This Spanglish Family

When Ella first started picking up words, it was so exciting to hear her name something. We loved saying any new word she added over and over.

Then I started giving Billy a hard time for sentences like “Ponete tus shoes.” (Put on your… shoes.) I worried that she’d never learn the corresponding Spanish word if we simply substituted English ones she’d already mastered. I imagined she’d have one, complex Spanglish vocabulary. But she just said “shoes” so cute…

So Billy graciously appeased me and kept working to be intentional about speaking to her fully in Spanish. But then she learned a few words in Spanish, and it’s just so cute to hear her talking. I want to say the words over and over.

Which is how I suddenly realized I was saying sentences like “I’ll get you some more agua” and “We’re going outside. Put on your chumpi!” I especially realized it when a friend heard me and was like “chumpi”? Oh… um… yeah. It’s Spanish for “jacket.”

Well, sort of. Then I started thinking how the actual word is chumpa… and it’s really only used in Guatemala. And chumpi is the sort of toddler-esque, diminuative version. I think anyway. 

I actually don’t really know Spanish. I’m just saying it because my kid says it, and I think it’s cute…


  1. It's so interesting to watch young children learn two languages. I am not a fluent Portuguese speaker by any means, but thankfully I'm still a little bit ahead of my four year old. We mix up our languages all the time. :) Somehow they learn to distinguish between the two.

    1. I wish I was a little bit ahead of my two year old! :) I am learning words from her. I gotta work on that! Thanks for commenting, Taara.


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