Things Bilingual Moms Do In Public

Things Bilingual Moms Do In Public

Inside: Thing bilingual moms do.

 

Mothering is interesting. So full of sweet moments!.. and also full of moments in which we would clearly choose teleportation of the entire family as our superpower. 

Sometimes I think my kids save up those “special moments” for the grocery store, the playground, or the dinner table at somebody else’s house. We react and handle things as best we can, hoping it’s the right thing to do. 

And sometimes, multilingualism saves the day. What can I say? Being bilingual– especially when you live in a fairly monolingual place– does give us some extra options. 

You can’t assume who speaks what around you, but it’s confession time. Here are five things I’ve actually done as a bilingual mom. Dads probably do them too. 

 

 

1. Make dire threats in the minority language.

Angry Comedy GIF by Bounce_TV - Find & Share on GIPHY

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Er… I mean, redirect. Some moms have to rely on that look; we can straight up say what we need to say in that grocery store line. 

 

2. Bribe our children in the minority language.

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Bribery is universally frowned upon in the parenting world, even though I’m pretty sure everybody does it. The good thing is we can get away with it.  Everybody around thinks we just repeated ourselves in a firm voice, and it magically worked. I’ll take it!

 

3. Redirect our kids in the majority language (for the benefit of other nearby parents). 

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Here’s a time to break out of the minority language: when your kids clearly need redirection, and you need all the other parents around to know you’re on it.

“Honey, let that little girl have a turn too,” exchange a smile with the mom across the playground, and you’re good to go.

 

4. Breathe a sigh of relief when our children say something rude(after realizing nobody understood it).

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Children say what they think: it’s a fact of life. It can also be horribly embarrassing. When my son once remarked that a nearby man looked like a wolf, I just prayed that the gentleman was monolingual and took the chance to quietly explain why he has to be careful saying things like that. The fact that is was said in English (and hopefully not understood) helped me play it cool and make the most of that teachable moment. 

 

5. Translate the positive…

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My three-year-old speaks whatever language she wants, in the moment. Did she just say something polite and adorable? Well, allow me to translate that for you. 

 

…and lie about the negative. 

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OH MY GOSH you CANNOT say that out loud.”
He loves it. Thank you sooo much.”
Don’t judge me but yes, yes, yes I’ve done this one.

 

6. Say sappy things to our kids without embarrassing them.

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Kids too embarrassed to show affection in front of their friends? No problem if they’re bilingual. You can sneak in all the mushy-gushy things you want as you drop them off at school. And maybe you’ll get that “love you mom” back, even when they’re “too old” to say it. 

 

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love being a Spanglish family. Of course, Spanish and English are widely spoken languages, and I should probably get going on a third, more obscure language, if I want to use of these “strategies” more effectively. #goals

 

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Things Bilingual Moms Do

Spanish Bug Books for Toddlers and Kids

Spanish Bug Books for Toddlers and Kids

Inside: Spanish bug books for kids. 

 

My kids are really into bugs. Sometimes I’ll find them turning over rocks in the yard to see what treasures they’ll find underneath. I’ve had to study up to learn a lot of the names myself! Today I’ve collected my favorite books about bugs in Spanish, to read as a family. (Looking for more books? See my posts on 50 Bilingual Books in Spanish and English, and 50 Authentic Picture Books in Spanish.)

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support!

 

Spanish Bug Books for Kids

 

Insectos! (Dk Readers En Espanol. Level 2)

Here’s a general guide and easy reader for bugs in Spanish. I like the DK readers for non-fiction, and this one will be helpful if you have a curious child or a learning the names together. 

 

 

 

..Sabes algo sobre insectos?/ Do You Know about Insects? 

This is another general guide, with good realistic photos and facts about insects in Spanish. 

 

 

 

La araña muy ocupada (Spanish Edition)

My kids really enjoy this book, which is a delightful introduction to how spiders spin webs. The spider and her web are raised, and little hands love to feel the growing web. 

