So The Menace started out well with speaking English to my parents. The first day they got here, my almost 3 year old used all of his weak English vocabulary mixed in with Portuguese when needed. Come the second day he was over it.
I tried. I told him "Menace, we have to speak in English to Grandma and Grandpa because they don't speak Portuguese."
All I got in reply: "NO, Portuguese."
Well, it seems that my little "bilingual" man is stating his preference for the time being. It doesn't bother me as 1. I know he'll end up speaking both and 2. I know that this kind of thing is normal. It may just be karma for Chatterbox's language choices. At 3 yrs old, when he finally picked up English fluently during a visit to the US, The Chatterbox declared his love for all things English. While Portuguese was his first spoken language, he refused to speak it to anyone in Brazil who he realized spoke a spattering of English.
It's just a fact of life that you have to accept a few things when raising bilingual children:
1. They will have a language preference. It will change many times but at any given point they will feel more comfortable talking in one or the other. Sometimes it comes down to feeling more comfortable talking about a certain subject in a certain language. For example, Chatterbox prefers talking about soccer in Portuguese
2. Sometimes bilingual children will have language delays. Sometimes they won't. Chatterbox was a bit of a late talker and the Menace was a very late talker. Both never stop now that they have started. On the other hand, I have friends whose kids spoke both languages at the same time as the "unilingual" kids. Be patient. Each child is different.
3. There will be language mixing. Do you really expect your child to be able to separate the two at a young age? Their little brains are alike a bowl of 2 servings alphabet soup. You try to sort that out without mixing a bit.
4. Ignore the "warnings" that two languages are too much for a little guy to learn. That is the stupidest thing I have ever heard and I heard it every single freaking day after the Chatterbox was born and I insisted on only speaking with him in English. They do not get confused, it does not harm them, and it is actually very good for them. Only when Chatterbox, at 3 years old, started speaking both languages fluently did the family admit that it was ok to do. Now they brag about how Mr. Rant and I were so smart in raising their grandchild bilingual.
5. Even if they do not reply to you in the language you are speaking, keep speaking to them in it. Both my boys completely understood English before actually speaking it. One day it literally clicked and they started busting out phrases in English, both after being stimulated by immersion in new English speaking situations (ie. visiting my parents or my parents visiting us).
What tips or questions do you have?