The lAtina Mom Legacy Podcast Season 2 EPisode 9 Carolina Marroquin - Milestones and Myths in a Bilingual Child’s Speech and Language Development
Carolina Marroquin: And, then, the other myth that I've heard is that all you have to is have them listen to the language, and that will automatically have them become bilingual. And it's not -- it's got to be a very interactive process, and it's got to be fun.
Janny Perez: You are listening to Episode 9, Season 2 of The Latina Mom Legacy Podcast. Are you concerned about your child's speech or language development? Are you raising a bilingual child, and you feel like your child may have a delay? On today's show, I have a Latina mom of one that will help answer all of these questions. She's a nine-year bilingual speech-language pathologist, a busy working mom, and sancocho lover, Carolina Marroquin. Join us as we talk about age-appropriate milestones that will help us better understand language development in kids and tips on things we can do right at home to help our children's language development. Plus, we'll talk about her favorite traditions and what she'd like to pass down to her son. Así que no te lo pierdas!
You're listening to The Latina Mom Legacy Podcast, where we empower moms raising bilingual kids, talk about growing up Hispanic and tradiciones, and celebrate madrehood. It's time to keep it real. Learn tips and tricks from other moms like you and start creating a legacy your abuela would be proud of. If you're a Latina mom or have a multi-cultural family like mine, then you’re in the right place. I am your host, proud immigrant daughter, rock star wife, mom to four-year-old Victoria Grace -- ¡Soy yo! -- Mi LegaSi founder and cafecito lover, Janny Perez.
Hola, hola, how are you? I hope that you're doing well. I hope that quarantine is treating you kindly. I hope that you are staying safe and not going insane. Oh, my goodness. So we've been in quarantine for about a month or a little over a month now. It's crazy. Since states are looking to open up very soon, if not within this week, within the next couple weeks. And I don't know how I feel about that. I think if you're in a state that doesn't have a lot of cases, I think that you're probably not too worried, and you're ready to go about your daily life, life as usual. But I think if you're like me, living in a state that has a lot of cases -- we just live outside of New York and Jersey -- so we still have a lot of cases. And it's still a little scary.
I mean, don't get me wrong. I'm ready to go to my daily life. I'm ready to go to the gym. I'm ready for Victoria to go to school to see her friends because she misses her friends so much. I miss the library. Gosh, I miss the library so much. Just like our everyday living. But I'm not going to lie, I'm still a little scared to be around a lot of people. We are wearing our facemasks when we go out, and we are keeping our distance. And we've now resorted to driving through pretty neighborhoods as our family outing just to get out of the house. We don't get out of the car. We just drive around and look at pretty houses and pretty neighborhoods. Oh, my God.
But, hey, it's the new norm, I suppose. A ver, que más les cuento? Mother's Day is coming up. And, for Mother's Day, I wanted to do something special for the show. I wanted to honor your mamis. I really want to do this. I want to share their stories and their wisdom, really. I want us learn from your moms or abuelas or tias or mother figures, because everyone is different and every case is different. So, if you would like to share a life lesson that you've learned or something very valuable that your mom has taught you, or your tía or your abuela, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can send me a voice message. You can send me a video. Or you can just send me an email and just send me a quote, with your name, of course. And I'll share that on the air with our listeners. You can also DM me directly on Instagram at Mi LegaSi. I would be more than happy to share your mami's words of wisdom with everyone.
So speaking about Mother's Day, I mean, it's just around the corner. And trying to figure out what to get my mom. I have a pretty good idea. I think I'm just gonna get her stuff for the house, like house clothes. She kinda wants vatolas. If you don't know what vatolas are, they're like little muumuu dresses for the house. Because, I mean, she's not going anywhere. She's just staying home, chilling out, so she wants to be comfortable, and it's fine. I think gift giving has definitely changed this year and will definitely change, I think, for a while.
I mean, some ideas of things that you can give your moms or your mother figures -- besides comfy clothes to be at home or workout clothes for them to go walking -- pampering stuff, stuff for the hands like hand creams. With all the hand washing and -- it's just kinda crazy how awful our hands look, speaking for myself.
But I was looking for those gloves that you put on and that have -- they're like masks for your hands. And everywhere I look, they're totally sold out. So, if you can find one of those, I think that's a really good gift. And, then, what else? Anything for pampering; face masks, face creams stuff. I mean, even though we're at home and getting hairy, I mean, I think you can still pamper yourself a little bit, right?
