Tag Archives: parenting

Sharing more than I should, maybe

Sharing more than I should, maybe

There are certain moments in life when one has to learn to shut up. For the last several months I’ve been doing a lot of silent thinking and holding the pause button on my public expressions of emotions for one very complicated and difficult reason.

My father is battling cancer and I don’t know what to do about it.

Nothing that I can say can take away his pain. Nothing that I can do can miraculously take away this disease from his body. And because of that I find myself struggling constantly, on a day-to-day basis. There are days where I just don’t want to get out of bed. There are days when I feel like a child, confused and unable to find my bearings in everyday life. Days when I’m just angry and bitter.

I share this not to make my father’s situation about me, mostly to just be honest with myself. My therapy has always been writing, but here lately I haven’t had the words to say much of anything.

My father’s ongoing battle with cancer has forced me to put life into perspective. It doesn’t matter how much I make from my business and passion; it doesn’t matter how many brands I’ve collaborated with or not; it doesn’t matter how small or large my community is at any given moment. All that matters is that life is about choices. No matter how much time we might think we might have, it’s never enough.

Cristela Alonzo the comedian put it best in her latest standup routine for Netflix. She basically said “no matter how grown up you think you are you never feel more like a child than when you realize your parents are not going to be around forever.” I wasn’t ready to deal with that.

I couldn’t agree more with that sentiment.

At any given moment everything can change.

Don’t wait for tomorrow. Tell the people you love how much you love them today.

And if you’d be willing to say a prayer or two for my father, I’d appreciate that more than you know. Gracias.

The truth about Raising a Bilingual Kid

The truth about Raising a Bilingual Kid

It’s definitely not a topic we’ve ever shied away from, but it is one we’ve given a lot of thought to. Especially as parents of a bilingualish teenager. See what I did there? It’s a play off of the hit TV show Blackish, in case you’re wondering. What I’m talking about is Raising a Bilingual Kid.

Y’all know I’ve written at length about that topic over the years, haha! So how does one follow up so many blog posts about the same topic? With a video, of course!

That’s what we’re talking about in our latest video from YouTube (we have a channel there, by the way… in case you want to subscribe – we’d greatly appreciate it). Take a look and let us know what your best tips are for raising a fully bilingual or bilingualish child.

Where does the time go?

That’s what I’m contemplating tonight.

In just the blink of an eye he’s gone from uttering a word here and there, to thinking on his own and rationalizing the world around him, a su manera. 

Where does the time go?

Honestly, I can’t put into words the feelings that come pouring into my heart when I look at this picture and think of all the moments we’ve shared. It’s gut wrenching almost because as parents we never really stop to think how precious every moment really is. We don’t understand that before we know it babies are adults. Living their own lives. Being independent. As they should be. Yet somehow growing up too soon.

We worry about the roof over their heads. The food on the table. The clothes on their back. The homework they need to do. The ways they should and should not act. The friends they keep. The travesuras they get into. The things they want and don’t really need. The list goes on and on. And we seldom stop to take in the sweetness that is the relationship between child and parent.

There’s love there, yes. But also trust, faith, compassion, hope, respect, and above all else gratitude. Gratitude for the opportunity life gives us to grow up and old together.

He’s hitting his teens.

Not sure exactly yet what stage I’m on.

Sharable Moments: Oops… that’s piña colada!

Last week we had the opportunity to stay at a nearby resort. A local blogger group was hosting a one night special as part of their tour of this R&R facility about an hour away from where we live. Of course, we immediately jumped at the opportunity because hey, the rate was only one third of the regular price. That’s a deal no matter which way you look at it.

Anyway, we’d been there about an hour or two. Juan and Edgar were in the water; the swimming pool to be exact. They did have a lazy river too, but it wasn’t moving fast enough so they jumped out and opted for the pool instead.

At that point Juan decided a cocktail sounded right about perfect. We ordered one and he took another lap around the pool while the waitress brought the piña colada back to us. Just as she placed it down Edgar decided he was thirsty and needed something to drink. Before we could blink he had taken a big old sip of the piña colada and exclaimed “this drink is GOOD!”

Our gut reaction was to snatch and scold. Then we all laughed. Right before jumping in the pool again, Edgar asked very concerned… “wait, am I drunk now?”

¡UFF! #ParentingFail

Sharable Moments: Oops… that’s piña colada!

Why Mom Lost It This Christmas

After reading Crafty Chica’s hilarious flying-Christmas-tree story, I had to share my own account of how I managed to become the hysterical woman locked out of her own home this Christmas.

This happened very recently and is very much freshly-engraved forever in my memory now.

We are in the midst of holiday break around here. That just means the kids have two weeks off from school, and as for Edgar, this means he has time to spare and he uses most of it to sleep. You’ll understand why that’s significant in a moment.

Why Mom Lost It This Christmas

So here we go, this is my embarrassing story.

