Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Yippee! Victor's first (Spanish) Word!

Victor is obsessed with "bye bye".  He must say it 400 times a day.  Seriously.  

Well, yesterday the "bye bye" was replaced with a smiley "a-os".  To a mother's ears, this was a beautiful and perfect "adios"!


Friday, January 16, 2009

I'm Lovin' Rosa Leon!

My brother gave the boys "Canciones Infantiles" by Rosa Leon for Reyes this year.  Let me just say that it was an instant hit at our house!  

There are 24 traditional songs, and the lyrics are included for those of us who have to "study" in order to sing along. :)

My favorite song is about a little burro who is sick and sees a doctor.  The kiddos learn different body parts and inventive ways to make them stop hurting.  You can definitely see that Spain is not as "PC" as the US when the doctor advises una jarra de cerveza to cure an earache!

I highly recommend this CD for anyone who wants to learn some new Spanish songs for kids.  It's a refreshing change after sampling so many produced here in the US that are simply translations of American songs into Spanish!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I just posted this on my other blog, and thought this may be of interest to any readers here:

Savvy Source Blog for parents is hosting a giveaway for a Global Wonders DVD, which is a series created to teach preschoolers about other cultures. The contest ends January 19, so you still have time to enter.   

Click here to enter the contest!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Is Spanish harder to learn than English?

I don't think fathers worry so much, but all of the mothers I talk to agree--the "well child" appointments with the pediatrician are as close to a report card as we get.  I have tried to be ambivalent and accept that my kids will develop on their own schedule, but as the date creeps closer and closer, the "cramming" begins.

Right now, we are working on talking.

My husband had a month of vacation time during the holidays, so we have effectively shifted to about a 90% Spanish household.  After all, with the cold weather here in Pittsburgh, we don't have as many outings, and those that we did have were with Spanish-speaking friends to celebrate Navidad.

But wouldn't you know it--the few words that Victor says are all in English?

Talking to the pediatrician last month, she was not concerned with his limited vocabulary as the few words that he does say (bye, bye; papa, no...) were two-syllable words -- a more complex skill than the typical "nose", "ear", etc.

So I set about trying to come up with a list of monosyllabic words to teach him in Spanish.  I came up with 6:  dos, tres, seis, si, no, pez.  We're in trouble!

My opinion is that Spanish may be more difficult to learn in the beginning, but Victor will catch up quickly.  He's starting to sing along with (American!) rhymes and songs and he's super-quick with signs that I teach him and takes direction well (okay, as well as a toddler does!).

It's just tough not to worry.  After all, it is my performance review we're talking about.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Must we choose between Santa and Los Reyes?

This year it didn't matter as the kids were so young, but in the future how will we decide which holiday traditions to follow--American or Spanish?

We're living in the US now, but what if we move back to Spain? Or what if we go to Spain for the holidays one year, but stay home the next?

And if we celebrate both traditions? But then why would our children be the only ones lucky enough to (for example) receive gifts from both Santa and Los Reyes Magos?

I love the idea of the Reyes Magos since Christmas and the Epiphany are religious holidays and the tradition of the Reyes Magos follows the bible story. However, our jolly Saint Nick and his team of hard-working elves have a special place in my heart.

My husband actually came up with a fantastic idea: there are soooo many children in the world that Santa and the Reyes Magos actually work together as a team. They split up the world and each have certain children in their lists. Cool, eh? Hubby is so smart!

Now, what happens when we are in the States for Christmas, but in Spain for Reyes????

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Holidays with kids is like starting over again:  the tradition, the excitement, the "holiday spirit" if you will.

This year, we were invited to participate in a Catalan Christmas tradition called "CagaTio".  Now I know "cagar" is "to poop" (okay, it's the not so polite way of saying "poop") and "tio" is "uncle" or slang for "dude".  So... poopy uncle?  poop, man?!  huh????

Flashback to about 7 years ago when I had my first Christmas in Spain.  I travelled to Valladolid to spend the holidays with my then-boyfriend, Oscar.  Like all good Spaniards, we spent Noche Buena visiting the various belenes (Nativity Scenes) and drinking champagne.  He told me to be on the lookout for the Caganet -- a figurine that is hidden in every belen.  The distinguishing characteristic?  It's squatting and pooping.  Turns out, it was not a joke.  Gotta love Spain.

Anyway, back to CagaTio.  Doing a little research, I learned that while "caga" did mean what I thought it did, "tio" did not.  Tio in Catalan actually means trunk (like of a tree).  So the CagaTio celebration actually revolves around a friendly tree trunk being fed and wrapped up in blankets during the afternoon, only to be provoked into pooping out gifts in the evening by children singing a song and hitting it with a stick.  I repeat, gotta love Spain!

Wikipedia has a great summary of the fiesta here including the lyrics to the song in Catalan and English.

We actually had a blast and I'm looking into getting our own CagaTio for the kiddos next year!

Monday, January 5, 2009

I'm ba-ack!

For those of you that follow this blog, I apologize for leaving it without notice.  

My son David was born 10/28 and it has been a challenge to find any sort of free time to write.  He and his brother Victor keep my husband and I in a "zombie-like" state, and by the time they go to bed (okay, by the time VICTOR goes to bed!) and we have dinner, we're ready to hit the sack ourselves.

However, I'm excited to start blogging again in the new year, even if it's only a few times a week!