Paula, Professor Pocket and Raising a bilingual baby

Is anyone out there?

Still pushing for bilingual babies!! July 21, 2009

Filed under: Bilingual,Personal — Paula G, Professor Pocket and My Pregnancy @ 6:27 pm
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As I mentioned in previous posts I want my little Leo to be bilingual, and I have been diligent about speaking to him mostly in Spanish. It’s amazing now that he is a bit older he is understanding and responding to things Joe and I say. This morning I tested out his comprehension of both languages.

Leo has this awesome fish mobile above his changing table and he and I have a ritual every morning of saying good morning to the sleeping fish. I always say it Spanish, “Leo, dile buenos dias a los pecesitos!” and Joe says it in English. Lately, when we say it he’s really grasping what we are telling him and he looks right at the fish and gets a huge smile.  This morning, I said it in both languages and his eyes went straight to the fish both times. It’s working!!!!

A friend of mine (thanks Danny B) found this great article today and it just reiterated everything I believe in and the reason why Nat and I started Professor Pocket. The business is going through a tough transition, and this article reinforces why we should be super successful one day.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_med_healthbeat_bilingual_tots

 

Professor Pocket’s commercial debut…the importance of bilingual education! October 16, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Paula G, Professor Pocket and My Pregnancy @ 9:26 pm
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We produced our first online commercial discussing the state of education (specifically bilingual education) in the US and how it compares to other countries. Please share this with everyone you know and help us spread our message! Thank you!

 

Becoming a new mommy and bilingual babies… August 14, 2008

Filed under: Bilingual — Paula G, Professor Pocket and My Pregnancy @ 1:07 am
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I wrote this blog for the Mommy 4-1-1 site and thought I’d share it here as well….

I am 23 weeks pregnant with my first little one. I have to say it was a bit of a surprise to find out we were pregnant. My husband and I were in the stage of starting to talk about it when VOILA on a vacation to South Beach I realized it had already happened. We felt lucky to have been able to get pregnant so easily and I have had a wonderful pregnancy thus far. I love watching my belly grow, and the baby is getting big enough where now I can actually see my stomach bounce up when he/she (we aren’t finding out!) kicks!

As the months pass and the time approaches when this little baby will enter our world, my husband and I are trying to get everything prepared. By that I am not referring to what color I want to paint the baby’s room, it’s more about what kind of parents do we want to be? How will we make sure to raise a bright, curious, cultured, socially responsible child? Top on our list is to make sure the baby is bilingual.

I was born in the Dominican Republic and spent my childhood between Los Angeles and my hometown of Santiago. During the school year I was the Americanized version of myself, and then summer would come and my entire family would pack up and get ready for Dominican. Those summers are the greatest memories I have of my childhood and I remember almost feeling like I had two lives. I rejoined my Dominican friends and Spanish once again came naturally, so much so that by the end of the summer I was thinking and dreaming in Spanish. I loved having that special experience that none of my US friends had. I loved being able to meld completely into two entirely different worlds. I want my baby to have the same multi-cultural experience, especially in this increasingly global world in which we live. The benefits of being able to speak Spanish and English are still paying off. I have been able to travel and live in multiple countries. It has made me so curious and open to the rest of the world.

I am so passionate and so determined to raise my baby bilingually that my sister-in-law Nathalie and I started a company to help other parents do the same. Nathalie and my brother Carlos are already raising their two children bilingually. We launched Professor Pocket, http://www.professorpocket.com , in 2005 and it’s been a wonderful journey. We produce Spanish/English CDs that use a combination of very funny storytelling and catchy songs to get both parents and their children excited about learning a second language. The key is to introduce the language early on. Children are little sponges, it is amazing how quickly they absorb what they hear. As a Spanish speaker my goal is to speak to the baby only in Spanish while my husband will speak in English. It may be intimidating for parents who don’t speak another language to introduce a second language to their child, but it is possible and I wanted to share my top tips for raising bilingual children….

1. Don’t be afraid!

Even if you don’t speak the second language, look for products, like Professor Pocket, that make language learning a fun and interactive process for both parents and children. As a parent you can learn along with the child.

2. Be consistent!

Make sure your child hears the new language every day, it’s the only way they will learn. Books and audio CDs are a must as well as everyday conversation.

