Today I got the first evidence that the zunzun understands Spanish. (I am maybe the last of his three caretakers to get it? Ironic because I spend the most time with him, though I also speak the least Spanish with him…)
I don’t know how much I’ve said here about bilinguality, but it has been our intention to have the boy speak Spanish as best as we can make that happen. So, when A is alone with him, she speaks almost exclusively Spanish. Our babysitter, who is here usually three times a week, is Colombian, and speaks only Spanish with him. When I am alone with him, I maaaaaybe hit 20%? Maybe more like 15%. We all read to him in both languages. And he takes a music class in Spanish. When the three of us are together, it’s almost always English (or, more accurately, it’s English between A and I, and when she speaks directly to him, it goes either way). It’s our default, and I don’t have the facility to engage in any kind of extensive adult conversation.
But today! Today while I was changing the zunzun, he was holding onto a little elephant toy. I was trumpeting, as I do, and he started imitating me. I encouraged it — “Yeah! The elephant says ‘[trumpet]’! El elefante dice ‘[trumpet]’!”
The whole exchange lasted only for the duration of the diaper change (like one more minute?), and then we went to have a snack. Mid-snack, I said, “Zunzun, que dice el elefante?” AND HE ANSWERED WITH A TRUMPET!
So we called up mami, who is away teaching until Tuesday, and he repeated the trick on the phone for her. Then on the phone for my parents. (I find it so unrewarding when he learns something new and nobody else is there to show it off to…) He even obliged with his other animal sound: dog (though he won’t answer the question if you use “dog,” only if you use the name of my parents’ dog).
A was, of course, thrilled beyond measure — the bilinguality is, of course, her heart-project. But I confess I was more excited than I thought I’d be. It’s working!