Category Archives: niños
Parados en la linea por reentrar a los Estados Unidos después de nuestra visita a El Salvador, una pareja gringa empezó a placticar con nosotros. Era una día largo y sentí rendida. Sólo quería recoger mi equipaje, ir por la casa, y dormirme pero esa pareja gringa estaban super felices, super despiertos, y super habladores. Por unos minutos nos contaron sobre su visita a Ecuador, y luego, empezaron a preguntarnos sobre nuestro viaje.
“¿Y son tus hijos?” me preguntó la mujer en inglés, indicando los niños.
“Sí, son nuestros hijos,” respondí.
“¿Y hablan español?” preguntó la mujer.
“Sí, son bilingües,” dije.
“¡Qué bien!” dijo ella, “Yo hablo un poco de español. Conozco las palabras más importantes, como ‘cerveza’,” me dijo, riendo.
“¡Yo conozco una palabra en español!” dijo mi hijo menor. “¡Borracho!”
La mujer me miraba con expectación pero no lo traduje.
Agradecidamente, eso fue el final de nuestra conversación.
Standing in line to reenter the U.S. after our visit to El Salvador, a gringa couple started chatting with us. It was a long day and I felt exhausted. I just wanted to retrieve my luggage, go home, and go to sleep but that gringa couple was super happy, super awake and super talkative. For a few minutes they told us about their visit to Ecuador, and then they began to ask about our trip.
“Are those your children?” the woman asked me in English, indicating the boys.
“Yes, these are our kids,” I answered.
“Do they speak Spanish?” she asked.
“Yes, they’re bilingual,” I said.
“That’s great!” she said, “I speak a little Spanish. I know the most important words, like cerveza, [beer],” she said, laughing.
“I know a word in Spanish!” said my youngest son. “Borracho!” [drunk!]
The woman looked at me expectantly but I didn’t translate.
Thankfully, that was the end of our conversation.
Book description: KUSIKIY A CHILD FROM TAQUILE, PERU, by author and illustrator Mercedes Cecilia is a unique story that draws us into the kaleidoscopic and mysterious world of a Peruvian child. KUSIKIY lives in The Andes Mountains of Peru in a small island in Lake Titikaka. In this wise and peaceful community Kusikiy’s father cultivates potatoes and Quinoa; his mother, like her mother and grandmother, weaves intricate traditional designs into her textiles keeping a record of important events. Children will identify with Kusikiy’s love for family and his concerns for the effects of climate changes on Mother Earth, as well as with his desire to be of help to his town. This is a book that gives parents and educators a visual and appealing way to engage children in a dialogue about traditional cultures, the meaning of community, sustainability and caring for our environment.
“Taquile is a peaceful island. It is so quiet that you can hear the potatoes growing under the eath and the voices of mothers whispering Quechua songs to the babies on their backs.” – Kusikiy by Mercedes Cecilia
That is just a taste of the beautiful language found in this book, and here is a sample of the equally beautiful art, also created by the author.
If you’re interested in purchasing your own copy, the author is offering something special to readers of Latinaish.com. From now until December 20th, 2011, you can E-mail the author directly and let her know you’re a reader of Latiniash.com for free shipping and environmentally friendly gift wrapping.
For more information on the book and author, visit Kusikiy.com.
Disclosure: A copy of this book was provided to Latinaish.com for review. All opinions are my own.
As I’ve mentioned before, I Love Lucy is something my entire family loves and it is one of the rare shows I watch on a near daily basis. Some may think I started watching I Love Lucy because it’s about a Latino married to a gringa but I’ve been watching it since I was a little girl, which makes me wonder if it had some hand in the destiny I pursued.
After I got married, I Love Lucy took on new meaning to me, and it was one of the first shows I introduced Carlos to. Surprisingly, he never saw it in El Salvador, although they had a dubbed version of everything from Friends, Saved By the Bell, and Golden Girls to Smurfs, Beverly Hills 90210, Dukes of Hazzard and MacGyver.
As I watch this show with my boys, sometimes I forget that our sons are growing up in a household similar to the one on the screen – similar to the one “Little Ricky” grew up in – bicultural, bilingual, Spanish-speaking father and an Anglo mother. It doesn’t matter how often I watch and re-watch I Love Lucy, I never quite get over how completely ahead of their time they were. It’s strange to me that my boys can’t fully relate to any characters on today’s TV shows, yet they can relate to I Love Lucy which aired in the 1950′s.
Where are today’s bicultural, bilingual, Spanglish speaking characters? There definitely aren’t enough. I’ll admit that children’s programming has come a long way and Latinos are well-represented in cartoons, but my boys aren’t exactly Dora the Explorer’s target audience anymore. Mun2 and Tr3s, likewise, have done an amazing job with bilingual shows like RPM Miami and Quiero Mi Boda, but the themes are much too mature for adolescents. Where is the programming for the modern familia Latina? Where is the show that will do for Latinos what The Cosby Show did for blacks? Where are the sitcoms for families like us, or are we supposed to be content with re-runs of The George Lopez show?