I mean, what's another good gift? Picture frames, I like giving pictures frames with pictures of the kids. I think that's always nice. Or the grandkids. I think that moms really appreciate that. Or something that she can put on her fridge. Those are very sentimental gifts, gifts of value. Hobbies. Everybody is at home now. So whether it's sewing, whether it's needle craft, whether it's scrapbooking, I don't know, knitting, those are all good gifts that you can gift mom. And cooking because we're all cooking left and right. So pots. Oh, my goodness, a good set of pots would be a great gift, I think. My brother actually gave my mom a set of pots for December. So I can't give her that.
But those are some thoughts. And, then, if you run out of ideas, you can always check on Mi LegaSi Shop, and get 25% off your order for Mother's Day with the code POD25. And I can provide a link in the show notes, MiLegaSi.com. You know, I have tote bags. I have coffee tumblers. I have tee shirts, scrapbooks, stuff that mom would appreciate, to help you out.
A ver, que más les digo? Victoria is good. I hesitated, right? I totally hesitated because she is driving me a little crazy. I think all the kids are driving us crazy, right? Her favorite word, nowadays, is boring. Everything's boring. Reading is boring. Schoolwork is boring. This show is boring. This app is boring. Everything is boring. I’m like, "Oh, my goodness." The only that is not boring is Lego. We are totally into Lego right now because that's the only thing that's keeping her entertained.
So, actually, I came across this website, and I'm sure you've heard of it. But, if you haven't, here's the plug for them, outschool.com. And they have a lot of classes, online classes, live classes, anywhere from like $5 to like $20. I don't know, maybe more expensive. I signed her up for a Lego class. It was fantastic. It was so good. It was 45 -- actually, I think it was an hour. It was an hour. The teacher, first of all, worked for Lego. She's an author. She's super accomplished. My goodness, she had the patience of Super Woman. She was really good with the kids, and Victoria had a great time. They did a project, and the teacher kept asking them questions and kept them entertained the whole time. It definitely was worth it. That class was only $12. And, if you want to get a $20 credit off of your first class, you can send me a DM @milegasi, and I'll hook you up. Totally, totally recommend it. It was really good. I mean, I don't know if all the teachers are this good. But she was really good. So I highly recommend that.
On today's show, I have a speech-language pathologist of nine years. She's a Latina mom of one, Carolina Marroquin. She's going to help clarify some myths about bilingual speech and language development and tips on things that we can do, right in the comfort of our home, to help our children in their development. Espero que les guste. I hope you take notes. She has a lot of wisdom and things that will help us with your kids development. Ciao, ciao.
Carolina, thank you so much for being on the show. Welcome!
Carolina: Hola, Janny. Thank you so much for having me on.
Janny: It's been a little crazy, right?
Carolina: Oh, my gosh, yes. We're all hunkering down.
Janny: I don't know when you're going to be listening to this episode. But we're in the midst of the whole coronavirus hunker down.
Carolina: Yes, definitely. I think we're all feeling a little panicky.
Janny: But we're trying not to panic. We're really trying not to panic. So, Carolina, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Carolina: Okay, so I was born in Colombia, Medellín, Colombia. And my parents moved to the smallest state in the union, Rhode Island, when I was two years old. So I grew up pretty much like a simultaneous bilingual because I grew up learning both languages at the same time. For us, it was Spanish at home all the time. Español en la casa. There was no other option. So we maintained all of our traditions. I have a huge family, lots of aunts and uncles, lots of cousins. You know, simple trips to the beach, it was like nine cars. And that's what I thought immediate families were. I don't realize immediate families was just mom, dad, and siblings.
But it was amazing growing up surrounded by so much support and so much -- you know, just so many people. It was really nice. We grew up having predominate Spanish at home. I went to your mainstream schools. Don't have ESL back then. It was in the 80s. Won't say how long exactly, but I'm older. And, then, I met my husband in high school, as a senior high school. He is also from Medellín, Colombia. He moved to the US when he was 11, so he was a part of the ESL movement when he was in school. We've been together since. So since '97.
We now have our son, who's five. And we both agreed that it was really important for us to maintain that home language and just all of those cultural traditions and that sense of importance with maintaining our culture and our roots.
