How it began

Today my 4 year old wasn’t too well so she didn’t go to Spanish Saturday school with her sister.

I remembered they had enjoyed using the Growstorygrow website so I logged on, so the little one would at least have some Spanish input that day.

I don’t usually speak Spanish to my children and I don’t often hear them speak it either – on the one day a week that the 4 year old is with our Spanish-speaking babysitter she switches back to English as soon as I arrive home. So I don’t have a very good idea of how much Spanish the 4 year old actually knows or remembers, 22 months after we left Spain.

As we were reading some of the animated stories on Growstorygrow together I realised that she actually knows a lot more than I had thought, or hoped.

We were reading a story about clothes and I asked her ‘Que te pongas?’ (What are you going to put on?). She answered ‘Me pongo una bata’. (I’ll put on a housecoat/dressing gown/pinny). This cracked me up as a ‘bata’ is the garment of choice for a middle-aged or elderly Spanish housewife to do the dusting in.

We were having fun and speaking naturally to each other and we continued when her sister got home from Spanish class. We did a game where we had to take it in turns to say a word in English and the others had to see who could say it in Spanish first.

It suddenly seemed to me that maybe I could be the Spanish speaker in this house, that in fact it was the only solution, given the fact that their dad has failed to do what should come naturally to him as a native speaker, who also speaks 2 other languages fluently and can get by in a handful more.

This is how it began.

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