Sunday, February 20, 2011

Speak to us in Spanish!

I'm going to try and blog more frequently.  Probably Wednesdays and Saturdays,  may even try out "Spanish Fridays" like  Latina-ish
If you do not know about Latina-ish you should check her out.  Her blog is so funny and one that I can REALLY RELATE TO!  If you are married to un Mexicano, un Colombiano, un Peruano, basically married to a latino...... you need to check out her blog.

Ok, now on with the show.............

I've begged "The Mexican" to ONLY SPEAK TO OUR SON IN SPANISH!  I want him to be BILINGUAL! I know he understands most of it, but speaking it is a different story.  The Mexican can tell our son to do something in spanish and he does it, but our son REFUSES to speak in Spanish unless we threaten him. Then, he acts like he's forgotten everything he knows.

It makes no sense to me why The Mexican would come home after a day of working with gringos and speak to everyone in English.  I speak spanish, we watch Sabado Gigante together as a family, when we are out in public he speaks to me in spanish, you can always hear Cumbia playing in our house and SPANISH is his 1st LANGUAGE!

But, he speaks  English at home??????

We've had conversation after conversation on this subject and the outcome is.....Yes! we are only going to speak Spanish around our son, but like always THE MEXICAN breaks the deal!  Really, if I can do it, he can do it!!!!  Honestly, our son has learned most of his Spanish from ME!

One of my best friends is from Colombia.  Our conversations are all mixed up!  Spanish here, English there, and some Spanglish thrown in for good measure.

The other day we were in a rush doing a bunch of things and decided we needed to stop at the store.  I asked The Mexican, "trajistes plata?" (did  you bring money?)  The Mexican said, "PLATA? No I didn't bring any silver with me.  Why are you talking like una Colombiana?  Is our son is going to learn all the Colombian words now?"

"Are you serious?" i asked The Mexican.........

For those non spanish speakers out there, Plata means money.......but it's kinda like a slang word for money.....kinda like "cash".

I proceeded to tell The Mexican that until he comes home and talks to me and our son in Spanish (using Mexican slang) I am going to pick up on the Colombian slang.

So the answer would be yes!  Our son is going to know what plata is (dinero-money) what medias are (calcetines-socks) and even the spanglish word I made up "scutate" (scoot over) etc.........

If anyone out there backs me up........ Feel free to comment below on HOW IMPORTANT it is that The Mexican speaks to us in Spanish more than English at home.  After all, he has no family here.  I can not drop our son off at Abuela's house (grandma's house) for a good dose of authentic Spanish!

Hope everyone had a good weekend!


  1. I can totally relate to you on My husband doesn't do much in that department either. I teach my daughter Spanish. I think that most guys are this way when it comes to education, the burden falls on moms. Just one of those battles that is hard to win, I Anyway, I enjoyed your post and the little bits of culture included. The one part I laughed at? I have made up words with my daughter too. An example..."crepero" = CREEPO...LOL! The only thing I cringe at is the mention of "the Mexican". It's hard to hear it so many times. I'll have to write a post on that one...

  2. You have a good point CHantilly! Maybe i can abbreviate TM for "the mexican" or MM for "mi mexicanito" idk.... he is hard to offend and he throws the word mexican around and i guess it's rubbed off on me. I want to be clear though that by me calling him "The Mexican" it is in NO WAY meant to be or sound derogitory!!! Which makes me think of a post i've really been wanting to post! Now i have a dilema..... my original post for tonight on machismo or the one you just made me think of.......
    I love Mexico, y la gente!!!! No quiero ofender a nadie!

    Trying to keep our identies somewhat private, so i'm not posting his name or our son's.

    I love "crepero"! Might have to start using that one...LOL

  3. Oh...I LOVE "mi mexicanito"! I guess the addition of "mine" makes it seem so much more using the Spanish. Thanks for being so sensitive to my opinion. For me, it does come off offensive and I really appreciate that you are understanding of that. Lol! (about crepero) I love that word! ;)

  4. I have a difficult time speaking spanish in my home, well not really but my kids don't speak it.. my 5 yr old doesn't other than what she has learned on Dora. My husband isn't full gringo he's half and half.. but his mexican half, his mother doesn't speak English therefore my husband doesn't either.. I just find it more comfortable to speak English..

