Bilingual Babies

Before Miss V was born, we had already decided which method we’d be using for our kids. We decided on OPOL (one parent one language) and luckily enough, it has worked very well. I hear stories from other parents where the community, (and/or family) aren’t supportive of the minority language. This makes me so sad because that just  like giving someone a kick in the crotch…. telling them the second language isn’t as important.

I was really surprised to find everyone.. and I do mean EVERYONE encouraging me to continue speaking English. Now this was a no brainer to me. After all, English is my mother tongue. I didn’t know Italian enough to speak to a kid so why in the world would I speak a language a barely knew to my baby? Why would I do something so unnatural to me.. just to make someone else comfortable?

Now that my girls are getting older, I’m still doing OPOL but there are times when I do need to speak in Italian to them. I guess you should say that we dabble a bit with One activity One language. Meaning sometimes, I will speak to them in Italian and it’s usually at Church. I’ve been called as an assistant to the Nursery Leader. Miss E and Baby C are both in nursery so I’m usually speaking to each individual child in a certain language or Italian to the class.

For example: If I’m teaching the lesson, I’ll teach in Italian and then try to repeat some phrases to my girls in English. We’re a multicultural group in Nursery and it’s quite funny. As leaders, we’re Peruvian, American and French. As children, we have 5 kids who attend regularly. Only one is actually Italian. The others have parents who are from Nigeria, Portugal, and Texas… so you can imagine the schmorgesborg of languages we have every Sunday morning.

Looking back, I’m glad that I’ve continued with OPOL and in doing so, given my girls the best chance they have to learn about different cultures and have a genuine curiosity for other languages. Miss V was doing well with Spanish but somehow dropped it but we’ll get it back now that daddy is having to learning Spanish for work!

I’m so grateful to have so many friends who speak different languages and are willing to teach our girls a few words and phrases when they ask. Our very first experience with languages was Peppa Pig. It was fun having to explain the difference between Mommy’s English and Peppa’s English.

I came across this video of Valentina trying to tell me the correct way to say a few words… thank to Peppa!


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