I am in a decision moment here and could use some opinions.
I am Brazilian, hubby American. We live in USA (very rural, no other Portuguese speaking person within hours...).
It was supposed to be easy: hubby speaks only English, I speak only Portuguese, baby learn both. Things were going well.
Hubby and I met an Ukrainian teenager through a mission and adopted her. So she arrived home when DD was 3 months. Problem was that she already spoke Russian and Ukrainian, and was brand new in English, so teaching her Portuguese was not an option when she came home. Also, I returned to work full time, so my time alone with DD when I could speak Portuguese only to her finished...
And my older daughter used to feel left out when I spoke to DD in Portuguese. So, I started talking English when older DD was in the house. But as consequence, my younger one lost all her Portuguese.
Now she is 20mo and other than few songs, can't understand or speak Portuguese. I am also pregnant again. expecting for Jan. So I thought of hiring a native nanny/au pair to live with us. That way, the two younger would hear Portuguese all day.
This is my "fear". Right now, our DD is in a day care that is fine. I don't love it, but is the best in the area. There is a spot for baby in there (saved). They have a waiting list. As I said before, we live in a rural area, with no other au pairs or international people. Not many partyign oportunities. So lets say I hire an au pair, she stays 3 months, hate the area and leave...
By that time I will have lost my spot in the day care and will have to find someone new (which scares me a lot). BUT if I stay in day care, chances are my girls will never learn Portuguese (which for my family in Brazil is a HUGE deal). Also I Would love to give the girls some more one on one attention (which does not happen in a day care with so many other kids)... BUT again, their day care is still very good. I'd say the best in the area.... Ideas? imput?
why are u making the language divide?
it is rude in society to speak to someone in a language the rest of the group doesnt know.
so why should it be any different in the family?
why cant all ur 3 kids learn portuguese?
see you cant live in fear and worry what if....
when that happens you figure out what to do.
but yes i would say teaching language at that age is very important. for ALL 3 kids. the aupair can also talk to your oldest in portuguese and she can learn.
language is HUGE. dont underplay its importance. for any of your children.
dont focus on english. u live in teh US. there will be a lot of chance for htat.
instead work on your portuguese NOW. with both your kids. and dont wait for the aupair before you start.
without language the brazilian side of your culture is lost.
Is your eldest daughter interested in speaking Russian and/or Ukrainian with your younger child? If so, perhaps you're on your way to a trilingual household for all. Start speaking Portuguese to the little one again. And perhaps enrolling your eldest daughter in Portuguese lessons would be a good idea. With your native fluency complementing a home study course, it should be possible for her to pick it up relatively quickly, if there's interest.
The reason I did not speak to my older DD in Portuguese was that she was already 14yo when she came home, and we were told by psychologists that it could impair attachment. Focus was on attachment so we should all speak the easiest language for her.
She seems interested in learning Portuguese and I have purchased Rosetta Stone. We have also talked about maybe spending a month down in Brazil but not sure if it will be financially possible
I was going to suggest Rosetta Stone too - I've heard great things about the program.
Re: child care - I would suggest looking into the nearest Brazilian/Portuguese community and checking out things like the churches, ethnic associations, etc in those neighborhoods and seeing if you can place an ad for an older Portuguese speaking caretaker for the children. Someone older might appreciate a rural setting more than a younger person. Some of these places might also be able to hook up your eldest daughter with Portuguese speaking pen pal her age which would probably help with her studies as well.
If you allow TV, maybe some Portuguese language videos would be helpful or have music playing in the background - music really helped reinforce the language with my daugther. Do you do a separate bedtime routine with the younger girl? Maybe you can begin doing that completely in Portuguese - chatting during the bath or teaching her the alphabet, counting, etc, reading the bedtime stories in Portuguese, etc. Hopefully, your older daughter will pick up the language quickly and you can begin speaking it more at home with all of the children.