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Spanish Progress: 3 Years Old (¡Feliz Cumple!)


Three years old, as in, today is her birthday. It’s 5:30am here (the sun comes up between 5 and 5:15), so Jojo is still sleeping. I can’t wait to see her face when she realizes it’s her birthday. Even though we’ve been talking about it all week, I bet if we didn’t say anything, she wouldn’t remember that yesterday, tomorrow was supposed to be her birthday and that today is now tomorrow. She’s still a baby (don’t tell her I said that).

Yesterday we sent her to school with strawberries and Nutella to share with her friends and they celebrated her at lunchtime. This afternoon we’re having chocolate cake, and her friends from the neighborhood are invited. Every day this week her friends have asked how many more days are left for Jojo’s birthday—some days they come over multiple times per day to ask that same question. 


I think she’s speaking more Spanish here than she did in the States. It’s hard to tell, but lately, I find us in the middle of long conversations and realize she hasn’t dipped into English the entire time.

It’s hard to get video of her speaking, but here are some that I managed:

Pretend play: In this one she’s asking me to knock on the door of the baby bird, and the baby bird will say, “Where’s my mommy?”

Pretend writing: In this one my little lefty is pretending to write a letter. The letter says “Te quiero” up top and “I love you” down below. She explains that the part up top (Spanish) is for me, and the part down below (English) is for her daddy.

Every day I wonder how much longer I can do this. She’s at the peak of her “why” phase, and I just don’t have all the answers in Spanish. I don’t have them in English either, but I think I can explain to her why a little boy on the bus was being mean to her better in my native language. But, my own insecurities aside, every time I open my mouth to speak to her, Spanish comes out. So we will keep going until the day I open my mouth and English comes out.


I’ll leave you with the two latest additions, because her Spanglish is my favorite thing:

She’s brushing her teeth and says, “I have to scupe.”

“What’s she saying?” Asks Lyon, knowing I’m behind this one.

Escupir is to spit, so I think she’s telling you she needs to spit.

She’s been saying this for a few weeks now, and while Lyon repeats back English to her (“OK, let’s go spit”), we haven’t made a big deal about correcting her yet. We think we’ll keep “scupe” a little while longer.

“I need the baston for I can walk,” she says, begging us to pick a stick up off the jungle floor. She loves walking with a cane, but always calls it a baston. And the construction of “for I can” instead of “so I can” is totally from Spanish.

Ciao for now.

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