 

 

 

La abeja de más (Spanish Edition)

A funny fictional story about a colony of bees who discover an unknown bee has entered their hive. This is a fun look into the inner workings of a hive, the queen bee, and worker bees. 

 

 

La vida de la abeja (¡Mira cómo crece!) (Spanish Edition)

Here’s a close-up look in the entire lifespan of a bee, from egg to adult. 

 

 

 

La oruga muy hambrienta/The Very Hungry Caterpillar: bilingual board book (Spanish Edition)

This is one of our very favorites, and a gentle introduction into the lifecycle of a caterpillar and butterfly. It’s hard to get better than Eric Carle! 

 

National Geographic Readers: De la Oruga a la Mariposa (Caterpillar toButterfly) 

Here’s a non-fiction look into the lifecycle of a butterfly, witch good photos and explanations. As a non-native Spanish speaker, it’s so helpful to have the technical terms for me to learn!

 

 

 

 

La Mariposa

Butterflies are just the backstory to this touching book about a boy who doesn’t speak English in his new school, but it’s a beautiful story with beautiful pictures. 

 

 

La Mariquita Malhumorada (Spanish Edition)

Another Eric Carle treasure that’s been translated into Spanish, this one follows a grouchy ladybug who meets lots of other insects and finally learns some manners. It’s also a good peek into a ladybug’s life.

 

 

 

 

La luz de Lucía (Spanish Edition)

This story is about a little firefly who learns to accept her own uniqueness and shine her light. 

 

 

 

 

Non-fiction Guides to Specific Insects in Spanish

 

If you are looking for specific guides or want to have a collection about different insects, you may want to check out these titles!

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re looking for more activities to do with bugs in Spanish, I have a bilingual game pack, with picture cards to play Memory, Go Fish, Bingo, and a mini-book. Check it out for some extra bug fun!

 

The Best Spanish Board Books for Babies & Toddlers

The Best Spanish Board Books for Babies & Toddlers

Inside: Spanish board books (or bilingual books) for babies and toddlers. 

 

The earlier you start introducing language, the better. Studies show, in fact, that babies recognize language sounds from the womb

By far, my favorite baby shower and birthday gifts have been books in Spanish, or bilingual books. And board books will last for years, through little brothers or sisters too! I still have some of my own books from my childhood: think of how this will encourage your kids to pass on Spanish to their kids, one day!

I love having bilingual books when they’re available. I will warn you, though, that our kids get attached to the stories we read over and over. When they’ve memorized it in a certain language, they sometimes insist on that one!

(For more book lists and suggestions, be sure to see my Spanish children’s books page.)

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support!

 

Spanish Board Books for Babies and Toddlers

 

Here are sturdy little board books that will last curious fingers and maybe even some chewing (right??). Fill those little mind with beautiful language, from day one.

 

Diez deditos de las manos y Diez deditos de los pies

This one is just too sweet, from the illustrations to the text. Rhyming words introduce babies from all over the world, through a fingerplay of counting baby’s fingers and toes. 

 

 

Little Chickies / Los Pollitos: A bilingual lift-the-flap book 

Los pollitos is part of a series from Canticos introducing well-known rhymes in Spanish. I love Los pollitos, and you can find other rhymes like Un elefante se balanceaba. So cute!

 

 

La oruga muy hambrienta/The Very Hungry Caterpillar: bilingual board book

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is such a classic, you can’t go wrong with this one as a baby shower gift! Every Spanglish home needs this treasure.

 

Global Babies/Bebes del mundo

I love the text of this book, and I love the global images of babies from all over the world. My kids always enjoy seeing the real pictures of babies. 

 

 

 

Zapata: Colors / Colores

Lil’ libros is a great company that has been busy writing bilingual board books packed with Latino culture. This one is a sweet introduction of the colors, but be sure to check out their whole series!

 

 

Oso pardo, oso pardo, ¿qué ves ahí?

