Emma is learning her letters in Spanish. I actually am amazed at how quickly she picks them up. She has A-O down pretty well, although she sometimes mixes up J and L.

She associates each letter with the name (or sometimes a word) of someone she knows. 
 
 
It has been ages since I have updated on our progress here...probably because I fell off the bilingual band wagon for a bit. I thought it would be easier speaking Spanish when our new squish was born. 

I was wrong.

I forgot how hard it is to speak Spanish to an infant....to someone who doesn't respond back yet. Although my baby vocab has expanded from when I had Emma, it still is not up to par, and therefore, I struggle speaking Spanish to Charlotte and in turn struggle to continue speaking Spanish with Emma. 

I was re-motivated by a number of things this past week. 

1) People know I have been raising my babies bilingual (or at least attempting it)...so they ask about it. 
2) Lots of people speak at least a little Spanish, so when they find out that Emma knows a bit they try to talk to her in Spanish. (And then I kick myself in the butt for not doing better so she can respond more.) 
3) An awesome reader shared a link to Harry Potter audio books so I can listen to them and hopefully get more Spanish on the brain throughout the day. 
4) The other day Emma heard a cow and said, "Vaca!" (It always makes my heart happy to hear her use Spanish, unprompted.)
5) This morning said to me, "Mamá, I wanna ver Barney." (And of course since she used Spanish in the sentence, I couldn't tell her no. ;))
6) Finding Nemo is one of her two favorite movies...but she pronounces Nemo in Spanish. (I try not to let her have a ton of screen time, but when she does have it, it is always in Spanish.)
7) Without being prompted, when she counts, Emma will usually count in Spanish...though it comes out like this, "Uno, tres, cuatro, cinco, seis, DIEZ!" Once in a while she will remember "dos" and "siete". 8 and 9 are not ever in there, yet.

So in light of my renewed motivation to help give my kids a head start in the bilingual department, here are a few goals to help me out:

1. Hang up posters (that I will probably end up printing or making myself) that has Spanish words. On pinterest, I have board dedicated to bilingual and spanish stuff, so I will get some ideas from there. 
2. Memorize at least 1 Spanish kids song or nursery rhyme. (I think this will help when I can't think of what to say to Charlotte... :) Plus Emma is really into singing and having me sing to her.)
3. Listen to something in Spanish everyday for at least 20 minutes. 
4. Start making a list of fall words. Only a month left of summer. If I 


 
 
Check out this awesome website! I haven't read it all the way through, yet (New baby is keeping me on my toes and I have sadly neglected my own study of Spanish as well as this blog.) But now that she is a month old and we have a bit of a routine, (ha! as routine as you can get with a toddler and newborn) I am going to start back up doing my own personal study of Spanish as well as making sure to incorporate more direct learning with Emma.

From first glance and a few clicks, it looks useful...Maybe one of you have more time and will get a better look at before I do. If so, let me know if it is as good as it looks at first glance.

Anyways, here it is!

How to Learn Spanish

 
 
It is hard speaking speaking Spanish to Emma. There are some days...sometimes multiple days in a row when I just get so discouraged and I want to stop. I want to be done and not feel the pressure to speak to her in a language that I am still learning myself. On those days, I find myself speaking more English and then trying to compensate by letting her watch a movie in Spanish and spending extra time playing with the Spanish apps on the iPad.

Sure, I know the basics. I can conjugate. I can read. But I mess up. A lot. I find myself saying a sentence and then going back and saying it again because I know I missed a word, conjugation, or mixed up the feminine or masculine.

I'm reading Harry Potter (I've read it a million times in English, so even without knowing the exact translation of a lot of the words, I know what is going on.) But, in order to help me out, I write down words that I don't know or will look them up immediately...The problem is, some words mean different things in different countries or just in the way you use them...and that is when it gets hard being non-native. I am almost afraid to use new vocab...

So, where do I find motivation to keep going when those days come?
Here are some things I have thought of that help me...
-Read books in Spanish to her...I can read. And when I am reading, I can focus on the accent more.
-Watch videos I've taken of Emma saying words in Spanish, or just ask her flat out things that I know she will say back in Spanish
-Go back and read in my journal and on my blogs about the small successes we have had in the past.
-Read other non-native blogs
-Read books about raising children biliingual. The ones that encourage non-native speakers.

What are ways that you motivate yourself to keep going when you get discouraged?


 
 
**We had an exciting, "She's really getting it!" moment tonight. I was getting ready to take Emma to bed, so I told her, "Di 'I love you' a papá." "Say 'I love you' to Dad.'" And she said "Amo." :-) (Just in case you don't know, "te amo" is "I love you." It makes me so excited when she does stuff like that.

**Another exciting Spanish moment...I asked her, "¿Dónde está tu chaqueta?" Where is your jacket? She looked around, saw it and then pointed and said, "Ahí está." There it is. Double exciting because she is starting to put two words together, occasionally.
 
