I’ve meant to post our language progress for awhile now. It is going really well. Some mornings I wake up and notice that the children still speak Spanish and it really frustrates me. But most days I don’t even notice the Spanish chatter. New phrases are heard almost every day now. To give those of you adopting some frame of reference–after only three and a half months together…
Daniel (8)–is reading site words and beginning readers at school. He has almost every letter and sound down. We are making a big push with flashcards and “The Letter Factory” by LeapFrog to push him through. He knows the most English out of the four, and is anxious to use it at every opportunity. He is even counting by twos and tens in English now. Of course, a lot of this is due to his amazing teacher. We just had his parent/teacher conference this morning and she is so happy with his progress. His math is coming along nicely and he is learning to count money and do harder subtraction facts–all in English. His favorite phrases are “Oh, wow.” “Come on, come on.” “No homework today, mommy.” and “May I have permission, mommy.”
Ezzy–Miss smarty pants came up behind me in the car a few days ago and said, “Ma, what are you doing?” I responded, “driving.” And then I realized what had just happened. I turned back to her and asked her to repeat the question, and she did in plain English. She then turned to Wompy and asked him the same thing. He responded, “nada.” Priceless!!! Her favorite phrases are, “Ooooh, that’s disgusting.” (I taught her that one) “Stop whining.” and “Today, no school.” I am anxious to see how much she catches up to Danny as he goes on track break next week for six weeks. Ezzy and Nikki have been in school for three weeks less than Danny, which at this point is a lifetime.
Oh, and on a non-language update…She started giving unsolicited kisses to her dad and I a few weeks ago. I love her surprise affection these days. I’ll be laying on the couch snuggled up with her and will feel a gentle peck on my arm or my cheek. This is huge. Ezzy is starting to feel more and more secure with physical affection. As her guard has fallen though, we’ve noticed an increase in whining and pouting. That’s okay. I’ll take it. Those are behaviors I can easily redirect. I can’t force her to give me free kisses and hugs.
Nikki–Yes, she still insists. I don’t think there will be any going back for her on her name. Although, when she is in trouble, you better believe she is Maria Daniela. That’s when she really knows she’s in trouble. :) As for English, she is the slowest of the four to pick it up. It is mostly because she is stubborn–just like learning to ride the bikes. Nikki understands most of what I tell her. She also does really well for her teacher who is super structured and super strict–YES! But she hates to do anything that involves brain power. She would much rather sit with her legs crossed, purse over her lap, and lips puckered in front of a mirror. None of this implies that she is stupid. When she decides to do something–she does it. But there is no forcing or bribing her into it.
All of this being said, she seems to know most of her letters. She is getting better at number recognition in English. She also has the heaviest Spanish accent out of all the children.Â She does say lots of English words–but she doesn’t attempt phrases as much as the other three do. She loves the words “stinky” “video games” (meaning the Wii) and “I love it.” It will come, just in her own time.
Â Juan P.–Our little parrot. He repeats everything. Lately, “Oh, man.” is his favorite. He also loves to say “See, look.” “Love you, too.” “It’s okay, mommy, it’s okay.” “Bless you.” (which he just realized doesn’t apply to himself when he sneezes :) and “Airplane.” Juan P.’s English really is better than his Spanish. That is not to say that he knows more English, just that people can understand his English. His pronunciation is nearly perfect. We are also learning on number recognition in English this month. We’ll see how he is doing at Christmas. Just today, Wompy started repeating, “Knock it off.” and “No baby talk.” I’m sure you can imagine why he picked those up.
Other words they know:
Please. Thank you. Excuse me. You’re Welcome.–these were the first they learned.
Huh? Zip it. Be quiet. Super. Good. Bad. Maybe.
Today. Tomorrow. Breakfast. Lunch. Snack. Fruit.–they actually know quite a few food names, I won’t bore you with all of them.
Church. Prayer. Jesus.
Well, that about wraps it up. I’m sure there are many words they say that I don’t even realize. It is to the point where a phrase or sentence has to be said for me to perk my ears up and take notice. Adam and I are both very proud of their progress as a whole. We just instituted an “English only” rule, which applies to music and movies. At first we let them watch new movies in Spanish, if the option was available. We really believe that it helped them transition more smoothly. They at least had something linguistically familiar around. But we are too the point where they don’t need it anymore. I think I will be hindering their progress, if I let it continue. And just a couple of weeks ago, the kids starting asking for English music in the car. They don’t even ask for Spanish music anymore. We can tell they are anxious to become fluent.
Having each other to rely on hasn’t had much of an effect one way or the other. I think the pros and cons have equaled each other out. On the one hand, they have each other to talk to at home so they don’t speak as much English. But on the other hand, if it was just a single child they would have been more silent to begin with, and been a bit more intimidated. Now the kids use all the English words they know when speaking to each other. Their Spanglish is one of the cutest things I’ve ever heard. :)