    My household is the typical mexican household, my mom and my brother live with us.. we're one big happy family.. I speak Spanish to my mom but English to everyone else.. it's difficult once you get into the groove of things..

    It sucks because I always said my kids were not gonna be those pochos who don't speak a word of spanish.. or are ashamed of their heritage and though I teach them about the culture I fail to teach the language.. ay! I need to kick my trasero and get to speakings ome spanish to her and the baby.

  5. Ay, no! This is such a common happening and it does make me cringe a bit, not because I want to be judgmental, but because you KNOW that he will regret it later on....and it´ll be too late. Effortlessly passing on a language is probably the biggest gift you can give your child. Once he´s older and realizes how important it is to know his heritage language (the second one most spoken in the U.S.) he will look at his father and ask him why he didn´t teach him.
    I truly admire the effort you are putting into it. It´s not easy at all and you definitely need support and a team.
    Bring him over to SpanglishBaby! We´ll lovingly support and encourage your husband!

  6. Ana,
    I totally agree. I want him to embrace the 2 cultures he is so privilaged to have and grow up knowing how to speak both languages.

    Thank you so much for your post! I showed it to my hubby and he "says" he is going to try harder.

    I'd hate to have to enroll him in spanish lessons when he has a great spanish teacher (his father) right here! LOL

    We will be at SpanglishBaby a lot! Thanks for your encouraging words!


  7. Well, I am reading up on your blog! First, thanks for stopping by mine!

    I hear ya on this subject. Now it is not an issue for us living in Mexico. When we lived in the States my husband would never speak Spanish to our daughter. I don't speak Spanish (I know, shame on me!) but I wanted her to learn it.

    Living here, he still speaks mostly Spanish to both the girls, but his family only speaks Spanish so they know it because they go over there a lot.

    But, I do think it is very important for the children that are biracial to know both languages. Plus, with how many Spanish speaking people that are in the US, it will just be more helpful when he gets in the job market!

    Hope you are having an easier time with all of this now.

  8. Sadly Valerie, it is still an issue. It's gotten a teeny tiny bit better....... but still an issue. =(
    I watched the video of your daughter counting in both languages and it was so cute! Such sweeties!!!

  9. Don't judge me on this but I disagree to some extent, not on the fact that we shouldn't encourage our kids to learn our languages, but how many people make it into a huge issue when it doesn't have to be, and later makes statements that its the parents' fault when it's really not. In issues like this, it's really makes me irritated and your post came off as narrow-minded in my opinion. And for "threatening" your son to speak Spanish, I don't how you are taking the situation but if it's negative I am almost positive your son will not enjoy speaking at all and perhaps drop all of the should be a good learning where kids will be motivated by having fun, not by strictly forcing them. My kids are not too fluent in Spanish, can understand well and speak a little bit, but they appear to be really close to our Hispanic culture and customs and they still enjoy our trips to Honduras even w/ their limited Spanish. Most of my family can speak some English too so it's not too much of a burden, and even with their limited Spanish, my kids are still attached to their abuela and abuelo who knows NO English at all. My Spanish is not all that up to par either anymore as I raised abroad almost all my life, but I never felt any regret. Does that make me a bad parent? I think my parents did a great job making me aware of my Hispanic background and though they weren't too touchy on the language thing, I do not think they should be at any fault. It's one of those structural changes that immigrants don't realize and sometimes must be accepted. For me personally I enjoy my Hispanicness though my Spanish is not perfect, besides no one is perfect. I just feel those who makes into a huge concern are putting too much pressure on their kids. Plus the job market thing, having a second language is just a bonus, not a requirement, unless it's a job where Spanish is a MUST (like a College Spanish professor). My 18 year old is interested in improving her Spanish and I'm more than happy to help her, it's been already one month and she doing incredibly amazing and sooner or later she'll def become fluent. I told her never to regret anything much b/c if you feel you want something, you can obtain it no matter how old you are. Don't depend on your parents on everything nor expect them to know everything. I hope you realize what I mean.