Janny: Carolina, you're raising Julian to be bilingual?
Carolina: Yes, definitely. Luckily, my husband and I both agreed that it was important to maintain that native language component in raising him. Early on, we probably did an 80/20 model, where it was everything at home was in Spanish. All books were in Spanish, even when they weren't already in Spanish, I would often translate them as I read. Then, we did little social things, like the library story time or swim class or baby soccer class or whatever extra-curriculars, would be in English.
Now that he's in school, it's a little different, because when he started pre-school last year, two months in he was like, "English only." That was hard to navigate through because we were pushing him to maintain that Spanish at home. And I don't realize how hard of a job that was, to really reinforce it and be mindful of what language we spoke to him. Because, of course, the path of least resistance is just to speak to him in English. But it's a really mindful thing, and we just try it. And it's not perfect every day. Trust me, it's not. We do a lot of code-switching where often, like mid-sentence, it's like, "Julian, no se quiere leche in your cup or in the..." or whatever it may have been the case. So it takes hard work.
Janny: I get it. It's definitely a commitment. And if you happen to hear him -- there he is -- it's because we're going through this whole coronavirus thing, and all the kids are home. We're going nuts!
Carolina: Yes. Yes.
Janny: So, if you hear a lot of extra background noise, it's because both our kids are home and we're trying to record this. So bear with us a little. But you understand because I know you listening have your kids at home. What are some books or activities or TV shows that you guys use or do at home that encourage his bilingual learning?
Carolina: We're really lucky. A lot of the local libraries have either a bilingual librarian who will make sure that there are constantly new books being cycled through or there's bilingual story time or different bilingual activities that won't put the pressure so much on us. One of the local libraries in a city called Pawtucket, that librarian is amazing with what she provides, as far as books. I just got some really good ones. They're brand, brand new books, before libraries were shut down, of course.
It's tough because you think no school, how else are we going to keep them entertained and how else are we going to keep them from going stir-crazy? Luckily, the weather's turning a little. A couple of extra layers, we can head outside, and we can just be outside, and that's not a big deal. But as far as library books or resources, Eric Carle books were my favorite when he was younger. He still enjoys them. Most of them have been translated. And, of course, sing-songy rhyming sense does get lost in translation. But it's still great to expose him to your classics in Spanish.
Now there are many more books available in Spanish. Like I was saying, that one library that has a good selection of bilingual books. But we do also an app called iVoox, where they do audiobooks. It's all in Spanish, and there's this gentleman, Andrés Escobar I believe is his name. I'm going to look it up. And it's really good to just have him exposed to it. And, of course, I play it in the car where he has no other option.
Janny: Oh, that's good. That's good. And it's iVoox spelled?
Carolina: And this one in particular is Cuentos Infantiles by Andrés Escobar. His stories are usually short, like under 20 minutes. But they're great. Believe it or not, they've got this Disney one. I was a big Disney fan growing up. And they've got a Disney one with all of the Disney movies on iVoox en español, which is awesome.
Janny: Oh, I love that.
Carolina: So he knows of all the Disney characters through that because we're not big on screen time.
Janny: That's wonderful. That's a great tip for in the car, as opposed to handing them an iPad. Plus, it gets their creativity going, so that's awesome. Anything else that Julian likes at this age?
Carolina: Yes, definitely music. One of his favorites is 123 Andrés. They are a husband and wife Colombian duo and they're --
Janny: Are they Colombian? I don't know they were Colombian. I didn't know.
Carolina: Yes. They're Bogotá. They're actually offering free online concerts because all their actual, physical venue concerts have been cancelled. We've seen them in concert, and Julian loves it. He loves them. He loves their dynamic. It's fantastic.
Nathalia, who's also an Colombian, bilingual children's musician. And there's so many, the list could go on and on. But definitely music. Music is another great way to reinforce it because then it takes, again, that pressure off of you to constantly be saying, "En español. En español. En español." You just play it. You sing it. They learn the lyrics. They sing it. And they are learning and being exposed to the language without out it feeling like work.
Janny: Yeah. You have to make it fun for them.
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So, Carolina, you're a speech-language pathologist. And can you explain to us exactly what you do and what that means?
