Observing Max develop language skills in both English and Spanish is really amazing and at times, really amusing. He's incredibly keen on learning correct verb tenses, practicing new ones all the time. In English he's using past, present, future and continuous tenses (though still learning new vocab at the same time so it's tricky), he's almost better than a lot of my students. He is still only three though, so the process is just that, a process. He'll slip, forget, use the wrong tense, use the wrong word and very very rarely he'll use the Spanish word. He just doesn't mix his languages, a common concern for bilingual parents or people interested in starting the process. He gets upset if WE mix our languages or if I speak Spanish. He goes downright crazy if Hubby chooses to speak English to him, it's a riot to watch him freak out.
Hubby: "Let's play cars Max, and we'll speak in English"
Max: "Papaaaaaaa, noooooo! Vamos a jugar con mis coches! COCHES!"
Max: "NOOO papa, no English, vamos a hablar en españoooooooooool"
(repeat the whole conversation endlessly and you'll understand why I am keeping Advil in business)
He's had a little set back with "I didn't" and "I can't". For months he was using them no problem, suddenly he's "Spanishfied" them into "I no do it" and "I no can!". This leads to more circular conversations.
Max: "I no did it!"
Mommy: "I didn't do it. But yes you did, so you say "I did it" but if you didn't do it you say "I didn't do it"
Max: "I no did it mommy!"
Mommy: "I didn't do it"
Max: "Yes you did!"
(yes, I smeared peanut butter on the TV, I just can't stop myself)
Max: "I no can!"
Mommy: "Yes you can. But if you can't, you say "I can't" not "I no can". But yes you can do it yourself"
Max: "I NO CAN!!!"
Mommy: "I can't"
Max: "Yes you can mommy."
(he believes in me)
And hey, I am really not the evil English Teaching Grammar Demon Mommy I might appear to be. We have fun too, I love pretending I don't understand what Hubby is saying and having Max scream the translation at me like I am of less than stellar intelligence and a little bit hard of hearing.
Mommy: "I don't understand "juguete" Max, what's that?"
Max: "It's a TOY mommy, a TOY, sheesh!"
Mommy: "Ooooh, I see, thanks Max."
Max: "You're welcome Mommy. Mama es babas, si Papa?"
And so it goes......