Until then, I Love Lucy makes us feel that we are normal, at least as much as a bicultural, bilingual household can be.
El título se explica por sí mismo. Chécalo!
The title is self-explanatory. Check it out!
Coca-cola en botellas de vidrio.
Coca-cola in glass bottles.
Un librito con las letras de Los Panchos en una librería de libros usados.
A booklet with lyrics of Los Panchos in a used bookstore.
Carlos y yo fuimos al mall, dejando nuestros hijos en la casa. Mi hijo mayor se quejó de que lo dejamos en casa, así que, saqué esta foto y la mandé a su celular con un texto diciendo: “Tuvimos que dejarte en casa porque tenemos una cita con este hombre. Pórtate bien.”
Carlos and I went to the mall, leaving the kids in the house. My older son complained that we left them home, so I took this photo and sent it to his cell phone with a text saying: “We had to leave you home because we have an appointment with this man. Behave.”
Hombres lavando las ventanas. (Latinos valientes, por supuesto!)
Men washing windows. (Brave Latinos, of course!)
Mi hijo menor con gorro de oso polar. Qué cute!
My younger son with a polar bear hat. How cute!
“Mommy, I need a ruler for my homework,” my younger son told me after school one day.
“Well, where is yours?” I said, already knowing the answer.
“I left it in my desk at school,” he said, his brown eyes widening to garner as much sympathy from me as possible.
I sighed and began digging around in the junk drawer and craft supplies while calling for my older son and asking him for his ruler. Of course, my older son didn’t have his either but instead of helping me search for one, he went wordlessly to the computer.
I heard the sound of the printer and then scissors cutting paper.
“Here you go,” he said, handing his little brother a ruler made of paper.
“That was really smart,” I said.
My older son tapped his head with a finger and replied, “That’s the Latino way.”
His response made me laugh but he’s right – in the face of scarcity, Latinos come up with ingenious solutions and it’s something I truly admire. While Latinos aren’t the only ones with clever ideas, here are a few photos of Salvadorans showing us how it’s done.
(By the way, Carlos and I have totally done that before. Not recommended for highway driving.)
Related Links Featuring Latino Ingenuity:
Washer/dryer turned Pig Roaster – from TikiTikiBlog.com
Note: Images collected from message boards around the internet with no original source/photographer given. If you are the photographer and would like credit or your photo removed, please contact me.
As most of you know, we’re trying to raise our boys to be English/Spanish bilingual. This is not an easy task for anyone, but even more challenging for me for a number of reasons.
#1. I’m not a native Spanish speaker and I still make mistakes.
#2. My husband, Carlos, only recently got “on board” with speaking Spanish to the kids. (He still isn’t consistent.)
#3. I wasn’t confident enough in my Spanish to speak it much to the boys when they were babies, so many lost opportunities there.
#4. We are not able to send the boys to a dual immersion school and we can’t afford to visit El Salvador often enough.
#5. We do not live in a community with a large Spanish-speaking population, nor are we surrounded by Spanish-speaking family.
Even with the odds stacked against us, I’ve been determined to raise the boys bilingual and I try to speak in Spanish to them as much as possible. Now, at ages 13 and 10, they comprehend spoken Spanish almost fluently, they speak conversationally, (though not on grade level with fluent speakers), and they can both read and write at a basic level.
I think this is a pretty common result of raising children bilingually — that they excel at comprehending spoken Spanish but aren’t quite fluent in other areas. I haven’t given up on them being 100% fluent, but that’s where we’re at right now.
While we were at the National Aquarium in Baltimore last weekend, the boys learned all kinds of ocean vocabulary. (Although we had to Google the word for “jellyfish” [medusa] – since neither Carlos or I could remember it.)
At one point while I was taking video of the sharks, my 10 year old son started peppering me with questions about when family would be getting together for his birthday. (His birthday had already passed and we had already celebrated, but he wanted another party.)
I later realized that my “ruined” video of the sharks, (because of all the talking), was actually something interesting. On the video you can hear how many of the conversations in our household go — with me stubbornly speaking Spanish even as my children respond in English. (Notice at the end how he mixes in Spanish without even realizing it!)
I just wanted to share this video to encourage other parents raising bilingual children who may feel frustrated or discouraged. Keep stubbornly speaking Spanish, (or whatever other language it is you’re teaching your kids.)
Vale la pena. It’s worth it.
While I was at the Blogalicious conference, you may have seen me using the hashtag #amatucereal (love your cereal) on Twitter. Ironically the Blogalicious conference didn’t have cereal available for breakfast or else I would have been eating it.
Cereal is a staple at our house, and in most houses in the United States, for many reasons. For one, cereal is easy to prepare and many people don’t have the time or energy to cook a hot breakfast like frijoles molidos, tortillas, huevos revueltos, chorizo, platanos, etc. (though I do make that breakfast for the entire family on the weekend!)
