When Toddlers Don't Stick to the Plan

Last night, Gabriella requested her “farm book” as a bedtime story. As we meandered our way around ‘ole McDonald’s workplace, I loved listening to her name animals and recreating their sounds.

We shared a video post a while back about our bilingual barnyard. I was amused at Ella’s merging of the two languages. Approaching the sheep’s pen, she told me, “There da sheets. Meh, meh!”

Inwardly I giggled, knowing that’s Billy’s influence. I use “Baa, baa!”

But, I must admit, it’s nice to hear her saying something in Spanish. It’s been a challenge recently, as her verbal skills have exploded, to recognize how much her English is outpacing the Spanish.

I’m not shocked, just a tad disappointed.

Sometimes I like to joke that we're not raising a bilingual kid after all. And I do think there is this inner place of nervousness that things aren't going as I'd planned.

Isn't that the way of parenting?

I didn't give her sugar for the first 18 months of her life. Yet just a couple weeks ago, she tried to convince me to crash a stranger's birthday party when she heard they were having cake in the party room. (Sigh...)

But I know deep down that we are offering her what she needs... vegetables, Spanish and otherwise. And I do trust that it will all work out. And for those times when I overdramatize, Ella surprises me with morsels of encouragement.

“Mama, come sit with me at la mesa (the table).” “Papi and me build a casa (house) outside!”

It's also fun to see her starting to differentiate. Last week, she handed a book to my dad for him to read to her. She quickly assured him, “It not in Spanish.”

So I keep trying to encourage Billy because I know it's challenging to continue with her in Spanish when she is chattering all. of. the. time... always in English.

I'm also eager to see how she continues to develop.

I recently returned to work after maternity leave, and we’re delighted that her caregiver is bilingual and will be speaking to her in Spanish now, too.
And in a couple weeks, we’re heading to Guatemala to visit family and introduce Isaac. I am so super curious to see how she interacts with her grandparents and cousins. She was barely verbal last time we were there, but quickly learned to shout “Come here!" in Spanish to her cousin.

It should be a fun experience altogether now that she’s old enough to observe and discuss her surroundings and to talk to people. I can’t wait!

What parenting journey of yours hasn't gone exactly as planned? How do you keep pushing forward?

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