Favorite Times

Favorite Times-2

Hello!

Life gets crazy sometimes and there is really nothing we can do about it but try to keep up.  The saving grace for me is the time I get to spend with my littles.  There is just no other feeling like that love you feel when it is just you and your kids, cuddling, chatting and giggling. 

One of my favorite times is night time or as we call it “nite-nite time”. I get to cuddle with my little ones individually, read stories, sing songs and TICKLE! I love their giggles and just having that special bonding time with each of them. It fills my heart.

I have sang the same Spanish songs to both boys since they were born.  My mother gave me a CD from Grupo Truhui when my first was born and it was like magic.  It truly did help him calm down and fall asleep. Not only that, but it worked with my second, too! Because of that, I learned some of the songs and created a mashup version that I now sing to them every night. 

The other night, my oldest was playing with the camera on my phone while we were getting ready for bed and decided to make a video of our songs. I wanted to share it with you because it means so much to me and I will cherish this video and our memories always. Sorry for the bad lighting (night time) no makeup look, goofy faces and the not-so-perfect singing from me (I do not claim to be a good singer).  But M IS in my opinion, so concentrate on him.  He just makes me smile!  I hope to one day make a singing video with my little one as well.  When I do, maybe I will share it, too!

Thank you for reading and may all your nights be filled with song!


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“Tomás and the Library Lady” the Play

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We love going to the theater.  We sound so fancy! We’re not really, but we do love to go to family plays.  I’ve talked about ZACH Theater before as we have gone to many shows there.  Our most recent adventure was to see a play called Tomás and the Library Lady . We as a family LOVED it! It was the perfect play to see at the perfect time.  Let me explain.

The play is based on a children’s picture book by the same name and is actually a true story. The main character, Tomás, is the son of migrant workers that travel from Texas to Iowa to find work in the corn fields. Tomás finds a library in town and befriends the librarian who shows him the magical world of books. At the end you find out that Tomás grew up to be a real life famous writer himself (Tomás Rivera) which is fantastic!

Why I loved the play:

  • It is English AND in Spanish. The library lady teaches Tomás words in english while he teaches her words in Spanish. It is a really wonderful bond they  develop. It helps the boys see how awesome it is to speak English and Spanish. Tomás is proud to speak both. This helps the boys be proud, too.
  • Tomás learns to read in english so he can escape into the many amazing books the library lady introduces him to. M is at that same point right now. We are trying to help want to learn to read and write by showing him how great books are. We have been reading to them all of their lives, of course, and love their books. Just now we are focusing more on word recognition and spelling. It was very inspirational for M to see Tomás struggle with words, yet not give up trying to read them.
  • They sing! This is always a bonus in my book. We love musicals in this family. Anytime we can go to a play where songs are in both languages we are there! And they were pretty good, too!
  • It was a simple yet lovely production. ZACH Theater is extremely good at making shows seem so effortless.  I’m sure a lot of production goes on behind the scenes, but you wouldn’t know it. There are no big sets, bright lights and fancy costumes. The emphasis is always on the story not the props. This is a great way to get kids to focus on the characters and their words. This play had a trunk, three suitcases and books. That’s it. There were only three people in it. And only one character had a a quick costume change off stage. The other two would just put on a hat/remove it or make a scarf a mustache to switch characters. How cool is that?

All of those points are great on their own, but there is one more thing that just touched my heart fully. It was that it was very similar to my story. Sure the details were different, but the bond was true. When we moved to the states and we started school I was an extremely shy 2nd grader and did not want to go anywhere with the other kids. I didn’t want to sit by myself at lunch or recess so I clung to my teacher, Ms. Jacinto. She could see that I was quickly withdrawing, so she went beyond her scope as teacher to become my friend. She let me have lunch with her and then walked me to the library to meet the librarian, Mrs. Davila. They must have known exactly what I needed because from then on, I would go to the library and help after having lunch with Ms. Jacinto. I would put books away and clean up. In return, Mrs. Davila introduced me to books that I had never heard of and helped me with the words. As an added bonus, I became a pro at the Dewey Decimal System. (Who remembers that?)  Most importantly, I learned to love books because of both of them. I hope that we can do that for the boys as well.

The attention and care they gave me for that brief time in my life when they didn’t have to will always hold a place in my heart. I even got teary eyed at the end of the play because it took me back to that lovely little library at Nye Elementary that saved my spirit. I did eventually join the masses and made friends my age, but I don’t think I would’ve found the confidence to be me without both of them.

Anyways, back to the play. GO SEE IT! It is awesome. If you are in Austin it plays at ZACH until February 14th. If not, find a show near you and get the book. The boys left inspired to read and they are speaking in Spanish even more!  Thank you, Tomás and the Library Lady  and ZACH Theater for being the perfect play at the perfect time!

