Bilingual Baby’s vocabulary is exploding and she’s repeating more and more of what she hears. Her sentences are growing more complex, and she’s stringing real words together with “Jojo babble.”
Here are some of her newest words:
Caballo (horse) comes out “Ca’allo“—She saw her first one on a hike, and the woman riding it was nice enough to stop and let Jojo stare in awe.
Ven (Come here) —This is one of her oldest words. When she was a baby and still breastfeeding she would say “me” when she wanted to nurse. It took me a while to realize that she was trying to say “ven,” echoing back to me what I would say to her when I pulled her in close to nurse and snuggle. She is only now starting to pronounce this word correctly and use it to ask someone to come to her. She can say ven gato (come kitty) when she sees a cat or ven Dadda if she wants Lyon to follow her.”
Baila bachata Jojo —I love dancing to salsa and bachata and we listen to a lot of bachata music together around the house, so I taught her this one early. But it’s just now coming together for her in a complete sentence. She pronounces it “bachacha.” This past weekend we went out to see live music and she kept taking my hand to pull me onto the dance floor so she could “baila bachacha.”
Fuera (outside)—She can point to the door and say fuera (it comes out fuela) when she wants to go outside. And if we’re trying to get her to go in the backyard but she wants to go in the front yard, she’ll tell you “No, otro fuera (other outside).”
Hace frio (it’s cold) —She can also say pies frios when talking about her feet. She doesn’t fully get the meaning because sometimes she steps outside and says frio on hot days—she’s just mimicking for now and figuring out what’s what by trial and error. She can, however, say caliente (hot) in the right context, which comes out as “ca’ente.” If her food is too hot or if she gets in the car on a sunny day and her car seat is hot, she’ll tell you.
There are some words that she’s very loyal to in Spanish (agua, más, sientate) and some that she has no problem abandoning once she learns the English. Coche (car) is a word she has understood for a long time but she only just got a handle on pronouncing. On family vacation in Florida recently, where there was lots of English speaking going on, she started calling them cars (which is not wrong! They are cars!). And it feels like she may never go back to coche.
She also dropped the word pelota (ball), which was one of her early words (it was “pelala” for the longest time). But then, after hanging out with her friend Lawson who loves balls, she started referring to that round bouncy thing as a ball and has not looked back. It’s been months since she called it a pelota. She understands me when I say pelota but she herself calls it a ball.
It feels like a really important time for solidifying her Spanish—like we could accidentally tip over into full-time English at any point if I’m not paying attention. So I fill her little ears with Spanish podcasts, Spanish music, Spanish books, the occasional Spanish cartoon and I talk to her as much as I can. In the end, that’s all I can do.