You’ve heard breakfast is the most important meal of the day – and it’s true, so it’s good that we have cereal as an option to start the day. Not only is it fast, easy, affordable, and well-loved by even the pickiest niños – breakfast cereal with milk is the leading source of 10 nutrients important to growing bodies.
Here are some more interesting facts from a survey conducted by Kellogg’s:
- Nutrition experts agree that breakfast in the morning helps children focus in the classroom.
- 9 in 10 Latina mothers want their kids to eat breakfast every day.
- Latina mothers are 20% more likely than mothers overall to get up early and prepare breakfast.
Want to learn more about the Kellogg’s survey? Visit AmaTuCereal.com.
Disclosure: This is not a paid or sponsored post. Kellogg’s sponsored my attendance at the Blogalicious conference. All opinions are my own.
These are some things I’ve observed with my own children who are being raised between Salvadoran and American cultures. Which ones apply to your bicultural children? What are some of the unique things about your child and the cultures they’re being raised in?
15 signs you’re doing a good job of raising bicultural children
#1. The forks on the dinner table go untouched as they scoop up every bite of their meal in a tortilla.
#2. Not only can they dance the Hokey Pokey, they know the moves to La Bala.
#3. Their iPod contains popular American music, but also a cumbia or two.
#4. They own at least one pair of pajamas from St. Jack’s, a Selecta uniform, and at least one shirt with incorrect English phrasing on it, (bought for them by a Tío who didn’t know better.)
#5. A look in their toy box reveals not just a Nintendo DS but trompos and capiruchos.
#6. They have been equally visited by both Ratoncito Pérez and the Tooth Fairy.
#7. They become perplexed when their Anglo school friends don’t know what common everyday household objects such as a “comal” are.
#8. They can do a perfect Chavo del 8 impression.
#9. They drink horchata with their peanut butter and jelly sandwich at lunch time.
#10. There are people completely unrelated to them that they call “Tío” and “Tía.” They’re shocked to find out they aren’t really family.
#11. When anyone talks about “football” they assume the conversation is about soccer.
#12. They have the English and Spanish version of their favorite bedtime story.
#13. For Christmas dinner they request that in addition to ham, you prepare panes con pavo.
#14. They use a chancla to kill moscas and are surprised to learn that an invention called a “flyswatter” actually exists.
#15. Despite the craziness of their own household, they find mono-cultural houses to be “kind of weird.”
Carlos recently started college classes in Dental Assisting. We really aren’t quite sure what he’ll do with that certificate when/if he passes, since dental assistants make half of what he makes at his labor job.
College is something Carlos has wanted to do since before he even came to the United States. He actually wanted to be a doctor in El Salvador, but he couldn’t afford to go to university – He immigrated here instead. Speaking almost no English, he washed windows, worked at McDonald’s, put flyers on cars. He left his dreams of being a doctor far behind.
Fourteen years later the opportunity came up for him to take this Dental Assisting course. Everything fell into place – he received a grant that covered the entire cost, the classes are 5 minutes down the street from our house, and the class is in the evenings so it doesn’t interfere with his work day. We decided, ¿Por qué no? … Why not?
The only thing Carlos was uncertain about was his English. He questioned whether it was yet good enough to make it through a college class. I told him he had nothing to lose and everything to gain. I told him I would study with him for as long as it took until he understood everything. In the end, even if he completely failed, at least he would have tried instead of spent the rest of his life wondering what could have been.
Well, Carlos has made it through 2 weeks of classes now. On his first test? He received an 83% B.
Evenings are a little crazy here. The other night I was simultaneously helping both our boys with their homework while helping Carlos study words even I have trouble pronouncing in English, (Circumvallate lingual papillae, anyone?)
Sometimes I just pronounce the words the way a Spanish speaker would when I’m dictating and he’s writing so I don’t have to spell them. Other times, it just so happens that a knowledge of Spanish helps one memorize the meaning of words that are rooted in Latin.
nonmaleficence – do no harm
The “no mal” is right there. “Not bad” makes it easier to remember that it means “do no harm” – (with “harm” obviously being “bad”.)
veracity – truthfulness
In Spanish, “truth” is “veracidad” – so again, being a non-native English speaker is actually helpful with some of this vocabulary.
Sometimes being a Spanish speaker isn’t helpful at all though.
We laughed at this one for a few minutes before we could get back on track. Apparently a “mamelon” is only the “edge of an incisor tooth when it first erupts through the gum.” (Boring in comparison to what we were thinking about!)
Anyway, even though we aren’t sure where this class might take him, I think it’s a good thing. Not only is Carlos building confidence, but he’s setting an example for the boys. He always tells them, “Go to college so you don’t have to work like a burro.” Now he is showing them what can be done when you take a chance and put your heart into it.
How many more advantages our kids have compared to what Carlos came from – and yet there he is, with a backpack full of books at 33 years old and still speaking English with an accent so thick I sometimes have to help him out at drive thru windows.
Maybe he won’t ever be Dr. López, but I’d say nothing is impossible.