  10. Luz,
    Thank you for commenting and giving your point of view.

    I do agree with it is not right to put blame on the parents if a child of spanish speaking parents choose to not speak the language.

    It's too bad you felt my post was narrow minded. It's really wasn't meant to be taken that serious.

    I'm not offended in anyway by what you said and am glad that you shared your opinion and commented. I hope you will comment on other posts as well.

    I would like to say this.
    When I used the word "threaten"..... I did not mean it literally. This blog is meant to be somewhat light hearted and maybe I should have said "encourage". We try to make learning/speaking spanish in our home a positive experience. We constantly remind our son of how lucky he is to understand and speak 2 languages etc..

    If my son chooses not to speak spanish, that is fine. I do want to encourage him to speak it though. I have spoken with many people who do not speak spanish and regret not learning due to parents who did not use the language around their children. With my husband being from Mexico originally and Spanish being his first language, it doesn't make a lot of sense to me of not using it around our son.

    I think it is wonderful that your daughter is working on becoming fluent. I am proof that it is never too late!

    You are right about not ever regretting, because you can do anything you put your mind to!

  11. Well, I think mexicans in the US are not real mexicans and not real gringos, they are a new race something like subamerimexicans And as a mexican Living in the US i think those peoPle has nothing to do with real mexicans and shouldn be learning spanish cause they will sound really weird

    Btw mixing spanish words with english is retarded or "naco"

  12. Anonymous,
    First let me start off by saying, "Thanks for commenting." Your comment made me laugh and I needed that today....
    I respect your opinion although I'd have to disagree. There are plenty of Mexicans living in the United States that are "REAL MEXICANS!"
    WTF? That made no sense! What eva!
    How can they be a new race si la sangre es 100% Mexican??
    Oh y si me gusta ser naca! MUY NACA! I love to mix English and Spanish so, si te molesta... don't read it.
    I hope you will comment again. I love constructive critism but comments that sound like you might have been high when you posted it, make me laugh.
    Keep 'em coming Anon!

  13. Well, I wasn't going to say anything, but "anonymous" got me all irritada. LOL-I am what I like to call a Gringa Latina. I am a 40 yrs old, white woman born and raised in a small all-white town in Iowa. I have been involved (that's a broad term for it) in the Mexican/Latino culture since I was 18 yrs old. I have spent the last 22 years of my life teaching myself Spanish and perfecting it. I was not formally raised with it, obviously, but I am fluent. Like a totally, completely, super-duper fluent Spanish speaker. I don't even have a "Gringa" accent, like some do. I am also 'Married to a Mexican"; a chilango to be specific. My situation is completely opposite of yours, Tara. Mi Mexicanito :o) refuses to speak ENGLISH to me. I am the only English speaker he knows that he doesn't speak English to. He only says three things to me in English:

    1. I love you.
    2. Whatever...
    3. Yeah, yeah, yeah... which is then usually followed by #2.

    Okay, now, here is my point. I knew I had one. I believe that in order to build a strong foundation and appreciation of the Spanish language and Mexican culture you have to speak Spanish at home to your kids from the day you bring them home from the hospital. Once they start school, they can learn English. I don't have any kids, but if I did they would not learn English until they got to kindergarten. I do have a German Shepherd named, Lobo and he doesn't know what "Where's your ball?" means but you can be damn sure that if I say to him "Donde esta tu pelota?" he is gonna be running his happy tail wagging ass all over the house and yard looking for his flat football that he has chewed on so much that it doesn't hold air anymore!

    As far as the idiotic comment that Mexicans in the US aren't real Mexicans, that is asinine. The only Mexicans that live in the US that I wouldn't consider "REAL Mexican" are the coconuts I know who can't speak Spanish because their parents didn't teach them when they were kids. That is your so-called 'new race', Anonymous. Except it isn't subamerimexicans.. they are Coconuts. Brown on outside but white on the inside. And they aren't new, they have been around for a long-long time. And, yes, this Gringa Latina, speaks better Spanish than a Coconut. Por su puesto que si!

