Perhaps is the age, or the love my daughter has for my parents, maybe it is that she shares the gene of social butterflies her father and I have. Whatever the motivation, my 2-year-old daughter seems to have aquired the most amount of vocabulary in the shortest amount of time over the month we have spent in Mexico.
I have been speaking to my children in Spanish when we are at home or alone ever since I learned I was preganant with them. To me, being multilingual is extremely important. Though my daughter had shown signs of understanding Arabic, Spanish and English, she had a preference for using words in English. That was until the second or third day of our stay in my home country. I want to attibute this to the need to socialize with my family, including my little cousins her age, that encouraged her to switch her wires and begin to say “gracias” instead of “thank you” and “hola” in place of “hi”. Observing her, I realized that the more she was able to communicate with my parents and brother using Spanish, the more effort she placed into learning more vocabulary in order to get positive attention or the candy that she wanted (she has been extremely spoiled here).
I am extreamely happy with the results of the social interaction with my loved ones and Spanish-native-speakers in general as I will be returning with a toddler who can form simple sentences in my native tongue. I am curious to see what will happen once we are back in the US and if she will continue to increase her vocabulary in Spanish when she is with me or if she will do the switch to English. I am also intrigued to see what would happen with her social skills and the way in which she will relate to people. Will she keep the Mexican values and close-knitted ways by kissing and huging everybody hello? Will she adapt to the social codes of our usual country of residence? Or will she be able to select the way she acts depending on the person?
I will be reporting on it.