your child just doesn’t get it.

The last four points: Your children will gain an array of benefits by becoming bilingual, You will never regret it, and You will be Proud are the most motivating points for me.  Some of the benefits to being bilingual include the delay of dementia, the improvement of a child’s working memory,  the improvement of the brain’s executive function,  the improvement and betterment of multi-tasking, and being more open-minded and sensitive to others, among other benefits.  Although it’s a lot of work and effort, I’m sure most successful and even unsuccessful parents can say that they have never regretted it and are extremely proud.

Back to Isabel.  After reading all these tips, there was never a path laid out for her, it was at whim.  Her abuela and abuelo spoke Spanish to her but when she didn’t understand (because her mother and father, though both Native Spanish speaking people never made a concerted effort to speak Spanish), they would convert to English to appease Isabel.  I’ve learned from that and now plan on having a plan and having a serious conversation with Berta & Luis Sr. to pave the way forward for Santiago and little baby (soon to be born).

I really enjoyed reading these tips and am looking forward to planning and sharing my path to raising bilingual babies. Soon to come…

Bilingual Babies – Spanish, English or Both

I’m a 31 year old married mom with one sixteen month old, Santiago, and one baby on the way (#2monthstogo), Andres.  The past 16 months have completely changed and reshaped my life.

Apple Picking at Laraland Farms
Apple Picking at Laraland Farms

My husband, born and partly raised in Peru, moved here when he was 8, a few years after his parents were able to make their way here.  His first language was Spanish, but his main language is English.  We speak English together, he speaks English at work, and after 6 years together, he started speaking Spanish in our home, to our son.

My experience with language is back and forth, up and down. I studied Spanish all through middle and high school.  In college I switched to Italian and then reverted back to Spanish. And then to top it off I went into the Peace Corps and lived in the DR (Dominican Republic) for a little less than 2 years and became pretty fluent.   I now get to practice my Spanish on a regular basis with my mother and father in law.

It's a Plane
It’s a Plane

This is blog is intended to be my journey and experience in attempting to raise my two little boys (and any future kids) bilingual.  So far, so good, but “Ago” isn’t speaking yet, other than “agua” he points and babbles a lot!  We’ll see how it goes…