10 April, 2013

3 years recap

Almost 3 years have passed since our boy came to our lives and with him the bilingual project that we promote in our family.

I can still remember how I felt when we decided to raise our child/children bilingually. Now as his 3rd birthday is almost here, and with his little sister just arrived, I think it´s a good time for a recap.

The way I´ll do this is by starting with the positive things collected along the way, and then go through the weak points where I think we need some kind of improvement.

Great outcome from this bilingual adventure:

  • My boy is about to turn 3 years old and he speaks Spanish and English!!! (Yet his English lags logically behind Spanish, but he´s grasped it in an awesome way). 
  • I´ve proved that I´m able to do this. I never thought I´d get this far but I´ve done it, and that feels pretty good and encourages us to keep going.
  • I have the wonderful support of my extraordinary wife who jumps into the English side from time to time joining our world of English fun.
  • The family has not only respected but supported the project from scratch and they see the effort and the value in it.
  • My boy has accepted our family language approach without questioning the model so far. He could have rebelled himself against it or just refuse to speak the way only his father does, but he´s gone with the flow extremely well.
  • I´ve been able to keep track of the process on this blog. I barely have time to re-read old posts (I´d say even to write new ones…), but when I do it brings me lovely memories that I´m sure I´ll enjoy more with time.
  • Despite the lack of exposure, since I work long hours, he has got gramar, structure of English, and fluency, not only vocabulary. This morning on our way to school he came up with "Papi, why is it foggy this morning?", and IT WAS a foggy morning indeed, and we had just talked about what "foggy" means once!!
  • Now I´ve come this far I feel much more confident about replicating the model with our baby princess, and of course involving her old brother in the process.
Things to be improved:
  • I see my own mistakes and inaccuracies in the way he speaks:
    • Prepositions: Many times when I feel insecure about which preposition I should use (in/on/at???) I just go for one and move one, but I´m concern with my lack of consistency on this. When I face the same structure againg I know I might use a different preposition, so it´s confusing for him and he hesitates when he wants to use the same sentence.
    • Phrasal verbs: I try to stay in the confort area and use only those that I´m sure of, but this makes my speech limited, and clearly less rich than the one of a native speaker.
    • Movement/action verbs/expressions: What seems natural for a native is really not natural for me, so I try to nurture this kind of stuff through movies, Peppa Pig-s and the like, but again I see a weak leg here...
  • I still have to work on how to react consistently when I´m in the need of saying something in Spanish in his presence, so I don´t go against my own rules.
Now my boy is in the WHY phase, he fires me thousands of questions per minute, WHY..."everything imaginable”? and WHAT is… “everything”?. So this is kind of a stress test for a non-bilingual father like me. Added to this, I´ve been ultra-loaded with tons of work lately, and therefore the exposure time has dropped a bit affecting also my dedication to my own improvement in those areas where I find my English weak.
The next big challenge ahead of us is including our baby girl into this adventure, and hopefully with the same results (fingers crossed).