Carolina: Sure. The first thing I always like to clarify is the difference between speech and language. Speech is just the actual production of sound. In grad school, there was one professor who always drilled that speech is at the level of the mouth. It's just how the mouth moves to make the sounds needed for words. Language is at the level of the brain because it's the comprehension or the ability to understand and the ability to express. So following a multi-step direction, "Ve a tu cuarto. Trae tus zapatos. Y apaga la luz." That multi-step direction. Understanding those three individual steps, what's first, second, and third.
Earlier on, we're looking at do they understand if we say, "O, donde está el patito?" in the story, or "enséname tu nariz." Just all those of those basic comprehension pieces will develop before that expressive piece. So, even though kids go through that very quiet period early on, they are learning and processing all of that information.
Janny: They're taking it all in.
Carolina: Exactly. So this is probably a good time to mention that bilingual influence will not delay them. Often when you hear ,if they're to approaching two and they're not saying much, well-meaning, well-intended family members will say, "O, no. Eso es porque es bilingüe." Or even pediatricians, believe it or not. We've heard still of that myth that their bilingualism is what's causing some delays. Truth be told, the data and research says that, if there is a language delay, it's going to be present no matter how many languages the child is exposed to.
What happens is that children can -- they understand all sound systems of all languages. And as they develop, they start to zone in on just the language sound system that they are being exposed to every day. So it's not that there's any delay being caused. It's not that they're confused. It's not that they just aren't sure. They can be exposed to multiple languages and develop skills right on par with monolinguals.
Janny: So what are some of the milestones that we as parents need to know in terms of language development? If your baby is zero to six months or in the first year, where should they be at?
Carolina: Right. For hearing and understanding, or that receptive piece, they should startle to sounds. They should move their eyes in the direction of the sound. They should respond to changes in your tone of voice. They should turn around and look in the direction or look when you point. They should turn when you're calling their name. They should understand some of those basic, every-day words like cup and truck and juice and daddy.
They should start to respond to those and simple commands like "no" or "come here" or "want more." They should be able to listen to songs and story time, as far as that comprehension piece. Then we've got that what we expect them to say. Obviously between birth and six months, they're not going to be saying words, but they've got to be making some cooing sounds and some babbling.
Janny: Right, sounds.
Carolina: Some babbling; pppp, mmmm. Some of that babbling. They should be giggling and laughing and making sounds if they're happy or if they're upset. As they go closer to that first year, we should hear those strings of babble. They should pointing to objects when they're being told. Or they should be waving bye or lifting their arms to indicate up. They should be saying anywhere between one to two words. Maybe they'll say "hi" or "da" for dog or "dada" or "mama."
Just FYI, P is developed before M. so if they say "papá" before they say "mamá," that is okay.
Janny: It's not because of preference.
Carolina: That happened to me. I remember it vividly. It was Mother's Day, when Julian turned one, where he said "mamá" for the first time. But he had been saying "papá" for what seemed like forever.
Janny: And you're like, "Cuando va decir mamá?"
Carolina: Yeah. But in the back of mind, I knew. I’m like, "Okay, papá is just an easier thing because that sound is there before."
Janny: That was the professional in you saying, "No, it's normal." But the mom in you was saying, "When is he gonna say mamá?"
Carolina: Yes. Yes. So that's for first year, between one and two. As far as understanding, they should be pointing to a few body parts. They should be following one-step directions, for example, kiss the baby, roll the ball. They should point to pictures in a book.
As far as talking, they should be using lots of new words. P, B, M, and W-words should be developing. They're probably asking lots of questions, like "What's that?" or "Where's kitty?" or "Quién es?" just kind of giving you an idea. To be putting two words together, as they get close to that second-year birthday, too. "Mas jugo. Mami, arriba." Well, arriba may be a more complex word. But you get what I mean, right? Just [indiscernible 21:51] two words together.
Then, between two and three, we start to see that they are able to understand opposites -- go, stop, big, little, up, down -- following two-step directions. They're using more complex sounds, like K sound, G sound, X sound, T and D. They're using words like in and on, so prepositions. They start to use more of the three words together to talk about things. They're asking why questions.
Janny: Why, oh, yes. I remember that age. Why? But why? But why?
Carolina: Yeah, it gets to a point where all you want to say is, "Porque yo dije."
Janny: Because I said so.
