Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I No Did It!

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!"
Hubby: "Cars"
Max: "COCHES!"
Hubby: "English!"
Max: "NOOO papa, no English, vamos a hablar en espaƱoooooooooool"
(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......


Jonna said...

Mimi and I were really impressed with Max's English. Plus, he automatically spoke only English to us because we spoke it to him. I think he is doing great in his bilingual studies ;)

Susan Lechuga said...

Max impresses me and I have never met you guys irl. You are a great ingles teacher. Wish I was half that good.

Anonymous said...

Great pic of you and Max. He is such a cutie.

Anonymous said...

Just hearing the kinds of things (and the "kid logic") that comes out of my niece's mouth is amusing enough, and it's only in English. I can't imagine how much the cute meter gets cranked up when it's coming at 'cha in English and Spanish. He's too cute.

I can't wait till we have a little kid and he can correct MY Spanish! Then I'll feel like I really accomplished something! :)

JoAnne in CT said...

He is so darn cute - he'd get away with murder with me!! I'd have trouble keeping a straight face if he were correcting me!

Anonymous said...

Ah yes...we have the same conversations on a daily basis! Cole , like Max, learned Spanish and English at the same time and goes back and forth fluidly between the two. His grammar structure is a bit more Spanish than English though. Birdie still graviates a bit more toward English speakers and Connor....well he's 15. I can't expect to understand anything he says.

Heather said...

OMGosh, you have me so worried about what my kids will say to me in the future. I know the day will come where they will know more than I. They already do it to my mom, lol! Thanks for sharing a piece of the future for me!

Nancy said...

Little kids are smarter than adults a lot of the time....and I speak from experience ;(

Love the picture of you two....

Islagringo said...

I love these posts from you. I just sit here with a big grin on my face for some reason while reading them.

Anonymous said...

Max seems like a very bright little boy. You are doing a great job, keep it up.

Anonymous said...

Can I borrow him until Feb. Maybe I could learn to speak spanish by then. lol He is gonna be one smart boy, you better be on your toes girl....


CancunCanuck said...

Jonna- He's pretty good at determining which language to speak with which people. He had you guys pegged as "gringas" right away, HA! :)

my3ros- I'm just anal about grammar, haha. Hubby let's him get away with mistakes, but I just can't, the corrections come flying out of my mouth before I can even stop myself. Demon mommy. :)

KW- Thanks! He's easy to photograph.

Mexpat- Kid logic is a riot, he amazes me everyday. I highly recommend getting yourself a bilingual kid, entertainment for hours!

Joanne- I don't always manage the straight face, sometimes the giggles just escape and he looks at me so seriously and says "What mommy? What's funny?"

Michele- And you get the circle conversations times three, oh dear heaven, lol! Teenagers all speak a foreign language, don't they? ;-)

Heather- It's coming faster than you think, bwahahahaha! You're kids will be all over you real soon mami!

Nancy- I love hearing from experienced moms, though I don't know if it makes me feel better or scares me, haha. Glad you like the pic!

Wayne- Awww, thanks, your comment put a big grin on my face as I can picture the grin on your face, lol.

Jackie- Thanks! He is a bright boy, a royal pain sometimes, but that just proves how smart he is I think. :)

Tom- He's all yours, he'll have you swearing in Spanish first if that's ok, teehee. My toes are getting tired by the way, he's got me on them all day long!

Alex said...

Awwww!!! how ADORABLE!!!! that cute story takes my concerns away, because I am planning to raise a bilingual child myself. I'm still trying to figure it out. Oh well, he is only two months old ;) I've got time.

Brice said...

What, no "Pinche Mama" yet when he talks to Hubby?

CancunCanuck said...

Ale- No reason for worry or concern, kids are like sponges and are incredibly capable of learning multiple languages at the same time. And though he is only two months old, the time to start is now! You'll be establishing your relationship's language even from this young age. Do some research on "OPOL" (one parent, one language) and "home versus community" and see what you think might work for you. Both are proven methods, but it is highly recommend to choose one and stick to it. So, if you are going to speak Spanish only, your Hubby would speak English only and don't change it! Or, speak only Spanish at home and English in the community if your Hubby is fluent. I'll dig up some links for you and send them your way, some great information and support out there for parents of bilingual kids.

Brice- Heck yes, "pinche mama" is a common expression in our house, LOL! It's soooo hard not to laugh when he says it. And so hard not to smack Papa for teaching it to him. :)

Kathy said...

Ay! My comment never posted but you answered anyway. Off to google your two recommendations.

(I'm the one having trouble having to speak Spanish to the kids and English to DH)

3LittleFlowers said...

You cracked me up!

And I just know how proud you feel... You have been doing a great job!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm sitting here giggling! You seriously need to stop with the peanut butter smearing on the TV tho- hahahahahahahahaa!

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