At the moment, we only have one working car. Every morning Juan drops me off at my mom’s house so I can use her car to make small commutes throughout the day as I need to. This past Tuesday was no different. The only difference was that Edgar was fast asleep in the house too. Before we left that morning I lightly tapped him on the shoulder and told him I would be right back. He nodded and just asked that I not take too long. I assured him I would not since I was only picking up the car from his grandmother’s house two blocks away.

Juan dropped me off. I went inside, greeted my mother, picked up the car keys, and went on my merry way back home. I hadn’t taken my house keys with me because I figured I wouldn’t need them since Edgar was inside. I knew he was asleep, but I figured he would wake up to come open the door for me.

There I was, knocking on the door, a couple of light taps at first, and then a few harder knocks since no one was coming to let me in. Still no response. I began banging on the door a little bit harder. I only had one hand available at the moment since I was holding the plate of cookies I had taken from Juan in my other hand, but I was still banging the door pretty hard. Still no response.

At this point I start to panic. My heart is at my throat now!

“Why is he not answering?”

“Something must be wrong!”

Now I’m just kicking the door, watching the front wall of my wooden house vibrate as I kick harder and harder. I’m also calling him on his phone and still nothing.

“There is no way… how is he not hearing this!?”

I hurry to the side of the house and start knocking on the window of the bedroom where I left him. I think I’m knocking, but I must have been pounding the window. SMASH! Glass bounces back onto my feet and I notice the top layer of the double glass window is now shattered. Still NOTHING.

I’m in full panic mode now.

“Something has to be wrong!”

I rush to the back door, pick up the shovel sitting next to the wall, and start jamming it between the door and the wall to get it open. All the while I’m now screaming his name just in case he is scared and awake inside now. I figure if he didn’t hear me kicking the door and breaking the glass on the window, he has to hear me going at the back door with a shovel. At this point he must be dialing 911, hiding under a bed, right? STILL NOTHING!!

I manage to pop the door open and run to where I know he should be.

There he is… lying down exactly as I left him.

And then, this final thought creeps into my mind.

“Oh, please be ok…”

I grab the cover swing it off his body and yell, “EDGAR!!”

He responds, wiping away the sleep from his face… “huh?”

Relieved, I just begin to lose it now.

“How are you not hearing all of this noise!?”

“Edgar what is wrong with you!?”

“Did you not hear the glass break!?”

“Oh my God!! How did you not hear all of this!?”

By now, I’ve just scared the poor sleeping boy who even at this moment is still not fully awake.

I try and compose myself and with the little dignity I have left I send him off to take a shower because that’s the only thing I can possibly think of to do at that very moment.

I can still feel the wrath of shame that came over me for having yelled at the poor boy who was only trying to enjoy his holiday vacation.

I think it’s safe to say I won’t be leaving the house without my keys anymore.

Bilingual Living: Why Language and Culture Matter when Parenting

hola! by Salil Wadhavkar juanofwords
hola! by Salil Wadhavkar

It’s no secret that I’m not the most structured when it comes to teaching bilingualism.  We’ve talked about it before, in past blog posts.  It’s not that fluency in English and Spanish for Edgar is not important to me.  It is.  For more reasons than I can explain, pero desde luego not the least of which is his own personal benefit in the future.  I’ve read a lot of the statistics.  I’ve heard and discussed the meticulous methods one can ensure a child becomes bilingual.  They are great, believe me.  But I wish I could be that disciplined and good about sticking to a plan.

The reality is I’m not.  And the more time I’ve had to think about it the more I’ve come to the realization that I don’t want to be.  The thing is the more we’ve stopped pushing and instead have let Edgar discover and learn Spanish on his own, as well as understand his own culture and identity, the more he seems to have embraced all of it.  Of course, we do have the added benefit that a large part of our families only communicate with him in Spanish.  And that certainly cannot be discounted as anything less than a HUGE HELP!

Still, whatever your method, I honestly believe there are not any right or wrong answers when it comes to teaching bilingualism and culture to our children.  The important thing is to do it and to do it because it will help them out more than anyone else in their futures.

And speaking of that, here are some pretty cool statistics from Univision that I’ve been aching to find a reason to share for quite some time now:

  • 62% of Hispanics between the ages of 18-34 have a high to medium cultural connection
  • 66% self-identify as Hispanic
  • 29% of the total Hispanic population are defined as Millennials (18-34)
  • 1 out of every 5 Millennials today is Hispanic
  • By 2020 that number will be closer to 1 in 4

This was also the main subject of discussion at last month’s Austin AdFed Hispanic Marketing Symposium, which I had the pleasure of attending and speaking in.

Their study carries a lot of other cool data, but the message that resonated the most with me was this one: That language and culture are less about defining what it means to be Latino and more about connecting and communicating with each other in authentic ways.

Who knows what that will mean for Edgar’s generation in the years ahead?

No, I was not compensated by Univision or anyone else.  I’m just kind of a dork when it comes to statistics and data about Latino culture and identity. 