  14. Gringa Latina,
    Thanks for commenting. I have to agree with you on some things. 1st, if there is anything I could "do over", it would be speaking to my son ONLY in Spanish and letting him learn English in school.

    Being a mother, I realize now that it is much easier said than done. Especially when you do not have Spanish speaking grandparents who can help out with the grandchildren around.

    If both parents work and your child must go to day care, it is even more difficult. (especially if there are no spanish speaking teachers/care-givers)

    I wish my hubby would ONLY SPEAK TO ME IN SPANISH, but he chooses to, sometimes. We do text all day in Spanish, but I really need the conversations to be taking place. I speak to him in Spanish and he answers in English! I give up! LOL (not really) Luckily, I have some querida amigas que hablan el idioma. They speak to me in Spanish often.

    Anonymous got a rise out of us. I agree that there are a lot of Mexicans and Latinos in general who do not speak Spanish or speak it perfectly for what ever reason. It doesn't make them any less "mexican" or "latin".... His comment was completely POINTLESS!

    Love your attitude Gringa Latina! You've got to comment more often amiga!

  15. "As far as the idiotic comment that Mexicans in the US aren't real Mexicans, that is asinine. The only Mexicans that live in the US that I wouldn't consider "REAL Mexican" are the coconuts I know who can't speak Spanish because their parents didn't teach them when they were kids. That is your so-called 'new race', Anonymous. Except it isn't subamerimexicans.. they are Coconuts. Brown on outside but white on the inside. And they aren't new, they have been around for a long-long time. And, yes, this Gringa Latina, speaks better Spanish than a Coconut. Por su puesto que si! "

    Gee thanks for insulting us who can't speak fluent Spanish hmm! I can speak a little Spanish but I usually speak English 95% of the because I find that the language I"m most comfortable with because it's the majority language that I have been around in (school, friends, everywhere). Spanish was usually spoken at home so I still can understand it fairly well..I just don't feel comfortable in speaking the language you know what I mean? My parents do speak Spanish to me and sometimes English, but I just reply in English. Maybe I'm not a "real" Mexican because I grew up in the United States all my life and have that Western mentality..but is there anyone to blame for that..NO.

    But, regardless if I speak fetal Spanish or perfect Spanish, I still love the Spanish culture, it's food, movies, the customs, go to Mexico, and I personally am in a Spanish dance program at my I am not completely "whitewashed". Yes I do have some Americanization, and that's because I grew up here, and because of that I guess I'm multicultural because I just don't enjoy Spanish and American things, but East Asian (Japanese,Korean) and Indian as well (Hindi movies and entertainment).

    I felt better after reading Luz's comment because she does seem to understand to some extent. I thought I was the only one feeling like this. I mean I'd think it would be awesome if I can speak fluent Spanish, but you know, it's not the end of the world if a Mexican does not speak Spanish.It's not like the entire Spanish culture and tradition will be wiped off this planet because some of us can't speak the language. How can you judge everything only on one's language skills? I still embrace my hispanicness even if I talk in English. Besides every single individual here has alot of strengths and weaknesses. So just watch out and think about it before making a comment like that ;)

    Btw the way, now thinking, I'm not a Real Mexican or a Coconut, but rather a multicolored tye dye fruit rollup of Mexican Heritage :D

  16. La Gringa Latina

    Hello. Your comment, "The only Mexicans that live in the US that I wouldn't consider "REAL Mexican" are the coconuts I know who can't speak Spanish because their parents didn't teach them when they were kids. That is your so-called 'new race', Anonymous. Except it isn't subamerimexicans.. they are Coconuts. Brown on outside but white on the inside. And they aren't new, they have been around for a long-long time. And, yes, this Gringa Latina, speaks better Spanish than a Coconut. Por su puesto que si! " is one that I disagree with completely. You yourself included in your comment the reason that may Mexican-Americans can't speak Spanish-because their parents DIDN'T teach them. While it is true that there are some who do not care to learn Spanish, for those of us who do and who are working on it, it can be a painful experience to not have that connection to our heritage. Especially when we know that if only our parents had taught us from babyhood, we would be fluent right now with no problems. Can we help that our parents did not teach us? Kudos to you for being bilingual. I hope that in the future you have a little more compassion.

