I’m Glad I’m Vietnamese, Mommy

Ready for Tet

I’ve noticed recently that I’m speaking less and less Vietnamese to the kids. Sure I’ll catch myself sometimes and revert back to Vietnamese, then I feel guilty for not trying hard enough. Yeah, yeah, it’s unnecessary mommy guilt and my desire to be an Asian overachiever. Still, I worry if I don’t try harder, the kids  will miss out on an important part of their heritage.

Earlier this week during dinner, Sophia announces, “I’m glad I’m Vietnamese, Mommy.” My heart swelled. She beamed. Then her face fell as she confessed that she thinks she’s forgotten a lot of her Vietnamese.

Not missing a beat, I declared that my sister and I would only speak Vietnamese during dinner. Her face lit up again. Then we tested her by asking her the Vietnamese names of her food and utensils. She remembered much more than she thought she did.

I’m so freaking proud of her. At the ripe age of 6, she’s happy, confident, and proud of who she is and of her heritage. And for her to recognize that she might be forgetting the Vietnamese language. Lately I feel like I’m barely keeping my head above water with regular mom duties that focusing more on the Viet langauge hadn’t even crossed my mind.

Thanks to Sophia I’m reminded that the most important thing I can do is to speak Vietnamese to my kids. They need to hear it as much as possible. I need to speak just Vietnamese and not a mix of it and English.

Now I just need someone to smack me everytime I speak to the kids in English instead of Vietnamese.

How do you remember not to mix your languages?

Isn’t she cute rocking her Vietnamese áo dài?