Sorry, Kiddo. We Are Not That Cool!

we're not that cool parents juanofwords

In every parent’s life, there comes that moment when despite all of our best efforts we have to come to terms with facing the reality… well, of our reality.  It’s not a pleasant experience and very rarely do we get to choose when it happens.  Most of the time it’s at the most unexpected of times and in the most bizarre and/or random of situations.  ¡Ya sé!  Listen to me, the “all experienced” parent trying to tell you about how to raise your own kids.  I’m not.  I’m just as nervous and worried as the next parent.  How the hell am I supposed to know what to do?!  This is my first time after all.

Pero bueno, we have to give each other valentía.  

For me, this aha moment just kind of happened over the weekend.  Bueno, I’m probably making more of it than what it was.  But that’s just my way!  So there we were, driving to visit my parents over the weekend as is pretty customary for us.  I forget what we were talking about, but it might have had something to do with work or blogging, or vlogging – poor Edgar he has to listen to a lot of these conversations – when all of the sudden he asked “can I get a cell phone?”  Now, he’s asked this question before although it’s always been half kidding.  You know, the way a seven year old might ask if they can keep the phone that you just stopped using because you bought another one, not really understanding that without a service plan there  aren’t really a lot of frills to owning a phone.  This time though, he was serious.

I know because only recently have we begun to let him use our smartphones and other mobile devices on a regular basis.  I know because he started talking about “a phone with internet” and “so I can get on Netflix and YouTube” and all that other good stuff.  I know because his cousins have, and have had, the internet on their iPods, iPhones and other devices and have been teaching him about it even if they haven’t really realized it themselves.  Of course, pues desde luego como estarán pensando, this is pretty normal for his age and the times that we are living in right now.  What it really made me kind of start hyperventilating about was all the implications that a phone means.

It means that he’s going to “have to have” someone to talk to and text on that phone.  That he’s going to have to have “a life” of his own pretty soon.  That, yes, he’s moving on to another grade and another year closer to high school and graduation.  That pretty soon he’s not going to look up to us or listen to everything we say to him just because we’re his parents.  It means that pretty soon we’re going to stop being cool and he’s going to probably realize that we don’t always know everything.  That sometimes we’re just kind of winging it.  But worst of all, what that means is that the little boy who’s sleeping in the next room right now is going to eventually stop being our little boy.

He’s going to grow up!

That terrifies me.  To be completely honest.

Granted I know there are so many other parents out there facing much tougher challenges today with their own kids.  I don’t pretend to compare myself to anyone.  But en toda sinceridad how do we know?  How do we know that we are doing a good job?  How do we know when our kids are really ready for a cell phone or not?

We gave him the old “you have to prove to us that you’re responsible enough for a phone” routine… pero en verdad, I’m not really ready for him to have one.  Which kind of made realize something about myself too.  I’m not as hip of a parent as I used to think I was.  I’m actually pretty darn old school in fact.

Pobrecito, he ended up with parents from the 1900s instead of the new millennium!

Edgar Chose Selena Quintanilla Perez For His Social Studies Project: We’ve Got Material For That!

selena quintanilla perez social studies project juanofwords

Se los prometo that he made the selection entirely on his own!  En serio.  For reals.  No, but like for reals.  Yesterday when I got home the first thing Edgar told me when I got off the truck was “guess who I picked for my social studies project?”  I was a little confused and wasn’t entirely sure what he was talking about.  “Selena.  Selena Perez!  I picked Selena Perez,” he shouted excitedly smiling and looking directly at me to evaluate my reaction.

“You mean Selena Quintanilla Perez,” I responded slyly.

“I know… I forgot the Quintanilla part when I put her name down on the sheet,” he responded.

I’m not even gonna try to front.  My immediate reaction – ya saben in my panzota – was excitement!  Immediately I thought about how relieved I was that he had not said Selena Gomez instead.  Y’all know what I’m talking about.  There are actually kiddos walking around right now thinking that Selena Gomez is the biggest Selena there ever was.  That’s just wrong!

“Selena was named after Selena Quintanilla Perez, mijito!”  That’s always my reaction to such an offense.  The kids just kind of stare at me blankly like “what?…”

My brain started working, and churning, y dando vueltas y vueltas.  “I interviewed her widower last year,” I bragged to Edgar.  He didn’t really understand the significance of that.  Later on Anjelica told me too who Edgar had selected for his school project.

“You have that Selena doll,” she says to me.  It’s true I do.  It’s a collector’s item.  Don’t laugh at me!  “He can take it to school…”

“NOOOOOOO!!!!! Not my Selena doll,” I yell.  Then I kind of embarrassingly retract and explain more calmly and “logically” why there ain’t no chance in hell my Selena doll is walking out of the house and into a school full of curious and careless huercos!  Who knows what those kids would do to my 17 year old Selena doll that’s still neatly stored away in her original box.  I also have tons of magazines from when she first passed away that I collected.

ADM!  I am ridiculous!

Oh well, at least Edgar knows Bidi Bidi Bom Bom has absolutely nothing to do with Selena Gomez!

Now to make his social studies project Reina del Tex-Mex worthy!