Yesterday was rainy and cold, so after school I decided our activities would be visiting the grocery store and the thrift store. Both destinations are primarily patronized by Spanish-speakers; it’s really important for her to hear other people speaking Spanish out and about so she connects the language with real life. I’m lucky that just minutes from our house we have grocery stores called El Ranchero and La Michoacana where not only can we hear Spanish all around us, but the signs are in Spanish and the food is traditional Mexican: we bought a cup of elote at a stand outside the store.
Later this month we’re going to a bilingual play for kids at the Mexcian American Cultural Center, and the studio where I take yoga offers a class in Spanish once a week. I’ve been lucky to have my pick of Spanish immersion daycares, and many of the elementary schools in AISD offer bilingual programs. When we go to Mexican restaurants sometimes we get a waitress who speaks Spanish and is blown away when my two-year-old orders on her own: “¡Yo quiero una quesadilla, porfavor!” “¿De que lo quieres muñequita?” “Ummmmm….de pollo.”
Beyond that, my mother speaks a good amount of Spanish, and Bilingual Baby knows that she’ll understand her no matter what language comes out of her little mouth. And if my husband didn’t speak any Spanish at all, it would be a hard dynamic to navigate. But he speaks some and understands quite a bit: he gets our jokes, he knows when I’m trying to re-direct her, and is able to back me up without needing a translation. This keeps me from having to slide back into English.
Everyone’s situation is different, but I’m really lucky to live in such a Spanish-friendly city and household. We are living in the perfect Spanish language storm and taking advantage of it every way that we can.