Category Archives : Being a bilingual mom

Christmas Bucket List – Before My Son Is Too Old!

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My son and I had a big talk tonight; he was telling me he was homesick at his first sleepover and I assured him it was normal! I confessed I missed him a lot too, but even though it was OK to feel that way, I wanted him to do more of that, since he is an only child and needs to have friends, do play dates and have fun while doing it! He said he did enjoy it, so I told him that was what he should remember about his first sleepover!

Well, our conversation made me realize he is growing up and there is no holding him back! My little boy is becoming a smart, very inquisitive young man and I’d better do some things I’ve been wanting to do with him, before he is way too old for them!

So I created a Bucket List, 10 things I want to do with him this Christmas to make sure they stay in his memory for years to come! Here is my list:

Take him to see Lion King or Radio City Christmas Show

Buy some Brazilian Classics and read to him with a hot cup of cocoa, explaining the history of each story!

Buy gifts, wrap them together and give to a child in need! Would love to bring a foster child for Christmas!

Take a cooking class together, after seeing how much he loved the pie making class.

He loves art, loves drawing, so I want to take him to visit and tour a couple art schools and  give him a month of art classes!

Get him some special Portuguese time with my friend’s mother, once a week, who will not only be teaching him Portuguese but also bringing some grammy warmness to him, since he hasn’t seen my mom in three years!

Give him a new laptop, he’s always owned hand me down ones and complains about how leggy they are!

 Take him to ice skate at the Rockfeller Center, visit the Nintendo and Lego Stores and have dinner at Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square! After all, he loves NY City!!

He loves recording videos and talking about his favorite video games, but his laptop features are not where they should be, so we will be equipping the new laptop with a nice video program, to allow him to record his video tips!

He loves Brazilian Barbecue but we haven’t been to one of those restaurants since May, I want to surprise him on his Christmas break and take him to have lunch at Rodizio Grill or Fogo de Chao!

Tell me, if you made a list, what would you add to it? Can’t wait to hear from you!

Pampers Shines A Spotlight On How Kids Love, Sleep and Play!

 

PR_Logo 1This is part of a compensated campaign with Latina Mom Bloggers and Pampers.  However, all opinions expressed are my own.

 

Every time I look at my son, I keep thinking how fast he is growing and I still remember the day when he came into this world and was handed to me as a miracle, a blessing! The complications with his delivery and facing the fact that I could no longer have kids, made raising him more than an act of love, it was my only opportunity to get it right! To give all I had to this little being.

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We explored together the early days, the first bath, playtime, sleep through the night miracle, potty trained at 18months, so many milestones!

I still see myself going back in time and sitting on the floor and playing for hours, singing a Brazilian or Spanish lullaby for him to sleep. My endless hours chatting with him in as many languages as I speak, doodling a masterpiece, dancing away and playdates, so many park visits!

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His favorite time was always bed time when I would lay by his side, read a story, sing him a song….he still asks me to read with him and sing together, it’s our unique bond! I know he will grow up and these memories will never leave him, memories that no matter how busy mom is, that she will always have time to Play and Love him, even when he is sleeping!

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It totally translates Pampers new Campaign, Love, Sleep and Play and I’m so excited to share that for the first time in the brand’s history, Pampers is turning the spotlight on babies across North America to participate in the brand’s new Love Sleep & Play campaign.  The program pays tribute to the millions of ways babies uniquely experience love, sleep and play.  By visiting the Pampers Facebook page, parents can submit photos of their babies experiencing love, sleep or play for the opportunity to be part of a massive celebration event this August. Each week, every photo submitted will have an opportunity to appear on the Pampers Facebook page, in Pampers Twitter feed and in the brand’s special Love, Sleep & Play online gallery.  Plus, these photos have the opportunity to be featured in the brand’s celebration event in New York City next month. In joining the campaign, parents can celebrate all the special ways their babies experience love, sleep and play.

Check out the video below:

Pampers’ philosophy is recognizing the unique and joyful ways each baby delights in their own experiences, and embracing all the ways babies experience love, sleep and play. There are many kinds of love (whether it’s sibling love, parental love or love from their favorite teddy bear), different ways to sleep (whether it’s a planned nap, impromptu slumber or a night filled with the sweetest of dreams), and a  different types of play (whether it’s with a complex toy, a block or a simple box) – and Pampers celebrates and supports them all, that is why from the moment we brought our son home, Pampers was the only diaper brand we used.

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Hope you enjoyed my story and it’s now your turn to submit photo entries of your own children at Pampers Love, Sleep & Play at: http://es.pamperslovesleepandplay.com/

 
 

Sneakers or Snickers- a conversation about monolingual bullying

I started my journey towards foreign languages, when at 18 months, I started repeating German words on my dad’s beer caps collection. My parents have never learned a foreign language, basically nobody in my whole family did! I had a wealthy uncle who went to the U.S. many times and basic knowledge of the English language was the closest to bilingual we had in our family at that point.

I grew up proud of my accomplishments and all the years I invested learning 4 languages and understanding a couple others! That was until I moved to the U.S.of A! I immediately found out my “perfect English skills” which opened the doors to many jobs in my country, were not good enough.

My husband started showing me subtle things like |i| |e|, as in little, which I used to say leetle…or capitain instead of capitan and the list goes on and on, like preposition use, since none of it made any sense to me, ups, on, in, nightmare….preposition nightmare is never really understood until you move here! You think you know the language, but here is a whole new world of possibilities!