Carolina: [Indiscernible 22:32] And, then, three to four, as far as that comprehension piece, they're responding to you when you're calling from a different room. They're using color words. They're understanding words for shapes.
Janny: They're more descriptive.
Carolina: Exactly, yeah. More of the family member labels. As far as talking, they are answering simple questions; who, what, where? They're understanding rhyming words like hat and cat and pato and gato, using plurals. They are putting, pre-dominantly, four words together. And you can understand most of what they say between the ages of three and four. Like lots of times I'll have parents who say, "Yo no le entiendo nada." Well, let's look at how old they are and what the expectation is.
Then, from four to five, we start to see big increase in what they're able to understand. They're understanding sequential concepts, like first, next, and last. Things that require time concepts, like yesterday. They're following longer and more complex-step directions. They are now able to say some of the more complex sounds, or what we call later-developing sounds, like S's and R's -- Maybe not arroz. Maybe not r-double-r -- Ch, Th, some of those later developing sounds. They are able to name letters and numbers. Their sentences have verbs. Like there's more structure to their sentence. They are able to tell a short story. They can keep the conversation going.
Janny: Yes, and going and going and going.
Carolina: For some of our kids, yes. Yes. That is Julian [indiscernible 24:11].
Janny: Because Victoria, sometimes, will just go on and on and on and on and on, like a broken record.
Carolina: But it's wonderful, right? You want to just soak it all in. When there are times --
Janny: Not all the time.
Carolina: No, when you're not rushing at the grocery store and you've got a million things to do. There are sometimes when I just sit there in awe of him, like, yes. I listen, and I am hearing, and I just engage. But I agree with you, not always.
Janny: [Indiscernible 24:42] ask you quickly on that topic because this is something that I see Victoria do quite often. When she tells me, "Okay, mom, I want to tell you something." And she'll say it in English. And she'll start, "um, um." And I’m like, "Uh-huh?" And she's like, "Yeah, um." And I don't know if she's trying to figure out the word. Is she just processing?
Carolina: Right. If you think about it, we code-switch all the time. Mid-sentence, mid-conversation, we'll sort of, all of a sudden, le tiramos el español, and then we're back to English. So we've had years of being able to do that code-switching. So that all depends on her environment. If her environment is mostly English, let's say at preschool, and then she's coming home, and she knows that it's in español. Then she's like, "Okay, wait. At school I called it this. At home, I'm calling it this." So part of it could be that processing.
But code-switching is completely normal. That's one thing that we often see it as like, oh, they're confused, and they don't know the word. They know the word, but it may just be more functional for them in one language versus the other. So what I often recommend to families is just to, not because of the confusion, just to give them the proper language model is -- that's great. They're code-switching. That's fine. But you need to be able to give them the proper model in either language because, if we think about the order of nouns and adjectives in Spanish versus English, where in English we say "the red car" versus in Spanish, "el carro rojo."
I always try to recommend that. Yes, code-switching is normal, and there's nothing wrong, but just to give them that proper language model in either. So pick either one or the other. Or if you're feeling lots of energy and you want to do both, "Oh, sí, mija, me estas contando del carro rojo. Yes, you're talking about the red car," great. Sometimes it just requires a little bit of that processing speed to just get that bilingual switch to happen. Con mucho que nos estemos mordiendo la mano like, "Hurry up and get it out."
You just give them the space and time because that way they understand that what they need to say, whether it's code-switched or just in English or just in Spanish ,is just as important. And we're not focusing on how they're saying it. We're focusing more on what they need to say.
Janny: Now, if parents want to learn more about the specific milestones, where should they go?
Carolina: ASHA, which is the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, is a really good resource. Hopefully you can add that link to the show notes because it's got that breakdown from birth to five years old. Then it's got some information about that bilingual language development. And also where to find a professional. Maybe your pediatrician isn't the best source. Maybe they're telling you there's nothing wrong, don't worry about it. They will outgrow it. This is definitely a place to go and find a specialist in your area, a speech-language pathologist in your area.
Janny: Okay, wonderful. Now, you talked a little bit about some of the myths. But what are some other myths that parents or family members have about speech and language development?