 
I found a few kids music CDs at the library and I am loving listening to them with Emma. Plus it's helping me learn more songs in Spanish to sing to Emma, so I don't have to revert to English ones.

For other non-native speakers: I have found a good way to learn, or to help you understand better is to listen to music and write down the words or translate it. Kids songs are a good place to start, since they tend to anunciate more and have simpler topics.

Side note: I am thinking of maybe teaching some of the kids (if their mom's are interested) from our playgroup Spanish. Nothing big, just the colors, animals, etc. Partly, again, to help me get Spanish into my head, but also to help show Emma that it's fun to speak Spanish and also to help me get used to speaking Spanish in front of them. Obviously, since they are 1-3 year olds it would be a short 10-15 minutes with lots of music, visuals, and maybe a game.

Anyways, on one of the CD's I borrowed there is a song about farm animals, a song about colors, a song about dancing and different body parts. So I think it would be fun to use it to teach Emma, and maybe her friends. I was thinking of printing out pictures or finding stuffed animals or figurines for each of the different topics to help. When I do it, I will make sure to take some pictures or something and let ya'll know how it goes.
 
 
It is no secret. I am a huge Harry Potter fan. I've read all the books who knows how many times. So, I want to try to cast a spell to help me....just kidding. I wish it were that easy.

By reading, what I am really hoping for is to help me start to think in Spanish more often and pick up some new vocabulary while I am at it. I would also like to listen to the book on CD, but they all seem to be pretty pricey and our library doesn't have them in Spanish. If you have any leads as to where I can find at least one of the books for cheap, that would be great!

Because I have read it so many times, I know what's going on even without knowing the exact translation of all of the words, so it is helping me learn new vocabulary. After reading for a good stretch of time, I find myself thinking more in Spanish as well, so it's working! Now I just gotta use those new words!

Something I struggle with, however, is that different words have different meanings depending on what country you are from...so I am always afraid that I might be swearing in one country when really, I am just trying to implement innocent

I have also set a goal to speak to Gavin more in Spanish. With Emma it's a lot of repetiion of the same things, and even though I think she is a brilliant 2 year old, our conversations don't go very deep. So by speaking to Gavin more often in Spanish it will also (hopefully) help me to think more in Spanish and learn or re-learn different conjugations for different words.

And just to be accountable, I feel like I am doing pretty good about speaking to Emma in Spanish at least 80% of the time, usually more. I have done much better while out in public, though I still struggle in more intimate settings, like when a smaill group of friends or family are at our home or we are at someone else's home. I need to work on that.


 
 
Picture
This week Emma seems to be picking up so much. She repeats everything and says a word for everything. Whether it is her own made up word or the right word. Both Spanish and English.
   
The other day I said, "Te amo, Emma." -I love you, Emma- and she responded back, "Amo." She has been doing that everytime I say it now. I love it. It absolutely melts my heart. She has been adding an 's' at the end of a lot of words now, for some reason, so sometimes it comes out, "amos." Too cute.

Other things she has learned recently:
-Me: "¿Emma, cuantos años tienes? Emma, how old are you?
-Emma: "¡Dos!" Two...okay, so she won't be two for another month, but close enough, right?

-Me: "Como te llamas?" What's your name?
-Emma: "Emma."

She is also starting to say gracias and por favor a little more clearly, although when I tell her, "di por favor," or "di gracias" she usually will say "please" instead of "por favor" and "thank-you" instead of gracias.

The songs we recorded on the iPad are a hit. She loves watching them and following along with the actions. Hopefully they will help out a bit.

 
 
Emma loves playing on the iPad. I have downloaded a bunch of Spanish kids apps, so I don't feel too bad about letting her play on it.

One of her favorite things to do, though, is look at pictures and videos that I have taken. So, taking an idea that I have seen on a couple of bilingual blogs, I decided to video us singing some Spanish songs.

This was fun, and was done in just a few minutes. Nothing fancy. The first one I did with just me, but I found that she likes seeing herself more, so I put her on my lap and we did the rest of them together. I think I might print some pictures for the songs that don't have hand movements so she can have a visual of what we are singing about.

This won't replace me singing to her one on one, but when I am trying to get things done, this will just be another helpful Spanish resource to keep her entertained.
 
 
On Friday's our local library does Spanish Story Time. The time falls right between two English story times, so there are usually a few English speakers that go as well.

They sing songs, read a book, and do a puppet show or two. It's fun and Emma actually sits through it and pays attention. I need to get up the courage and talk with some of the latina mamas there and see if we can do a playdate, I think that would help my Spanish a lot, as well as Emma's.

Today, Emma actually sat through the whole thing. She usually will sit for the puppet show, but gets bored when the lady reads a book. I wish there was some way to get into her head to see how much she is understanding during it.