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Can We Give Our Child the World?

When I found out I was pregnant, I did what I think a lot of people do…

I went out and bought a book. 

What to Expect When You’re Expecting?  Nope.

I immediately purchased 7 Steps to Raising a Bilingual ChildMy husband speaks Spanish, as does his family, and I speak English… as does my family.  So I wanted our child to speak both. 

I tore through the book.  The author introduced me to the concept of One Parent, One Language, “OPOL” to the insiders.  Basically, her strong suggestion involved me speaking solely in English (no problem) and my husband speaking solely in Spanish… somewhat of a problem.

My very mature response was…  “I change my mind.”

 I don’t want my daughter to be learn Spanish.  I don’t want my husband and child having a secret language that I don’t understand. 

Very mature, right?

Ultimately, I acknowledged that I could not and would not deny my daughter the opportunity to connect with her heritage and to enjoy relationships with her family in Guatemala.

So we’re trying it.  And It’s harder than I thought it would be.

Though I did preemptively worry about how we would have  “family conversations” with two languages in the air, I already see how we are defaulting to English all the time.  Thankfully, right now my husband  stays home with her, so she is gaining a foundation of Spanish.  But I continue to fret about which language she’s hearing more.

It’s the beginning of our journey as a bicultural family, and I’m excited to see where it leads.

Has your family tried the OPOL method?  How has it worked having conversations as a family when one parent is monolingual?  I’d love to hear the joys and challenges you’ve experienced.

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A Life with Subtitles. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.