Carolina: Right. So that's a great question. A lot of times we hear that there's that confusion piece. Fact is that children are capable of learning multiple languages, and even children with some developmental delays can learn different languages. So it's not that that will cause any confusion. Another myth that I've heard -- not as much now, but I've heard that parents are told they should stop speaking that native language at home and [indiscernible 28:17] just English. And it doesn't really benefit the children because when they're not getting a proper English language model at home, they're not getting that academic English that they can then use at school. So it's much better to reinforce that native language, no matter what language it is. Whatever that native language is, get their skills really strong so they can then transfer to English.
And it's really important for the families to have comfort in the language they're speaking. If they're not comfortable speaking English and it's bringing some grammatically incorrect English, then we're not giving the best model. So it's better to speak in the language that they're most comfortable in. Another myth is that children -- again, back to code-switching -- that they shouldn't mix the two languages. Technical term is translanguaging. But it's code-switching. We do it all the time. It's completely natural and perfectly normal.
Then the other myth that I've heard is that all you have to do is have them listen to the language, and that will automatically have them become bilingual. And it's not. It's got to be a very interactive process. And it's got to be fun. They need to have a context to be able to develop the practice of the language in and just feeling like they are able to communicate confidently in that second language.
Janny: When should a parent seek help? When there should there be cause for concern?
Carolina: Mom-tuition is definitely something I would say go along with that because if you've got other children, if you've got some older children or maybe even some nieces or nephews that you're sort of comparing -- you know, you've got some kind of a guide to compare with. If you've got that concern, definitely follow up with your pediatrician. And hopefully your pediatrician is onboard with your concerns and isn't dismissive. But really, if your pediatrician isn't supportive of it, I would say go to the ASHA website or maybe even an early intervention google search for your area. And get a resource that way. It's really tough when a pediatrician isn't on board because then you really don't know where to access the resources.
And the other thing that's also important to think about is that children develop differently. So you may have an older child, and you're thinking, "Well, Juanito was saying a whole bunch at this age, and Estebancito isn't." But it doesn't necessarily mean there's a delay. All children develop differently. But if you have a gauge, then you know. Mom's intuition is definitely something to go by. And most local school districts, once children turn three, have outreach screenings. So that could [indiscernible 30:58] to turn to where they will follow up if there are some concerns, and then they can go through that whole evaluation process. And, then, local private practice or outpatient clinics could also be a good resource.
Janny: So, now that we're all hunkered down and have the kids home, what are some things that parents can do at home with their kids if they think that there is either a child delay or to improve the existing state of their speech and language development?
Carolina: First, if they've already got some services being provided through their schools, I would say really take a look at what those goals say. Let's say it's answering "wh" questions, whether it's who, what, when, where, why. So you're sitting down. You're having dinner, so you can say, "What are your plate is green?" or "What liquid is in your cup?" So it's all about making if functional. You don't have to sit there and try to reinvent the wheel. But, in your day-to-day situations, be able to focus on those in really simple and functional ways. If you're reading a book, then you can ask, "What do you think will happen next?" or "Where is this book taking place? Is it the park? Is it the beach or is it inside of a school?" So just asking functional questions based on whatever their IEP goals or their speech and language goals are, making it really functional.
And sometimes, I'll be honest, the wording on those is not the simplest. It's sort of technical terminology. But just getting down to some of the more basic functional ways to do that would just be in your daily routines. If the paper fell under the table, saying, "Hey, is the paper under the table or is it on the table?" If it's a preposition-type thing, that concept. Or putting out some different sized silverware and say, "Can you find the biggest one?" if there's a long fork or a short fork. A napkin that's been folded, which one is the biggest one? Which one is the smallest one? Which one is next to? Which one is under? So there are lots of ways to incorporate that functionally that doesn't have to mean you sit down next to them to try to carry out a task.
Janny: Okay. Oh, I love that. Carolina, what are some traditions that you and your husband would like to pass down to Julian or that you would like to share with him?
Carolina: I think just that family togetherness. And it's tough because we're always so busy and running around. I grew up with such a big family, and that sense of family is always there. And it was a constant. We were always, monthly, celebrating something. Just giving him that sense of how important that is. And, for his generation, there aren't that many. When I was a kid -- I'm the oldest granddaughter on my mom's side of 17 grandchildren and, on my dad's side, 6 grandchildren. I saw them all grow up, and I was the eternal babysitter. So just that sense of family togetherness and the importance of that, even when we're super busy and things don't fit in our schedule. Just that sense of being together.