I am so glad these classics are available in Spanish! Learn both animals and colors with these anticipatory rhymes. 

 

 

 

Sweet Dreams/Dulces Suenos (My Family/ Mi Familia)

This is a wonderful little bedtime book, and perfect for Spanglish families who are trying to do Spanish bedtime routines. 

 

 

 

      

Buenas Noches, Bebe! / Good Night, Baby!, Buenos Dias, Bebe!

These soft board books were helpful to me as a new mom trying to speak Spanish with my kids. The books take you through morning and night routines, with some phrases I hadn’t been sure how to express. 

 

 

 

Cinco monitos brincando en la cama/Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed (A Five Little Monkeys Story)

We love all the Monitos books and their antics. My kids ask for these quite often, still!

 

 

El camioncito Azul (Little Blue Truck, Spanish Edition)

There are several titles available about El camioncito azul, with good stories and beautiful illustrations. 

 

 

 

Buenas noches, Gorila

This is a fun book that makes little ones laugh over naughty Gorila. The text is scant, so it may be best for native speakers and not parents trying to learn (or remember!) Spanish along with their kids. 

 

 

Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes/Cabeza, Hombros, Piernas, Pies 

I love, love fingerplays and movement songs. This is one babies will be sure to love too!

 

 

 

 

Besos for Baby: A Little Book of Kisses

This book is bilingual in the sense that it switches between languages. Very sweet!

 

 

 

 

Ve, Perro. Ve!: Go, Dog. Go! (Bright & Early Board Books

Another classic available in Spanish as a board book!

 

 

 

What Spanish board books do you love? Let me know in the comments?

 

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Spanish board books for babies and toddlers

New Year’s in Spanish: Latino Traditions for Good Luck

New Year’s in Spanish: Latino Traditions for Good Luck

Inside: A round-up of traditions for New Year’s in Spanish.

 

When it comes to Hispanic New Year’s traditions, it’s all about bringing on the good luck. In most places, the partying begins on New Year’s Eve among family or friends, and most of the rituals take place at or around midnight. Then, the fiesta continues into the wee hours of the morning (along with plenty of fireworks to ring in the new year).

 

año nuevo

New Year’s in Spanish: 10 Good-Luck Traditions

 

As you’ll see, most of these traditions have to do with ways to make wishes for the year to come. Some of them are for the day of New Year’s Eve, and some must occur right at midnight. Read on to learn about these fascinating rituals across the Spanish-speaking world!

 

1.  Eating 12 Grapes at Midnight

 

año nuevo uvas

Many people eat 12 grapes as the clock strikes midnight, making a wish for each grape eaten. They must be eaten quickly (as the bell tolls, or in the first minutes of the new year), which is quite the task as Spanish grapes have large seeds. This tradition originated in Spain, though Mexico and other Latin American countries do this one as well. Read more about origins of the lucky green grapes of Spain here.

 

2. Wearing Yellow Underwear

 

yellow underwear new year's eve

 

Believe it or not, this is a very strong superstition! The color yellow represents good luck in many Hispanic countries, so many people sport yellow underwear as the new year rings in. In many countries, yellow or white is the color of choice for clothing on New Year’s; while red underwear means romance awaits.

 

3. Walking Around the Block with Suitcases

 

 

For this one, people walk around the block or the house with a suitcase for traveling opportunities in the New Year. Perhaps after stuffing down grapes, lentils, and champagne, you grab the piece of luggage right after midnight and get moving.

 

4. Burning Muñecos

 

new year's in ecuador

 

In Ecuador and other places, people set up effigies (muñecos) after Christmas, and burn them for año nuevo. In some places, the doll is a generic form meant to represent the old year and burned as a way to say good-bye to the past. In other places, the effigies represent unpopular political figures, celebrities, or leaders.

 

5. Eating Lentils

 

 

At least in Chile, some people eat lentils right as the new year comes in, to usher in prosperity. Others eat it as a midday meal, saying that the round lentils resemble coins.