3. Make it fun!

If it isn’t fun for you and the child, you are less likely to be consistent in your introduction. Music and stories are a great way to keep the child engaged while they learn.

4. Have no fear, your child will still learn English!

There are so many incorrect fears that introducing multiple languages will only confuse the child and delay their development of their English language skills. This is not true! Beyond becoming bilingual your child will show superior problem solving and math skills, increased overall school performance, and better cross-cultural understanding.

If you are interested in this topic here are some other sites to check out…

Bilingual/Bicultural Family Network
http://www.biculturalfamily.org

Teaching and Learning Spanish
http://www.teachinglearningspanish.blogspot.com

http://www.scrambledbacon.blogspot.com

http://www.professorpocket.com

Enjoy!

 

Back to reality! August 13, 2008

Filed under: Bilingual,Personal — Paula G, Professor Pocket and My Pregnancy @ 4:44 am
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Our beach front bed, Melia, Cabo, MX

Our beach front bed, Melia, Cabo, MX

Joe and I at the Cabo Surf Hotel

Joe and I at the Cabo Surf Hotel

Joe G surfing La Roca, Cabo Surf Hotel

Joe G surfing La Roca, Cabo Surf Hotel

Wow is it hard to come back to reality after a vacation! We had such a wonderful time in Mexico. Joe and I went with our friends Krysta and Matt and the 5 days were filled with great food, beautiful beaches and lots of relaxation. We stayed for three days at the Surf Hotel in San Jose Del Cabo, if you ever get the chance you should go. It’s a small boutique hotel with a private beach, and for those surfers out there, you are right in front of two great waves. The last two days we splurged and stayed at the Melia. Besides the horrible techno music they blasted from 2-7pm it was very nice. They had the greatest beds in front of the beach and pool…totally decadent!

I got so nostalgic being in Mexico. I was flooded with memories of my summers in Dominican and it felt so great to speak Spanish all day. I think it’s so amazing to be able to communicate and understand people from other countries and cultures. I was lucky to have learned Spanish and English at such a young age, it was basically effortless. I wish I had studied additional languages, I would love to be able to speak French and Chinese. I started studying both on my own, but as an adult unless you really immerse yourself it’s difficult to get proficiency. Start your children learning languages early on!

My growing belly!

My growing belly!

I’ve hit the 6 month point in my pregnancy and I am still feeling really good. I’m entering the stage when the little guy or girl is going to start packing on some weight, so I anticipate my belly will grow even more quickly in the last few months. I think the baby enjoyed the vacation as much as I did. He/she was so active, lots of kicking and rolling around in there. How do they have the room to move around as much as they do? Joe and I had our first baby shower today, hosted by the people at his work. It was a surprise for him which was very sweet of his coworkers to do. We got some great gifts! Joe got a daddy diaper bag that they said is the same one Brad Pitt uses, we got a good laugh out of that one! The bag itself is awesome though and I actually think Joe will use it! Only three more months to go…

 

A much needed little break August 4, 2008

Filed under: Bilingual — Paula G, Professor Pocket and My Pregnancy @ 5:22 pm
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Joe and I are off to Mexico for our “Babymoon” on Wednesday.  Our last hoorah before sleepless nights and breastfeeding take over. I plan on doing a whole lot of nothing, mostly laying on the beach or swimming in the ocean. I have felt so great throughout this pregnancy that when we planned this trip I thought nothing of the fact that I’d be six months pregnant by the time it actually came. I still feel pretty good and am not completely huge yet, but I am a bit nervous about the usual hazards associated with a trip to Mexico if you know what I mean. 

I also refused to break down and buy a maternity bathing suit…that’s right folks, for anyone in Cabo this week, you will see me and all my extra 20 lbs hanging out on the beach in the bikinis of my former skinny self. They actually still fit…kinda. A bit more cleavage and belly but that’s not so bad.

I am also excited to practice my Spanish. I don’t get to speak it as much since I’m not visiting my native Dominican Republic as often as I used to. I still try to practice with my family and of course I’ve got to get my Spanish back in shape for the baby. The plan is for me to only speak Spanish and for Joe to take care of the English. Bilingual babies rule! Hasta Luego Amigos!