    You reap what you sow-sow compassion, reap compassion.

  17. Jessyca and Ann,
    Thank you both for commenting. I agree with you both. The whole "coconut" comment was a little harsh and I'm hoping it was just due to GL being offended by anonymous' comment.
    Spanish culture and heritage involve so much more than being fluent in Spanish. No one can place blame. It is what it is! I give major props to anyone who learns Spanish (or any other language for that matter) whether they are latino/a or not. We should all support eachother with positive thoughts and help build each other up! Not tear eachother down. ((hugs))

  18. Thank you for your response Tara.
    One thing I should've mentioned in my original post is that the reason that some(not all) parents did not teach their children Spanish is because when they themselves went to school, they were stigmatized for not being able to speak English. When they then had their own children, not realizing that a child can learn two languages easily with no problem, they so strongly felt that they didn't want their children to suffer in school, that they taught them only English. I sincerely regret that they did not know then what we know now-that a child CAN learn two languages fluently and easily. But, they were trying to do what they thought was best with the knowledge and experience that they had at the time.

  19. Ann,
    This is so very true. One of my patients at work was telling me the same thing. She is an older lady with the last name "Gonzalez", she has typical latin features and by her name and appearance one might assume she speaks Spanish. She was telling me how they were "forbidden" to speak Spanish in the house because her father did not want others to look at them differently.
    Thanks for making that point.
    Hugs amiga!

  20. Hi Tara,

    I just saw the comments that came after mine and what is said by Ann and you is so true. Sadly I find many people don't think of that or realize. I've always come across people say "your child can't speak perfect Spanish, Hindi, whatever...shameful, it's the parents fault, oh they are horrible." Blah Blah. Also the other day my friend who can speak some Indian language was telling me how she was ridiculed for speaking with an English accent. Well she grew up can she control what accent she has? Got me thinking, if we fulfill one of the things we were criticized about, we will surely endure much can we cope. It's like we have to be 100% perfect and must have not any weakness. It's ridiculous to consider all this when there are so many thing going in the world and problems we face everyday, and we have to be PERFECT?

    As Ann said, it's reasonable why parents may not teach their kids a language or whatever..and no it not anyone's fault. Parents are not any fault 100% for how their child will be. What can be guaranteed in your child is that he/she becomes a well rounded and good human being, that's pretty much the only thing parents can take control over..everything else is up to fate and very much the outside influences they come across, shaping their beliefs and certain perspectives in life. Now if someone tells me what I should believe and my opinions and feelings are invalid because of whatever reason..I will scream murder. As you said Tara, it is what it is. We all make mistakes, even when we are adults, become parents and reach old age. That is life. However no one should be blamed for what mistake they did, and if possible they can fix it they feel comfortable with it.

    That said, I don't normally speak Spanish because of my reason. My parents are not any fault for that. I know who I am and know what will make me happy and my parents know that and there there all the way. I praise them for what they have blessed me with and the love, affection and support they have given me since birth. That's the best thing any child can ask for. Not being able to speak a specific language is not going to destroy it. It would be great to and I'm happy for those who can speak fluently, but even those who don't, it's not going to ruin your life or anything, and if you are interested in speaking more or becoming fluent, the opportunity is always there.

  21. Kudos to you and yours.

    Sorry to bring this back up but what is wrong with that anonymous fella up there saying that us Mexicans in the US are not real Mexicans.

    I speak both languages and PERFECT. Mi Español es tan bueno como el ingles.

    Anyway back to the main topic... I like your motivation to learn the language. Wish my ex had that motivation.

  22. Thanks for commenting Daniel. Well I guess nothing was wrong with him saying it.... I just don't agree with what he said. LOL

    Thanks for the inspiring words. I love when I get to use the Spanish I've learned! I actually used it today at work explaining some things and it felt great to be able to communicate with someone in Spanish!

    I hope you will visit again soon!