14 February, 2012

“Twinkle twinkle” or “Estrellita”

I try not to be the strictest dad with OPOL, so although I do try to keep languages as separated as possible, and not to address my little one in Spanish, sometimes, whenever there is a “group song” in Spanish and Grandpas, Mum, and other members of the family are singing, I just can´t help it and eventually join in. Until now I had the feeling that I could do this without my boy realizing that I was actually singing in Spanish. Unconsciously, I´ve been stepping into the dark side during the last month, and I joined mum in some action songs in Spanish, this time just the two of us (all his songs at daycare and with grandpas are in Spanish so even though mum and I have learnt a quite respectable repertoire of nearly 30 English songs, lullabies and nursery rhythms, the competence is fierce…).
Yesterday Mum and I were singing “La casita” (the little house) in Spanish, because he loves it so much, and then we followed with “twinkle twinkle little star”. Suddenly mum just went creative and invented a Spanish version “Estrellita” (literally “little star”). Once Mum had finished the song he asked PAPI to sing the new Spanish version “PAPI, zteyita!” but I refused to sing it in Spanish, and I insisted I only knew “twinkle twinkle”. He kept asking me for it, but this time more firmly, almost upset I would say. I could see he was disgruntled, and his face was like “I know you know how to sing this one like Mum, so why don´t you just sing it?!”. In the end I managed to drive his attention to another English songs and games, so I skipped the Spanish singing.
I think I have to realize that he is reaching two years old, and it´s about time to stop thinking that he doesn´t understand or that you can fool him because he´s little. If you try to cheat, he´ll catch you, and apparently sooner rather than later! Any trace of inconsistency will hit you back like a boomerang! I think I have to be more consistent with my OPOL approach, but I don´t like the idea of missing some fun when Spanish gets inevitably in the way, or I should rather say anywhere around us…

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