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My Baby was Born with a Tooth

 Maya has been waiting a long time for this day to come. Tonight she lost her first tooth! And while this is an epic milestone in a child's life, I had to remind her that she didn't actually loose her first tooth tonight. She lost her first tooth the day after she was born. After being induced at 42 weeks, and having 25 hours of labor end in an emergency c-section, I had many surprises the night Maya was born. My first surprise was that she was a girl, because we had been referring to her as "Panchito" for all of my pregnancy. My second surprise was that my recessive genes had prevailed and she had blond hair and blue eyes. And my third and greatest surprise was when the medical team informed me that she was born with a tooth! Approximately one out of every 2,000 to 3,500 newborns come into the world with at least one tooth, and that was Maya. Teeth that are present at birth are called natal teeth and they are relatively rare. Natal teeth are different from normal tee
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Lost Voices: Where to find Spanish Speakers in a Hospital

Mateo had a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy on Wednesday at Boston Children's Hospital in Waltham. We made this decision after much deliberation, but for our poor four-year-old who had never slept through the night due to his enlarged tonsils, we hoped the surgery would greatly improve his quality of life.  While he played with a Mario Donkey Kong toy set, we spoke with multiple staff people about his imminent procedure. As the unofficial representative of our family in these situations, I did most of the talking and consent-form signing, but Francisco was there supporting both Mateo and me.  We discussed the procedure with the preoperative holding nurse and she explained that when it was time for the surgery, Mateo would be wheeled away into the operating room where he would receive anesthesia by mask and then have his IV put in. I thought he might be nervous in the operating room without us, so I asked the nurse if there were any Spanish-speaking members of the surgical team. I t

At What Age are Kids Aware of Racial & Ethnic Differences?

My Guatemalan husband and I have two white-passing children, who we are raising to be bilingual and bicultural. We've only spoken to them in Spanish and we have made a concentrated effort to instill within them a sense of pride in their Guatemalan-American heritage.  A few years ago, the kids and I were out driving in the car. I don't remember where we were going, but it was daytime and just the three of us. We were driving down a road we travel often, right down the street from our house. I stopped at an intersection and a big beautiful church with a playground sat on the corner.  Little Maya looked out the window and asked me in Spanish, can we go play at that playground? I told her no we couldn't. She responded, "¿Es porque somos guatemaltecos?" My heart dropped at her words. I quickly reassured her that we weren’t able to play at the playground not because we were Guatemalan, but because we weren’t members of that particular church. But it was a harsh realizat

Multilingual Mindfulness Webinar

Promote academic engagement by supporting emerging bilinguals’ social and emotional development in the classroom while building their language capacity. Participants receive ready-made materials and exemplars of gatherings, physical & mental energizers and a collection of tier 1 strategies to use in their learning environments to promote SEL development.  “ Multilingual Mindfulness, ” is a workshop created for MABE ’s 2023 annual conference, Juntos Podemos #MABE2023 Presenters Simone and Mae have worked together to support emerging bilinguals for the past 12 years in Framingham Public Schools. They started at Fuller Middle School, (Simone in 2002 and Mae in 2011) and moved to Cameron Middle School in 2015 and 2016 to start the ESL program there. They have experience providing ESL instruction for WIDA levels 1-4 and have collaborated on writing curriculum in ELA, ESL, Social Studies and Science. They are passionate about culturally responsive teaching, multicultural education, and

Reflections on Immigrant Life and the American Dream by a New Citizen

  Buenos días estudiantes de sexto grado. Mi nombre es Audelina Barrios, and I am a former student of Fuller Middle School. Soy de Guatemala, y viví mis primeros trece años de mi vida en mi tierra natal, pero desafortunadamente perdí a mis padres cuando tenía 12 años. Mi hermano y yo fuimos huérfanos por un año hasta que tomamos la decisión de empezar nuestro viaje hacia los United States to meet our oldest siblings.  In August of 2014 we finally arrived in the land of our dreams, the United States. During our first 4 months in the US, we lived in New Jersey with my oldest sister, Rosa, and went to a school where ESL didn't even exist. I was paired up with the only Latino in the school y sin saber una palabra en inglés. I felt like an outsider because I had no other friends and like I wasn't even part of the school system.  In January 2015 my older brother Francisco and his wife, Mae, adopted us and we moved to Framingham. My first school in Framingham was Fuller Middle School

Toddler Morning Schedule in Spanish

Do you struggle to get your toddlers ready and out of the house on time in the morning? The past few morning in the Barrios house have been absolutely terrible. Maya usually wakes up early with me, but I let Mateo sleep until the last possible moment before we need to wake him up to get to school and work on time. This worked for a while, but this week we have left the house in tears.  Since this is the kids' first year apart during the day, they miss each other so much. They want to play with each other in the mornings instead of getting ready, so I tried to think of a way to keep all of us on track.  In order to help build their independence and organizational skills, I came up with a morning schedule for us to follow, with words and images. Then I placed a Maya copy and a Mateo copy in a clear dry-erase pocket and hung it in a central place by the kitchen. Now the kids know exactly what they need to do  in order to get time to play with each other before school each morning. And

How to get your baby or toddler to sleep in 9 minutes

Sleep is a very important commodity in our house. My kids are like me and they need their beauty rest, but also just like my husband in that they never just laid down to go to sleep. They needed to be wound down, with a specific bedtime and nap routine or there was no chance.  Very early on in Maya’s life (at two months old) we began a sleeping routine with scheduled naps and a 7pm bedtime. The routine was bath (when applicable), book, nurse, bed. Keeping to schedule was the best way to keep her well-rested and when little brother came along, I put him on the exact same schedule so that they were aligned. This meant that starting when Mateo was two months old they both took an afternoon nap from 1-3pm daily and Mami got some much-needed rest time herself!  There was one element to Maya’s sleep equation that made every nap time and bedtime a success: one specific song. When I was nervously awaiting her arrival in my last month of pregnancy and had difficulty sleeping myself, I started l