Bilingual Baby has the same accent as her Cuban and Venezuelan teachers. She spends twenty-four hours a week with them, so it makes sense. Mostly, it means that the letter “S” disappears from words.
I say bosque (forest) when we’re reading Donde Viven los Monstruos (Where the Wild Things Are) and she repeats back the word as, “bohke.”
I say mosca (fly) when she points to the buzzing thing hovering above our heads, and she repeats back, “mohka.”
“¿Este?” I ask, pointing to something she’s asked for. “Si,” she replies,“ehte.”
I love it. It is so sweet.
One thing I’ve done consistently is make Spanish our language. So, for example, even when I’m reading her a book in English, if I have a side remark to make about something going on in the picture, or a question for her about the character, I switch right back into Spanish. It works. So now, even when I’m reading to her in English, if she has a comment for me about the story, she almost always makes her observation in Spanish.
I can officially say that she’s 50% English–50% Spanish. It feels like we are in a place where she is simply exploding linguistically in both languages, and she’s not showing a preference for either: she simply speaks the language that the people around her are speaking. I did notice at school that she switched to English with Lindley, another girl in her class who’s a little older and speaks a lot of English.
Soon we’ll be switching schools and she’ll be doing three days in Spanish and two days in French. Part of me is excited to integrate French into the mix, and part of me is a little concerned that she will be frustrated by it, and if she gets frustrated by French, will she also turn against Spanish?
That little voice in my head follows me everywhere, always doubting whether I’m doing it “right.” But who knows so, onward we go.