His help was instrumental to bring my academic English to a stage very close to a.. native speaker.

But that did not prevent or spare me from suffering what I call the monolingual bullying! Yes, people who don’t speak a foreign language and use their lack of skills on foreign languages to bully people who do master them but would never live up to their standards on the ONLY language they speak, only being the key word!

I have hundreds of stories to tell, but will share just two, to illustrate the whole bullying nature! When I started my business and I attended networking events, I would always find  a person coming to me and saying, I detect an accent, where are you from? What they really meant was: “I hear your accent, you don’t speak English like I do”.

The other story is a little more dramatic as it involves a family member, and knowing she has absolutely no interest in foreign languages, there is a slim to none chance she will ever read my blog! We were in the kitchen of my sister in law’s home and I asked my son, please put the snickers (that is how I said it) on, she jumped with a sarcastic tone and said, Claudia we don’t have snickers bars,but we have other ones….everybody laughed….she continued, he couldn’t put snickers on anyway….laughing….I counted to 10 in any language I know and started, the room was silent because everybody knows my tongue is bigger than my body……I said, I speak four languages, understand about 8, when you learn your second language, we can talk about sneakers and snickers….she was floored, the room was empty all of a sudden. She hasn’t made fun of my English since!

I am a person open to learning experiences and I learn something new every day, I’m far from considering myself a native speaker and that feeling keeps me hungry to improve and perfect my skills, but that doesn’t give people the right to bully me or others who are in different walks in their journey to learn a second language.

I tell my students every day, I make mistakes in English every day, mistakes are a part of a learning process, so face it and know that it is ok and normal to make mistakes. Making those mistakes and walking in the right direction are the foundation steps to mastering a language or learning anything in life!

So while the sneakers are to be worn or the snickers to be eaten, put yourself in somebody’s shoes before you make certain comments and remember, diminishing or purposely criticizing somebody to make the person feel inferior is Bullying! Language Bullying, but it hurts as much as the food thrown at the chubby kid in the cafeteria or the mean words said by popular girls to the not so popular ones!

So embrace a foreign language speaker trying to speak your language as an asset not a handicap.

Does Back to School means Back to English??

My son has probably endured over 100 hours of Spanish this summer, if you count summer camps and classes he sat in with me! Anything from advanced Spanish for healthcare to Mommy and Me caterpilar games!

Back to school approaches, is actually tomorrow and he does not have Spanish at this school, they teach them Latin until 6th grade! Nothing against Latin but I have tossing and turning on how to keep my son’s amazing vocabulary acquired over the summer without replacing it with Latin or English itself!

Many parents I know tell me, before the children went to school, they spoke their native language all the time, once schooling age started, answers in English, then total loss and they come to me frustrated: Que Hago??

I faced the problem myself and decided to bring Spanish besides our food night to our lives while we are in the car driving to school or through a cool song or video!  I honestly believe a foreign language needs to be fun and would not change it with my own son!

He associates foreign language with time with mom and I love that!

After pinteresting many activities to be using which I will be sharing, like game night, scrabble and many other in Spanish or Portuguese, I reached the conclusion that Back to School does not have be back to 0 in the language A or B, it should be, let’s include A or B in our lives to make a natural transition!

Share your experience in  keeping with your child’s bilingual skills, I would love to hear it!

 

Claudia – Bilingual-Buddies Mom

 

Bilingual Mom Gift or Curse????

I wanted to share a mother’s day post which translated, yes I am saying translated all my joy and frustrations on my journey to be a bilingual, in my case, multilingual mom and share my passion with my child without suffocating him and pushing him into something he did not want or was not ready….

My 2 million videos of my baby son, show how determined I was to bring Portuguese into his life, my countless hours watching baby Einstein with languages, my crazy games and songs, lullabies….all to bring him a piece of Brazil into his life! My mom did not speak a foreign language but she said I started repeating with a flawless pronunciation names of German Beers on my Dad’s beer bottle cap collection, at just 18 months, so much that they enrolled me in a prestigious, meaning very expensive, English private school! By 12 I was a junior tour guide, helping my classmates and parents buy things at my first Disney trip, the Americans were amazed by my accent and grammar skills at such early age! By 18 I was taking PHD level English at a larger English center and working at a hotel travel agency as a bilingual agent. By 25 I had mastered and was fluent in 4 languages and could understand nearly 8 languages. I thought, off course, my son would be the same…..just better because he had mommy to help him!

Guess what, my help did not help! He he started talking when he was 6 months but never really took huge interest in mommy’s language, singing yes, talking, not so much, still I insisted….pushed….brought him to ennumerous summer camps and classes until he realized the ability to speak a foreign language is a gift, not a curse and that he should embrace it!

Now he is proud of what mommy does, will sing on our upcoming cd and spent the whole Cinco de Mayo weekend saying…arriba, arriba, I’m rolling my rrrrs mom! LOL

Some of my parents ask, he is fluent, right?? I say no, I don’t push him, so Spanish, Portuguese come naturally when he wishes to use it and learn it! He has a great foundation, reads and sings in three languages, but no , he is not fluent on the real sense of the word and yet I am a very proud mom and very happy for finding a peaceful balance in loving my bilingual child and presenting language as a gift and not as a curse.

Feliz Dia de Las Madres!

Feliz Dia das Maes!