Lots of people grow up bilingual in this world, but many of us in the States (and even many of us in Europe, even though those in the States think otherwise) never get to watch a little kid learn to be bilingual. It is a pretty amazing thing to watch.
At the moment we are watching all the switches turn on in Firecracker's head and it is so much fun. We didn't really get to see this too much with Queenie because of her speech delay. She took a lot longer to start to speak and when she did she had so much trouble pronouncing that her learning wa a bit slower than others. She is doing really well in speech therapy, but watching her learn to speak better isn't the same as watching Firecracker learn it from the beginning.
It seems that Firecracker was born to talk. Seriously. The girl even talks in her sleep! The other day at 3am she shouted, "Quiero watch Dola (Dora, the Explorer)!" before falling back over into a deep slumber! Hilarious. Well, it is now. When I was awoken with a start at 3am I think I just rolled my eyes!
Firecracker will talk to anyone and will repeat all things. Say it with me Principe, "She repeats all things!". So we definitely have to watch what we say. And lately the switch of "mama says this, papa says this" has turned on. All of a sudden she will come to me and say, "Please help" then turn to her papa and say the same but in Spanish, "Ayudame, por favor". She still says "quiero" (I want) instead of saying it in English, but there are many other things that she will switch to back and forth depending on who she is speaking with. On the street she picks up what each person is speaking and change as many of her words as she can so that they will understand her. Her ears perk up when he hears kids "talking like papa" or "talking like mama." It is amazing to stand back and watch.
Between the two sisters it is fun to see them change from one language to the other with absolutely no problem. I get all giddy inside when I see it happen. It is fun to see that to them, two languages (or three) is just "their world". They don't know yet that it isn't like this for everyone. Although they are sympathetic when their cousins don't want to watch Dora like "at school" (in French) I don't think they understand that it is because their cousins don't speak French. Sometimes both Queenie and Firecracker have a preference on language (don't know the motive, they just do!) and I think they just see it as the same with their cousins!
With all the moving around that we will be doing in our lifetime it is fun to know that language will not be a problem for them, it will just be a part of them.