Thursday, 12 July 2007

Fruits of my labor...hehe

Finally, results.

Suzanne has been social since birth and has been trying to express herself as soon as she realized she could control her voice. We've also been avid readers since she was a month old.

We read in the bath, in the kitchen, in the rocking chair. We need books all the time, my theory being that reading is key to learning a language (this is based on my own learning and teaching experiences as well as theories I read while doing my masters). But, the real reason behind all the reading is that she doesn't hear much English. I'm a working Mom so she hears French all day with the nanny. Our nanny is great by the way and has asked for a list of words in English so she will be sure to understand what Suzanne is asking for.

Not surprisingly, one of Suzanne's first words in either language was book, pronounced more like bout.

Often times, I wonder if I'm going to become one of those babbling, repeating crazy people from all the labelling, repeating, and constant chatter I've done with Suzanne even before she could lift her head. In the past, this has also been a point of contention with my husband.

So, the other night Suzanne was in the bath puckering up and talking to the fish when she took the bottle of bubble bath and said, as she bounced on her knees, "Mama bubba". Yeah! She's starting to string words together to make herself understood. I screamed to my husband, did you hear that? Then I opened the bubble bath and blew some bubbles. She took her little finger and said, "bubba pop," and popped the bubble. Then, she said, "mo' bubba". More bubbles! And then took a huge dump in the bathtub...

My greatest fear with Suzanne's language (after her being a semi-lingual) is that she won't learn enough English since, when you add it up, she isn't exposed to English that much between me, the Muppet Show, my well intentioned French family who try to speak to her in English, some conversations on Skype and my friend B (also knows as Auntie B) whose very English accent probably seems like a totally different language to Suzanne's ears. But I guess there's a reason it's called a mother tongue.

I'm so thankful to my parents for giving me both the bibliophile gene and the OCD gene which lets me babble and repeat without a second thought (just hope it doesn't get worse with age).


The Late Bloomer said...

This is such a great post! I enjoyed reading about what you do with little Suzanne to share your love of reading with her. I hope to do the same, if I am ever blessed with children of my own. It's really important to me as well, as my Mom was always so great about reading to us.

I worry too about the language thing, because I know it must be hard to make time to use English and to expose your children to it here, when they're constantly surrounded by French. It must be a constant challenge -- and once they're in school, I imagine it gets tougher, because then they want to use the language that all their friends are using!

But you seem to be rising to the challenge really well so far. Keep it up!

MadameK said...

That bathtub part slayed me.

Thanks for that!

Anonymous said...

Suzanne and Felix must be about the same age. Felix has a little bit more exposure to English since my husband is already Franco-American (my MIL is American)so he has the two of us. But it is true that he spends a good chunk of the say either at the halte-garderie or with the babysitter. At this point (18 months) he is saying fairly equal amounts of words in both languages although he does a lot of mixing. He will say "c'est un car" for example. Our plan is to go the states every summer. While this means possibly sacrificing our other vacation times for awhile (at least until he is old enough to stay with his grandparents by himself) this is what my husband did and he is perfectly bilingual. His parents used one parent/one language and it worked out great! You are doing a great job - keep reading!And repeating!

Plus your bath conversation sounds great!

MadameK said...

Update: I made my husband read this post and he to was slayed by bathtub pooping.

Double thanks.

joy suzanne said...

So cute! You know, I worry the same thing about my (future) kids not having a good level of English. Good enough for this former English-major bibliophile, anyway...

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