 

6. Holding Money at Midnight

 

 

Some people want to have money or coins (some insist on silver) in hand, as midnight strikes. This is also supposed to be good luck for a prosperous new year.

 

7. Drinking Champagne

 

 

As in many places, champagne is the drink of choice when welcoming the new year. The Latino twist is to drop a gold ring into your champagne glass, to bring in money. Fruit like strawberries or cherries is said to bring new love, or fidelity by a gold ring. Some say you must drink the entire glass and pull the object out, or it won’t work.

 

8. Cleaning the House

 

 

Cleaning the house thoroughly is an expression of “out with the old, in with the new.” Similar to burning muñecos, it symbolizes getting rid of the old year’s energies and welcoming in the next one, hopefully with good energy. Some people even put on only new clothes, to avoid bringing the past into the next year.

 

9. Throwing Water Out the Window

 

 

This is another ritual of throwing out the bad things from the past year, and starting the new year fresh. Some say that if the water falls on someone you don’t care for, bad luck will fall on them.

 

10. Standing on One Foot

 

latino new year traditions

 

Literally, this is a way to start the year “on the right foot.” As the clock strikes midnight– perhaps while stuffing down grapes– stand on your right foot!

Image credits:
Shutterstock / Sergarck
Shutterstock / Fotos593

What New Year’s in Spanish traditions did I miss? Let me know in the comments below.

 

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costumbres latinas del año nuevo

new year traditions in spanish speaking countries

 

The 2017 Spanglish Family Holiday Gift Guide

The 2017 Spanglish Family Holiday Gift Guide

Inside: Spanish gift guide for Spanish/English-speaking kids and families. 

The holidays are quickly approaching, but if you’re like me, you still have people on your gift list!

If you need some ideas for a Spanglish friends and family still on your list, I’ve got you covered. Here are some fun ideas for meaningful and quality gifts. 

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support!

 

1. Coco-Inspired Lotería and Bingo

 


Disney Pixar Coco (Remember Me) A LOTERIA Game

How fun is this? Bingo/Lotería to go with the Coco craze, and bring Mexican culture into your home with these gorgeous designs. 

 

2. Spanish Edition of Scrabble

 


Scrabble Spanish

We are having lots of fun with this one right now! If you have a mix of English and Spanish speakers, you can always allow everyone to play in their native language.

 

3. T-shirts 

 

How about an adorable bilingual onesie? I think these are too cute:


Chiquitin Clothing on Etsy

I wanted to recommend the amazing Ellie Elote Store, but they are temporarily closed! Perhaps a Coco-themed shirt in the meantime:

Disney Coco Heathered T-Shirt for Girls Size S (5/6) Blue

 

5. Magnetic Poetry

 


Magnetic Poetry – Spanish Kit – Words for Refrigerator – Write Poems and Letters on the Fridge – Made in the USA

Keep Spanish on everyone’s mind with this fun magnetic set. Leave message for each other, learn some new words, and get creative with this gift. 

 

6. Music

 


Diez Deditos/ Ten Little Fingers

If it’s a family with younger kids, I can’t recommend Jose Luis Orozco highly enough!

andes gift

Of course I’m partial to anything Peruvian, but this is a great educational gift. The Ebook and CD from Daria’s Little Village Store teach about Quechua culture and life in the Andes.  

 

7. Coffee Mug

 


Funny Spanish Animal Coffee Mug by Crazy Cool Mugs | Como Te Llamas Language Joke, 11 Ounce White

Just yes please. 

 

8. DIY Map Ornament

 

peru ornament

You can make this for free! Decoupage maps onto an old ball ornament. (If you look up DIY decoupage ball ornament, there are tons of tutorials out there.) Use maps that hold significance: hometowns, places traveled to, etc. 

