I'm determined to have my child speak Spanish. As many of you know, I'm making every possible effort to make sure that Amelia is fully bilingual. But it's not just because being bilingual has plenty of advantages, but also because Spanish is my first language. I was born and raised speaking Spanish on a Spanish speaking island. It's usually the language I go to when I'm feeling extreme emotions. From the moment Amelia was born, I found myself speaking "motherly" to her only in Spanish.
As years go by and Amelia speaks more English, it takes hard work to keep speaking to her mostly in Spanish. I try my hardest and I'm constantly looking for tools to keep the language ever present in our home. I have a very supportive non Spanish speaking husband who is on board with the bilingual plan, plus a great baby sitter who can't speak a word of English and has Ame watching Spanish cartoons. My parents, both fully bilingual, were thrown off by the granddaughter that spoke little Spanish but understood everything they said to her. (I keep telling them "En Espanol!" every time they speak to her in English) It was my mother who gave me one of the best Spanish gifts.
I asked her to send me a children's DVD in Spanish. I cringed just thinking about the translated Dora the Explorer video she would find. If you think Dora's voice is annoying in English, you should listen to her dubbed in Spanish. But my Mom consulted other little girls she knows and they recommended Atencion, Atencion or "Attention, Attention", a kind of The Wiggles meets Yo Gabba Gabba, Puerto Rican style. They have original songs and pretty cool story lines. But the best part is their "Puerto Rican-ess".
Atencion, Atencion is intended for an audience of Puerto Rican children being raised on the island in the 21st century. The songs use the kind of Spanish I grew up speaking. Words that may mean nothing in other Latin American countries. The accent is the same one Amelia hears from her entire maternal family. A sing song Spanish that, contrary to what many purists may say, does not necessarily butcher the language. (The Atencion, Atencion guys pronounce all their syllables) The characters are "lagartijo", the common lizard in every Puerto Rican backyard & "Angel de la Guarda" , the guardian angel that every Puerto Rican child prays too no matter your religious denomination.
I know for a fact that this video has brought Amelia closer to my culture. I know that she can tell that Mama really enjoys these songs and really digs their meaning. I have to admit that I find myself all chocked up and homesick while watching. It's hard to explain and this comparison doesn't make it justice but it's like if you were living in New York and got your hands on some original Chicago's very own The Bozo Show videos for your kids to watch.
I rarely review or endorse products on this blog. I've had plenty of offers to do so but I will not forget my day job. But I always tell you about the kid stuff I find on my own and love just because I want to share the joy. Atencion, Atencion is one of those finds. I'm so happy that it's helping me show my girl a little bit about my childhood, which was warm, loud, colorful, loving and EN ESPANOL. Ay Mama!