Monday, June 15, 2009

Saludos from my Bloggerhood!

Unknown Mami & Baby

Saludos from Unknown Mami! First let me start off by saying how thrilled I am to be guest blogging at N.E.O. MOMS; it's my first time guest blogging, so be gentle.

It's an honor just to be asked, but in this case it's an absolute thrill because it appears that Charlotte has chosen a nice cross-section of bloggers to guest while she is away, getting as she so delicately put it "shitfaced." Perhaps, I am the token Latino blogger. That's cool. I'll say it LOUD, I'm brown and proud!

I LOVE diversity. I'm all about diversity. I love diversity so much that I live in the diverse city of San Francisco, where I am raising a beautiful little girl, "Put Pie" with my husband. Being in this wonderful city is fantastic and I'm excited that my daughter will grow up being exposed to so many different cultures, so many different view points, but being here presents some challenges for me as a parent.

I grew up surrounded (more like inundated) by family. My mother is Mexican from Mexicali and is one of 13 brothers and sisters and they begot children, which begot me many relatives. I was born and raised in California, but grew up speaking Spanish because that's what my family speaks. It wasn't until elementary school that I learned English. After many years of schooling my English is now better than my Spanish. I actually worry that I am losing my Spanish.

I consider myself bi-cultural and I am aware that culture is learned. I learned my Mexican culture from my family and my American culture from our society at large. I love both my cultures and I want to pass them on to my daughter. Seems easy, right? I wish.

You see, I have no extended family in San Francisco and I am the only one who speaks Spanish in my home. Things I took for granted as a child and just absorbed on a day to day basis like language and customs can no longer be taken for granted. Everyday I have to remind myself that the only way my daughter will learn Spanish is if I consistently speak it to her. Sometimes I start off saying something to her in English and I have to repeat it in Spanish. We have a few children's books in Spanish and I'm constantly on the look out for more. Lately, I'm seriously considering stalking the Latino nannies in my neighborhood just so I can find other people to speak to my daughter in Spanish.

As far as customs go it's also a challenge. My husband is not Latino; he is half black, half white, and full of Aloha Spirit having been born and raised in Hawaii, which makes our daughter multi-cultural. He is all for me teaching her Spanish, but every once in a while there is resistance to certain traditions. For example, being Mexican, I celebrate Christmas on the 24Th. We have dinner and then I insist that we stay up until midnight to open presents. My husband prefers to open presents after a good night's sleep on the morning of the 25Th. But I love my Christmas memories from childhood and I'm not willing to let my daughter grow up without this experience. The compromise is that we do both: we stay up 'til midnight, open some presents, then go to bed and open more a few hours later. I can live with that.

Sometimes, I feel like I am not doing a very good job of exposing my daughter to her Latino heritage and I desperately want her to feel proud of her background and draw from it. My mother asked me if I was going to teach Put Pie Spanish and a part of me was hurt that it wasn't just assumed I would.

When my mother came to visit she saw me interacting with my daughter and said, "Esta niña va aprender Español*" as a statement not a question, it made me feel good. What makes me feel even better is when I look at my 9 month old and say, "Beso, dame un beso**" and she leans forward and gives me a big sloppy baby beso. She is learning!

Well, there you have it, just a small glimpse of me as a Mami because I am definitely a Mami and not a Mommy.

Again, I'd like to thank Charlotte for letting me share my thoughts with you. It's been so nice visiting and if you are ever in my bloggerhood please stop by, you'll find and Unknown Mami who is always thrilled to have company.


P.S. Charlotte, there is an award for you on my blog. Yay You!

*This little girl is going to learn Spanish.
**Kiss, give me a kiss.


Charlotte said...

Loved it!!!

I think it is absolutely brilliant to mix up the tribes. My children are (my side) Irish, English, Dutch, Scottish, Swedish, (husband's side)Russian, Polish, and German. I converted to Judaism so my kids are being raised as Reform Jews but extended family celebrates Christian holidays in a secualar way. My husband's family is East Coast Jew and my family is 7th generation California white trash. Put Pie and my children will rule the world.

I like your Xmas compromise too, that sounds like a party!!

Helen McGinn said...

Imagine bumping into you here! ;O)

Nekidduk said...

That's a great blending! My ex's family is hateful and have very little contact with my son who is half black, half white. They're hateful because I'm white and they're very racist. His mom actually told my mom that her bloodline ended with her own children because all her grandchildren are mixed. I'm constantly worried about giving him the opportunity experience his african-american culture though his dad isn't at all concerned about making that happen. Your post reminds me that it is possible and to keep trying! Thanks! Daphne

jennifer from pittsburgh said...

It's tough to balance everything, but you seem to have a handle on it :) Great post!
This guest blog gig was fun, wasn't it?

NYC Mama said...

Great post, Hermana. Great post.

patti said...

I am employed at a South Bay Spanish immersion preschool and applaud any family who pursues bi-lingual education. What a gift to give your child!