 

9. Map Gifts

 


Custom Wedding Couple 2 Heart Maps Art Print, UNFRAMED, Wedding gift, Personalized & Customized, Engagement Gift, Anniversary Gift, Valentines day gift, Housewarming gift

If you want to be creative, here’s a really thoughtful and personalized idea for a bicultural couple. Just give the hometown of each couple and order the print.  Jigsaw2order – Personalized Photo Jigsaw Puzzle with 504 pieces, 16x20in

Use a family photo, travel pictures, hometown pictures, or maps to make a customized puzzle. 

 

10. Bilingual or Authentic Spanish Books

 

It’s so hard to list just a few. Seriously. Browse my recommendations for 50 Bilingual Books in Spanish and English, or 50 Authentic Books in Spanish for Kids and see what I mean. 

But if I have to boil it down to my very favorites, I’ll do my best. If you want to be a really awesome gift-giver, think about giving a subscription to Spanish and English books via Booklandia or Sol Book Box.

Then your favorite Spanglish family can get something new to read/explore every month!

Here goes:

Board Books:


Loteria: First Words / Primeras Palabras (English and Spanish Edition)

With gorgeous images, these bilingual board books are perfect for small hands. They put even your littlest ones in touch with Latino culture and are sure to delight. 

Preschoolers:


¡Pío Peep!: Traditional Spanish Nursery Rhymes (Spanish Edition)

This collection has the best of traditional Spanish rhymes and songs, with beautiful illustrations on each page. It needs to be on every Spanglish family shelf for sure.  


Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever / El mejor libro de palabras de Richard Scarry (Richard Scarry’s Best Books Ever) (English, Multilingual and Spanish Edition)

Busy and curious preschoolers will love this pictionary from Richard Scarry. It’s great for families where both parents aren’t bilingual and want to learn along with their kids. 

Elementary:


Cuentos que contaban nuestras abuelas (Tales Our Abuelitas Told): Cuentos populares Hispánicos (Spanish Edition) 
Alma Flor Ada, F. Isabel Campoy (1996) Paperback

I love anything by Alma Flor Ada, and this collection brings together classic Hispanic stories. 


Que Monton de Tamales (Too Many Tamales) (Spanish Edition) by Gary Soto, Ed Martinez

A Noche Buena story, this book is available in both Spanish and English. It’s a fun story with Latino culture, family, and food woven throughout.

Older Kids:


Secret of the Andes (Puffin Book)

Written in English, Secret of the Andes follows the story of a boy as he learns about his ancestors. (Sorry for another Peru-heavy suggestion!)

Adult Readers:


Arroz con Pollo and Apple Pie: Raising Bicultural Children

See my review of this wonderful book here. It’s a perfect read for bicultural parents with young or older children– challenging, heartwarming, and helpful. 

Hope this list was helpful! Don’t forget to sing up for my newsletter below for more Spanglish ideas and help. 

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Free Printable Christmas and Holiday Cards in Spanish

Free Printable Christmas and Holiday Cards in Spanish

Inside: Free printable Holiday, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Christmas cards in Spanish.

Who’s up for some holiday freebies? I’ve been busy putting together some cards that you can use at home or in the classroom for the winter holidays.

spanish christmas cards

 

Holiday & Christmas Cards in Spanish

I styled them a bit minimalist to save on printing, and tried to include a variety of winter holidays to accommodate all my readers. (If I missed something, let me know!)

If you’re here looking for ways to express holiday greetings, here are a few options:

Feliz navidad (Merry Christmas)

Felices fiestas (Happy Holidays)

Feliz Janucá (Happy Hanukkah– though I’ve also seen Feliz Januka, Hanukkah, and Jánuca!)

Feliz Kwanzaa (Happy Kwanzaa)

If you’d like to have a set of black and white cards to color, you can purchase them here!

Also check out my posts on Holiday and Spanish Christmas Activities, Christmas across the Spanish-speaking world,  and Spanish Christmas Songs for Kids.

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free printable Christmas cards in Spanish

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