It is not easy raising a child in a non-native language. (Alright, it's not easy raising a child period.) In fact some days it is downright difficult and seems impossible. Many times I have wanted to quit altogether. Some days I have even only spoken a few words in Spanish to Emma.

But it's worth it.

I have been far from perfect in speaking Spanish consistently with Emma.  Yet, she is still learning it. When she responds to something I say in Spanish, like vamos a comer and she heads for the kitchen, or dale el libro and she gives her dad the book, the excitement I feel is awesome. Then, when she uses a new word correctly, the joy is inexplicable. It helps motivate me to keep going.

Emma will be 2 next month. As I look back at our non-native bilingual journey over the past two years, I find things that I wish I would have done differently and some that I feel I did well. Instead of dwelling on the past, I will use this learning experience to make new goals for now. Today.

1.  I will speak Spanish 80% of the time. I won't say 100% of the time, because for me, at this time, I know it won't happen. I need to work up to that. So for the next two weeks the goal is just 80%.
The first six months I did really good...probably speaking to her 80% of the time in Spanish. Then I did less and less until she turned 1 when I got back on the ball and started speaking Spanish to her almost full-time. I did okay until the holidays and then i almost quit speaking Spanish to her completely. I think part of the reason is I am self-conscious about speaking Spanish in front of others, and with the holidays, we were around family A LOT. So, the habit broke and it has been challenging to restart.

 2.  I will speak Spanish to Emma even when there are other people around. 
I am pretty self-conscious about my ability to speak Spanish. I know I am far from perfect. Spanish is a pretty common language, so I always fear judgment from others that know the language. I also am afraid of others not understanding and feeling bad or left out or like we are talking about them. I know. I need to get over both of these. Easier said than done.

3.  I will study Spanish and/or something about raising bilingual children for at least a half hour every day.
I didn't always do this, but I am currently doing almost everyday. Studying spanish will help with goal number 2, I think, and reading other bilingual blogs and about teaching kids another language will help motivate me on those hard days when I am feeling inadequate.

For now, that is enough. I think if I can really focus on those goals from today til our new little squish is born, than I will be in the habit and full swing of speaking Spanish with the littles...and hopefully Emma will be used to it full-time again, too.
 





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