Friday, March 4, 2011

My Bilingual Baby

I have to say that one of the greatest things about marrying into another culture is that my daughter and I get to experience another language.  This has proved to be way harder for me than it has for Liliana.  At 26 months, she is fully bilingual.  We knew right away that we wanted to bring her up bilingual.  We didn't want it to be a choice when she is older because babies and children are able to absorb so much when they are young.  My little one is a prime example of that.

Last week I would have told you how Liliana is saying atleast 2-3 new words every day.  But this week she seems to have bumped it up and repeats nearly everything we say now and remembers it!  I am constantly blown away at how much she can remember and repeat.  Those little minds are incredible.

Since we live in El Salvador most of the time, Liliana's vocabulary mostly consists of Spanish words.  But she understands everything in both English and Spanish.  I still speak with her in English most of the time, but find myself using all the Spanish words I know with her.  I've been making a point lately of showing her how to say things more in English because I know she is picking up on all the Spanish around her.  She knows the English and Spanish versions of a lot of words, including her numbers.  We've been doing a lot of number counting in both languages lately and she knows both perfectly.  She will even switch back and forth between the different languages on her own.  One sentence she will say "moon" and the next sentence she says "luna."  It's incredible she knows that both words mean the same thing.

Going back to the States may be a little tricky this trip next week because my mom and friends don't understand Spanish at all.  I've been thinking I will make a cheat sheet for my mom of words that Liliana frequently uses.  I have no doubt in my mind though that Liliana will be able to get across what she is trying to say.  Once she is submersed in the English language fully again, I know she will pick up whatever she is hearing and being taught.

If only I could be learning Spanish as quickly as she is!!  Yesterday I found she was saying a word that I didn't even understand.  Liliana spends a great deal of time with her abuela (grandma) and learns so much from her.  I had to ask Eduardo what the word meant.  It's actually really cool because she and I are learning Spanish right along side each other.

I find that Liliana learns from other kids really fast, especially when she first started talking.  I still remember when she learned the word "no" from her good friend Pearl ;)  Here in El Salvador she learns a lot from her brother and sister and loves to repeat everything they say.

When people here find out that Liliana is bilingual, they get as excited as I do.  I think that speaking two languages has so many benefits and again her learning so young is perfect.  Spanish is already spoken so many places and I feel she will have such a broader range of relationships because their won't be the language barriers in place for her.

I've always planned on homeschooling Liliana and I think that in homeschooling we will be able to explore the two languages and cultures more than she would ever get to in public school.  I'm really excited about it and already love any chance we get to learn and play together.  My little one already is the one I look up to and I truly believe she is one-of-a-kind and completely incredible.  I will keep you updated with how the language learning progresses!

If you are looking for any bilingual learning tools/toys, check out my Amazon Store!  It has a vast variety of toys, books, DVD's, dolls and more...


Amy Hudnut said...

So cool Kelsey!!! Your journey through life and motherhood is so fun to read about! It sounds like you are doing well!

Kelsey said...

Thanks Amy! We are enjoying the journey, that's for sure!!