In exactly one month we head to Costa Rica for the summer. I’ve had it in my mind to move Bilingual Baby to a Spanish-speaking country around age three from the very beginning.
Her Spanish is really good, and it’s even still a comfort language for her: If a kid on the playground hits her she points wildly and tells me, “El me pegó.” If she falls and hurts herself she comes to me crying, “Me lastimé.” And at night, through the darkness from her crib when she doesn’t want me to go she calls to me, “Mama, no te vayas.”
But at school, she plays in English with her classmates. I know that her teachers are unwavering in their commitment to speak Spanish or French (depending on the day) to the kids, and I see them employing clever methods to get the kids to speak in something other than English. But the reality is that she doesn’t have solid exposure to other children speaking Spanish. Which means, eventually, she’ll start to heavily favor English. Makes sense.
So here we go. So far, if you ask Jojo what they have in Costa Rica, she will either say monos (monkeys), which is true, or she’ll say duchas (showers), since the place where we are staying doesn’t have a bathtub, and I’ve been trying to prepare her.
She also knows that we’ll be on the beach and that it will look like the island where Moana lives. Can’t blame me (I hope I’m right!).
Bilingual Baby loved our trip last summer to Mexico: charming the ladies at the market with her Spanish, zooming around the city in taxi cabs, and taking in all the toys for sale by street vendors in such a child-friendly culture. We know she travels well internationally, and I hope that being on the beach instead of in a city will feel more relaxing and less claustrophobic.
More later. For now, we are busy madly procrastinating, spinning our minds around what it will be like to be far from ailing family members, and trying to wrap up our remaining responsibilities here.