As my daughter’s 4th birthday approaches I sometimes wonder if she is turning 15 instead of 4. Her vocabulary grows by the day and everything seems to be an argument, negotiation or the beginning of a crying fit. She wants to FIGHT me on EVERYTHING. She comes home and as I or our sitter is talking to her and her brother in Spanish she states “No Spanish, we have to speak English, only English”. My response “are you Donald Trump?” She looks at me with a confused face. I try to be a nice and sane mother and in a loving but firm voice explain to her that no, we speak Spanish in this house especially when our sitter is here because she doesn’t speak English (wink wink). Well she could care less.
Before my daughter started preschool, I only spoke to her in Spanish. I thought that would be the best way, except when my husband was home we spoke to each other in English. She seemed confused but I kept at it. When she started a 2 year old preschool program last year she spoke very little but about 1 month later she became a chatter box, an English chatterbox. I still tried to speak to her only in Spanish but I found myself speaking to her more and more in English. I let it slide because I wanted her to catch up to the other kids in school, I did not want her to be “behind”. Fast forward a year later and now she doesn’t want to speak in Spanish unless she is forced to. She has also stopped wanting to read our Spanish stories and listen to Spanish music in the car, the only exception is Enrique Iglesias, her beloved Kiki.
Part of me doesn’t want to push it because I do not want her to resent me and grow to hate Spanish. I try to look at the positives and that is she understands 100% which is great but for me it is not good enough. I have tried to get her to play more with other kids who have similar backgrounds but their mothers are also struggling with their kids responding to them in Spanish. I really don’t know what to do except keep at it.
When I was growing up 30 years ago my nanny only spoke Spanish and didn’t understand a word of English so that kept me speaking Spanish on a daily basis. I feel very lucky that I am Bilingual. My husband is the youngest of 3 kids and when we met he spoke broken Spanish at best despite the fact that his mother speak very little English. What I am getting at here is I do not know what the right solution or method is to ensure that your child continues to be Bilingual other than to be as persistent as possible with them. If someone could give me a “How to guide” I would gladly take it.
Keeping my head up and fingers crossed. Tomorrow is a new day.