Tomas Cast

The boys with the cast

Language is a Bond

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Did you hear the news?  The US has more Spanish speakers than Spain.  This shouldn’t really come as a surprise due to the size and population differences between the two.  What is amazing to see (for me at least) is how many Spanish speakers there actually are in the United States. A recent study conducted by Instituto Cervantes* found that there are 41 million native Spanish speakers in the US plus 11.6 million others who are bilingual.  How awesome is that? 
For me this means that I am not alone in wanting to teach my kids to speak, understand and love Spanish. There is an awesome community right outside my door. Thanks to someone special, we were able to put both boys in Spanish summer camp this year. M went last year on his own because T was too little. We thought T was ready this year. That is still up for debate. M loves school, comes home excited about the new words he learned that day, knows a lot of new songs and has made new friends. T cries every time we drop him off and on and off throughout the day. He hasn’t even bonded with his teacher or his classmates. I’m hoping this changes as they have 4 weeks to go. I really don’t like having him be so sad and would pull him if we didn’t think it may just be the terrible twos taking effect for not getting his way. What would you do? 
Once he gets past the tears, however, he does throw out some Spanish words without being asked. He also gets excited when we read books in Spanish at home and when we sing our songs. That makes me happy. We will keep trying with the summer program this coming week and revaluate at the end of it.  
But I digress. As far as Spanish always being a part of their lives, the new study gives me great hope.  Also, with all of the attention being brought to our language and culture in the news today, it makes me proud to see how we have come together as a community no matter what part of the world we are come from. Spanish is our bond, family is our heart and pride is our power. All of these are great lessons for my boys in the long run. Let’s keep our love for languages alive! 

What languages do you speak with your kids?

I’d love to learn more about your love for languages!
Also, if you haven’t done so, please send a family pic. You do not have to include faces if you don’t want to…shadows, backs to the camera, hands held together, etc) for a fabulous future post. Thanks and have an amazing weekend. 
*The Guardian

Global Pick of the Day

Your Family Can Help Boost Bilingualism
As part of my Global Pick of the Day and the mark of my one year anniversary as a blogger last week, I picked one of the first posts I did. I had started doing research on all things bilingual and came across some awesome articles. They have given me some great ideas about how to help my children become bilingual. We still use these tips today as well as so many others I have found along the way through the Multicultural Kid Blogs. It’s fun to look back and see where we are now. It also makes me want to try to remember what the baby photo project I mentioned was. I should write things down more often, (words no blogger should say, ha)…
Enjoy!
Please Click here: Your Family can Help Boost Bilingualism

Something Hit Me Today…

I read a Facebook post today that hit me deep.  Reading it and seeing the expression on the guys face sent me spinning back to my younger and most insecure days. Now I know the guy is just probably a model, but I have felt that pain I saw in his eyes before. Or maybe it just hit an open wound. Here is what I saw:

 Feeling alone

I know a lot of us have felt this way from one time to another.  I felt it pretty much throughout high school. I had a close group of girlfriends and everything, but somehow I just didn’t feel free with the rest of the general population. If it wasn’t for these fabulous ladies, I don’t think I would’ve remained strong enough to make it through. They kept me grounded, helped me study, made me laugh and partied their little tails off with me every chance we got. These are not the people that made me feel like that quote. That was left to every clique in town (and there were many).

We were an odd mix of ladies: from free spirits, to conservatives, country to punk and everything in between. The fact that we have remained friends (even if only through Facebook for some) and can still share our very varied lives is a miracle in itself.

Because we were such an varied mix, every lady in the group was also part of a larger clique…more popular clique…much cooler clique.  All of them, that is, except for me. I was never a part of any of these. I would go to parties or people’s houses thanks to these ladies as they would try to get me into their larger and cooler groups, but it somehow never took.  I always felt like if it wasn’t for my girlfriends, people wouldn’t even remember if had shown up at all after the fact and they sure as hell didn’t miss me.

I don’t blame this on anyone.  I am not a victim. I am just shy and awkward.  I still feel this way in new situations. It takes me a while to warm up to people. Even my mother-in-law tells me that when they first met me, they wondered if I spoke at all. I sit, observe and then decide if I want to participate.  It has often been a big “NO” in the participation front. It is at these times that I just wait for the time to pass so I can go home to my very comfortable and happy life. And today, it is so much more than I ever thought I would ever have thanks to my luv, my babies and my families.

Oh, and I also have a nervous laugh that some people find sweet while others can’t stand. If you don’t know me, then you might think that I am either not very clever because I laugh at everything or annoyingly perky. I am neither, thank you very much. My brain just can’t focus on any other reaction. I laugh when I want to cry, I laugh when I don’t know what to say, I laugh just to break the ice.  But when I laugh out of happiness and pure joy, you will know and you will love me. Yeah, I said it!