Janny: I love that.
Carolina: We do celebrate big time. It's always at least 25 to 30 of us, even for a small, entre comillas, a small get together it's a lot of us. So I'm sure that once -- hopefully we get the clearance that things are settling down with this coronavirus here, we'll be able to still do that. We always do potluck. Una tía trae las yucas. Una persona trae la ensalada. It's amazing. My family is great. I love that sense of togetherness, even when times are crazy busy.
Janny: I love that. Is there a family tradition that you guys do every year of something, whether it's Christmas, whether it's during the summer?
Carolina: We do have several, believe it or not. During the summer -- my family does a natillera, which is like a collective savings, with the family. My husband and I haven't participated in a while because we were never able to get to all the things, all the events. But we do a monthly bingo, or a monthly get together for all the participants. So, in the summer, there's always three big get togethers where we have family from Boston come in , and we do the big, massive cookout. So that's one.
The other two big ones, other than Nochebuena because of course that's huge for us. [indiscernible 35:20] buñuelos. But the other big one is Memorial day weekend and Labor day weekend there are two big family camping trips. Again, my husband and I haven't been in a while because we've got two doggies, and the campgrounds don't allow the doggies. [indiscernible 35:33] but we always try to get there for sancocho Sunday.
Janny: That sounds yummy.
Carolina: Yes. So that is, hands down, one of the things that it's like, okay, every year we know that that is happening Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend.
Janny: Wait, I have to stop you. So, for our listeners that are not Colombian that may not be familiar with sancocho, tell us what is sancocho?
Carolina: It's an amazing stew that's got every kind of protein you can imagine. It's got every kind of starch and carbohydrate you can imagine. So it's got all the meats. It's got potato. It's got yuca, or cassava. It's got plantains, the sweet one and the not sweet one, el maduro y el verde. And then it's boiled until everything is falling off the bone and super tender. And then they serve it in arroz and --
Julian: And carne!
Carolina: -- and curtidos. Sorry, that was Julian telling you that we have carne in our sancocho.
Janny: Is that what he said? Yo no lo entendí.
Carolina: Yes. I tried not to let him [indiscernible 36:37].
Janny: Uh-huh. Como mi hija. Definitely not vegetarian, my daughter.
Carolina: He is a carnivore, for sure. We always have to have the avocados. Que no falte el aguacate. Que no falte el banano maduro. And it's really great. It's really great. Like I said, we don't get to eat every single time, but it's a great -- you're at the ground and the fire's going, and it's just -- you come back smelling like lena and sancocho.
Janny: I love it. I love it. I'm going to ask you for a recipe. Awesome. Thank you so much for sharing. I love that. I love traditions, and it is a show tradition that we ask each one of our guests the same round of questions. So, Carolina, this is your round of questions.
Janny: Okay, Carolina, what is your biggest struggle as a mom?
Carolina: I think the work-life balance is definitely tough, especially now that Julian's getting a little older and he's more aware of "Okay, mama, you're always working." So just figuring out that work-life balance and not making it seem to him like, when we are together, all I want to do is force him to speak Spanish and force him to go here and force him to go there. So just getting a better handle on that work-life balance has been really tough for me.
Janny: I think that's our number one struggle, really. You want to have your career, be yourself, have that. You want to be a really good mom. And you have mom guilt because when you're doing one thing, then, guess what, if you're working, you're not necessarily being a great mom in your head. And, then, when you're being mom, okay, I'm not really being a great business person because I'm not there. Balancing the two is definitely a challenge.
Janny: What is a great piece of advice that you've gotten from a mom or your mom?
Carolina: My mom tells me not to let the mom guilt eat at me. She says, "You know that your dad and I worked just as much as --" maybe not as much. "We worked just as much as you and Sergio do, and you turned out fine." So she does try to encourage me to not let that mom guilt eat up at me or eat at me because I do struggle with it. But my mom's like "We worked a lot too, and you're fine. You and your brother are fine."
Janny: Love that. Okay, finish this sentence, "Growing up Latina, I..."
