Thursday, June 23, 2005

non-bilingual brianna

Spanish was my first language. I speak it fluently. By the time my brother was born, I was already in school and my parents were speaking English to me. My brother grew up speaking both languages at the same time and never really got a handle on Spanish. I mean, he speaks it and completely understands it but not as well as the rest of the family. When Brianna was born, I thought it was very important for her to learn Spanish and that's all I ever spoke to her. She started learning English when she was around 3 years old. From other kids, my mom and dad, from Sesame Street, you name it. By the time she started preschool, they tested her and concluded that she spoke well enough to be in an all English classroom. (Yes, here in El Paso, we have bilingual classrooms). I kind of wanted her to be in a bilingual classroom but she already knew all the English they would teach her there (colors, shapes, numbers, letters). In kindergarten, she spoke even less Spanish. I started to notice that we'd be at my grandma's (who speaks no English) and Brianna would ask me how to say words in Spanish in order to talk to my grandma. I thought it was odd since she had clearly known the words before.
Now that we also have Alec, I also only speak to him in Spanish. But, with Brianna, my nephew, their cartoons, etc. he's picked up English words. Much younger than Brianna was.
Anyway, I've noticed that Brianna just doesn't want to speak Spanish anymore. I told her that I was going to be speaking Spanish at home but she could answer in any language she wanted and she started crying. Then at Rodrigo's parents house this weekend, Rodrigo's mom offered Brianna a book. Brianna didn't want to read it because it was in Spanish. What? I don't get it. I've been explaining to her about our family and where her grandparents came from. Trying to explain how a lot of people would love to be able to speak more than one language. Asking her about her friends who speak other languages and saying how special that is. Explaining to her how important it is in a city like this. Explaining to her how I absolutely needed to speak Spanish for some of the jobs I've had. She likes to hear about when I was a flight attendant and all the time I spent in Mexico City. Still, she says she doesn't want to speak Spanish and doesn't like it. I don't know what to think. Should I just not push it and think she'll come around? I mean, if she has the opportunity to be bilingual, she should, right? I don't know how to encourage it anymore. I never went through this. Well, it was backwards. When I was little, I didn't want to speak English. So, I wonder if this too will pass. Any advice?

feeling: concerned
listening to: System of a Down (Cigaro)
what I should be doing instead of blogging: getting my clothes ready

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