So why am I telling you all of this? I guess I just had to write about it since when I saw the post, I felt like if the person who made it knew me. This can’t be how others feel, right?  I thought it was just me! And if there are others, does it happen all over the world? Are different countries more open to new people and welcoming into their groups? Are their cliques in countries where diversity is celebrated? How in the world will I teach my kids that it’s ok to be a little different? That it’s ok to not fit in. That it wasn’t until I was in college that I felt like myself. It wasn’t until I shed the skin of that little-self-conscious-unappreciated-silent child that I saw the beauty in diversity. I love me now and I love all the beautiful people I have met from around the world. Maybe that’s what I need to say? What would you say?

My Global Pick of the Day!!

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It is my turn to share one of my first posts with you and the Multicultural Kid Blogs readers.  So I thought I would share with you one of my firsts post dealing with my greatest fear.  It’s not snakes, dark spaces or even heights. I’m pretty good with all of these. What is it then? Public Speaking. Can’t do it, even at my age. What’s a mama to do?

Public Speaking: Not in English or in Spanish, Please.

I hope you enjoy my take on it and I would love suggestions on how to help my little ones avoid this challenge.

Thank you!

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Walking Tall

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When I think of raising world citizens, I think of raising children that are open to all that they see and respect anyone they meet. I think of children as being an extension of their parents and caregivers. Parents that do not appreciate the beauty of the world, the amazing traditions and cultures of others and the wonderful people all around may not teach their children about them either. If they are not exposed to the world (be it at home or in a classroom), how can they learn to live in harmony with it?

With that in mind I truly believe that some of the bullies of the world have just never had the opportunity to learn from the differences around them. Children who are not exposed to other cultures and traditions may see others as different from them. They may not understand the world that anyone else lives in.

So far, in my kids’ young lives, they had yet to encounter the infamous bully.  The other day at the park, however, we came across our first bully in the making. We went to play as we usually do when the weather is nice. The park we like has a playground for big kids and another for toddlers.  We always go to the toddler side so they don’t have to worry about the big kids. Also, that park is usually empty which is even better for me.

Enjoying a typical day at the park

My boys were minding their own business, singing and dancing and just being silly.  There is a large raised walkway at the park that kids sometimes use to draw with chalk or parents sit on.  This is both boys’ favorite spot because it looks like a raised stage. They love to march back and forth on it and sing songs from “The Music Man”.  This time only T was marching when a boy that was definitely older than both of them decided to stand in his way, legs and arms stretched out to make sure T couldn’t get through. Here is how I saw it happen…

“Maybe he just wants to play,” I thought granting him the benefit of the doubt as he stood there with a very determined look.

“Excuse me,” said T (proud mama that he was so polite)

“No!” replied the kid.

M sees what is going on, runs over to them and says, “Please move, we are trying to perform.” (Yep, that’s how we roll.)

He still wouldn’t move. M tried everything from asking nicely to asking him if he wanted to play a game.  He told the kid that he could be the gate and they would push a button on the boys belly to see if that would open the door.  I found this hysterical myself since we play that at home sometimes. I guess I have to think about how our silly games translate into the real world.

The boy still didn’t move so M sighed and said, “Come on T, let’s just go this way.” They happily went around the boy, but the boy followed!

The boy went back up to Mario and said, “Wanna fight?” At this point I gasped and was ready to pounce. I told myself to wait to see what happened and stay calm (easier said than done).

Mario’s response was classic, “Fight? No way! Only mean people fight and mean people are yucky!” Proud mama moment again, even if calling people yucky is not so good either.  I knew he was just stating the obvious, though.  Loved it!

The kid then tried to take M’s toy horse away and that is when the (who I assume to be the baby sitter due to her age and lack of attentiveness throughout all of this) finally ran over and took the boy away. She’s lucky she did, or else that kid may have gotten an earful from this mama.

Way too cute to pick on, I say!

Way too cute to pick on, I say!

Point of the story is that if that boy had been exposed to more people and more situations, he may have had a little more respect for my boys and maybe even played with them instead of trying to cause a fight with someone so much smaller. He saw easy targets (smaller children) that were different from him (not just physically but because they were singing show tunes) and decided he would teach them a lesson. Something I’m sure he didn’t learn on his own.  This is a child imitating something that he has seen before.  I only hope that his parents or caregivers become more open and respectful so that this child and any other kid can do the same.

I am proud that my kids weren’t intimidated and stood their ground. I’m also proud that their first response wasn’t that the kid was threatening but maybe wanted to play. I am proud that they acted with respect, didn’t let them affect them and went on playing as if nothing had happened when it was over. Yes, I am a proud mama. I hope I can teach them to keep the respect and the patience they showed that day for always.
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Be proud, my love, you and your brother will reach great heights.