Carolina: Didn't realize that I was a minority because growing up I went to a small parochial school from K to eight, and we were all of diverse backgrounds. So I was really lucky in that sense because there was some families from Portugal, some families that were Cape Verdean, some families Colombian. So I don't realize that. It was a culture shock when I got to high school, and it was like, "Whoa. I'm a minority? What is this?” I've heard a lot of your guests where it's the opposite experience, where growing up they didn't fit it. Mine didn't happen until much later in my schooling. So it was, at that point, was tough because I was like wait a minute. I've been surrounded by my people, mi gente, for so long. All of a sudden, I'm in a predominately Italian high school. There's not a lot of cultural identification there.
And all of the Latinos were in ESL classrooms, and I wasn't in any ESL classrooms. It was tough because they were considered, sort of like, the special kids who couldn't speak English, and I was like, no, those are my people man. I want to be in an ESL classroom just so I could hablar con mi gente, you know? So that, I think, was a positive because I grew up really well supported in that diverse aspect enough that, when I got to high school and it was that culture shock, it was like this is weird. But no me afecto.
Janny: I grew up in Miami. And Miami's very Latino. But it was when I moved to Chicago that I went to college. I think that that's when I really felt like, okay. I kind of stepped out of my comfort zone, like you're feeling surrounded by your gente. But it was interesting because the diversity was there, but it was different. It wasn't Latino-Hispanic diversity. It was Polish. They're Italian. They are from Russia. And I got more exposed to Mexican culture and Puerto Rican culture because in Miami it was more Cuban and South American. It was just very interesting. I still felt a little bit out of place, even there. What Latino dish would you like to pass down to Julian, and why?
Carolina: I think more than the dish, just the fact that you share with family. The connection to the cultural traditions in the family togetherness [indiscernible 41:18] surrounding food. That we're not having pizza at every family get together. We have arroz and yuca and papa and crema and sancocho and sudado and those more traditional foods. Just getting him to connect that traditional food to that family togetherness, I think, more that any one specific thing. If you were to ask my though, he'd totally be like bandeja paisa because that is his one go-to meal. But I think more than the actual meal itself, the togetherness that comes with the over all package.
Janny: I love that. I love that. Okay, what Hispanic home remedy do you swear by?
Carolina: Funny enough, I know lots of us say the Vicks vaporu, but I think los remedios de los abuelitas. Anything that your grandmother would say to you, "Okay, si usted tiene este, haga esto. Si usted tiene esto, haga esto." They didn't have Google. They didn't Google anything. It was an intuition thing. So, oftentimes, growing up it was like we would call on my grandmother. One of my grandmothers always lived with us, one or the other. It was like, "Abuelita, tengo esto. Que tengo que hacer?" So not any one thing, in particular, but just relying on that innate ability for them to know what to do depending on whatever your symptoms were.
Janny: How funny. They're like las curanderas.
Carolina: Yeah, for sure.
Janny: Okay, Carolina, what do you want your legacy to be?
Carolina: Oh, gosh.
Janny: As Julian is back there fidgeting with her, [indiscernible 43:03] her right now.
Carolina: Yes. Yes. Just that I tried. As much as I feel the mom guilt and that I don't do enough in either of the two roles, as we said, that I was that ever-present mom who could sit at the computer and say, "I need 10 more minutes," but then spend another 20 outside kicking the soccer ball. Just that overall. We just want to be this overall superhero mom that does the best possible. So I think just that. Just having him recognize that, yes, mom worked a lot, but in the downtimes, it was quality time. It was focused work on him, as he's saying "Oh, yeah." Focus time on him, and that I did that quality time focused on him.
Janny: I love that. Carolina, thank you so much. It has been a true pleasure.
Carolina: Thank you, Janny. Thank you for having me on.
Janny: Did you get some information? I know I did. Carolina reminds us that every child is different, but having general milestones that we can refer to will help us understand language development in children. Follow your mama instincts. And if you feel like your child isn’t where you think they should be, seek help, even if it means getting a second opinion. Finally, know that children are capable of learning multiple languages, but it means putting forth a little extra effort from our part. Thank you for listening to another episode of The Latina Mom Legacy Podcast. For all of today's recommendations, including books, apps, and resources, check out the show notes or visit thelatinamomlegacy.com and click on today's episode. Como siempre, mil gracias. And if you like listening to the podcast, can you leave me a positive review? Reviews are a way the podcast can get visibility and empower other moms to connect, create, and carry on our Latinx heritage. Un beso, un abrazo, y hasta la próxima. Ciao, ciao.
What do you want your legacy to be?
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