Sunday, July 31, 2011

Stream of Consciousness Sunday: Bilingual Children

My 4 yr old, the Chatterbox, has declared his love for the Portuguese language. I initially thought that it was a good thing seeing that he had left his "native" language and has favored English since 3.

Well times are a changing because he also declared that he does not want to speak English anymore. It was adorable to see him assert himself like that. But like a true Mother looking out for his best interest, I became the first woman to stomp on his dreams.

At least I was kind enough to explain. I told him that he would forget his English. I reminded him that Grandma and Poppi, as well as Uncles Pat, Terry, and Jeremy do not speak Portuguese. He relented but was positive that he would not forget English. It is such a simple language. I think all my past English students felt a tickle up their spines at that very moment.

His reasoning was that Portuguese has MUCH better words! It is so much more fun to speak in Portuguese. I really can appreciate that. Portuguese is a very colorful language. I'm also glad that him and his Brother won't have my late in life experience in learning this "colorful" language. You see, Portuguese has a lot of great words, conjugations, and expressions. It is especially fun to talk shit with. Of course, to learn it in your 20s makes it less fun and more of a bitch.

Actually, more like being bitch slapped by some evil bitch. Yes, that was my first impression of the language. Thankfully we have gotten to know each other better, gone out for a couple of drinks, enjoyed a few bases, and now are on speaking terms.

Of course, we must remember, this is Portuguese. That Ho could turn on me at any moment! I'm starting to understand why Chatterbox is throwing her a bone.

This was my 5 minute Stream of Consciousness Sunday post. It’s five minutes of your time and a brain dump. Want to try it? Here are the rules…

Set a timer and write for 5 minutes only.
Write an intro to the post if you want but don’t edit the post. No proofreading or spellchecking. This is writing in the raw.
Publish it somewhere. Anywhere. The back door to your blog if you want. But make it accessible.
Add the Stream of Consciousness Sunday badge to your post.
Link up your post below.
Visit your fellow bloggers and show some love.


  1. I guess he should really stick to both languages and benefit from being bilingual! Good luck! :)

  2. I, too, wish I had started learning other languages early! How awesome that he loves languages already!

  3. I keep promising myself that I will learn at least one new language, I also keep remembering that I'm 31 and was crap and languages at school anyway.

  4. Chatterbox will be president of Brazil one day and he will call you after a reception with the Queen of England to thank you for your efforts in keeping him focused on English. He will then reveal his healthy American side by commenting that monarchy is utterly stupid and that when looking at British chicks he wishes they all could be California girls.

  5. Wow - how awesome that he will have TWO languages... and yay for you advocating to keep up on the English. (Wonder if there is a way you can make it fun?!)

  6. I wish I had been forced to really know Spanish as a kid. I also wish I could make it easier for my kids. WTG with your son being so assertive about knowing 2 languages!

  7. I always wanted my daughter to be bilingual but alas it wasn't meant to be.
    I do wish I had followed through. Good luck!

  8. Rachel, your post is so fun and interesting, you have a great ability to write, seems to be an incredible woman regardless of nationality, American or Brazilian. Access your blog every day. you are very special to be a great woman and great mom, congrats! =)

  9. I think it's hilarious that at 4 years old, he can choose which language he likes better. I'm amazed that my 4 year old who is NOT bilingual easily recognizes a foreign language and can clearly pick out Spanish speakers.

    I once had a crazy Brazilian roommate so I'm not partial to the language ;)

  10. Rachel,

    I watch a daily battle my Brazilian friends in the US have with their young Brazilian children rebeling against Portuguese and wanting to speak only English. It's time for you to step up the tough love or they will forget English all together.
    It will be an uphill battle to keep them bilingual but totally worth it and essencial, they will thank you for being tough later on.
    I love they way you write, your sense of humor literally makes me laugh out loud. :)


  11. Do you speak english or port to them? I think about kids a lot...mainly because well 2 years is coming up here fast and so is purchasing property (ahk, wtf) so not that i will have kids for like 4-5 more years, but i think more on the reality that when i do have kids, it will be here in brasil. and i think about language...mostly the fact that i dont think i will ever speak port to my kids, ever! i would be so sad if my kid(s) said hey mom i dont want to speak your language anymore :( when i lived in Paris about 4 years ago i remember waiting for the metro one morning and i saw a mom with a kid in a stroller. the kid threw something and the mom picked it up and then started talking to him in calm english, he responded in french and then she in english and back and forth. it was very strange to watch. but it worked for them. but i think i would prefer my kids to speak to me in english ;)

  12. THanks Plug :)

    As for Chatterbox and language, he does need to speak English. Both my boys do. Although I know many bilingual children go through phases or choosing one or the other language. During those times I have many boring talks with the offending child and continue to speak in English.

    Thing is, I make these kids take a bath when they don't want to, why not learn a language. It is a fact of their little lives. They can rebel and speak to me in Pig Latin when they are older but for now we will communicate with Mommy in her Mother tongue, thank you very much.

    I don't get hurt by it. I know that children pick their battles based on many reasons but rarely for spite (or at least when they do it's quite obvious)