Starting the bilingual journey all over

Bilingual Baby #2 arrived 6 months ago. And my mind has been a flutter with how to raise a bilingual child–again.

How it will be different

In some ways it will be easier. I have a bigger Spanish vocabulary, and I’m more fluent than I was when Baby#1 was born.

This time, I’m not scrambling to find community, books, music to help me raise my baby around Spanish. I’ve been building that all slowly and always will be.

I spent countless hours in the months after Bilingual Baby #1 was born combing through Baby Center’s Spanish language site just to try and internalize how to talk about and to babies in Spanish. I recommend it if you’re a non-native Spanish speaker raising a bilingual child.

But this time around, I haven’t even once visited Baby Center’s website (Spanish or English) since getting pregnant. I know so much more than I did before. The first time, I wasn’t even sure if my idea of speaking only Spanish at home would work. Now the thought of doing anything else is strange.

One thing I did exactly the same with both babies was spend hours of nursing and pumping time late at night and early in the morning watching Spanish soap operas. With Bilingual Baby #1 it was El Gran Hotel (so much drama, such beautiful costumes, very handsome lead). The backdrop to Bilingual Baby #2’s newborn days was Alta Mar (also gorgeous clothes & people, but simply ridiculous plot lines).

I like to think that the Spanish from the shows made its way into my babies’ brains those first few weeks of life. I also like to think that the bad writing did not.

the Challenges ahead

If I’m honest, I’m concerned that I haven’t been reading Baby Center articles in Spanish. I also haven’t been listening to the news or podcasts in Spanish around the baby. I used to be obsessed with making sure that everything she heard was in Spanish.

Was it overkill? Or is it the reason my almost-7-year-old is fluent in Spanish?

My attention is more divided, and big sister is a wild card. Will she help me surround the baby with Spanish? Or will she slip into English so much that there’s no room left for Spanish between the two of them?

And what do I call big sister here in the blogosphere? Bilingual Big Kid? She did just graduate first grade, so “baby” certainly doesn’t apply.

I don’t have the answers to those questions yet, but I do know that we are different people, our family dynamics and goals are different, and Bilingual Baby #2 is her own person.

So here’s to new territory: A new “Bilingual Baby” and the original “Bilingual Big Kid.”

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