Thursday, 6 December 2007

PU, nasty and other Americanisms

The trip to the States may have been confusing for me, but seems to have opened up a whole new world for Suzanne.

I'm talking beautiful fall leaves, playing in the piles of them, swings, slides, red tunnels on the playground, real taxis, her first Mexican food and of course lots and lots of English.

My little girl surprised me the first day there whilst crying from fatigue. My father asked her what she wanted and she said, at the top of her lungs between sobs, "I want Mommy!" I just looked at my parents and the world stopped. Did she really make a whole sentence?!

She also showed her strong will one night at a diner when promised pancakes, which I didn't order because she's chowed down on so much bread. When the food came, she fixated on my dad's wrap sandwich and repeated "ça, ça" (that, that) so I offered her some bread to which she replied, "no, cacake." She began shaking her head vigorously saying "no no cacake. cacake." I was not only amazed that she remember the word for pancake but that she was so decisive about it.

As the week progressed, Suzanne began saying s'more, please, apple (whereas she had been saying bapple), woof (instead of woo), sit down, PU (pronounced beeyo) which she says of course when we change her diaper and for the cats.

And to wrap the week up, at the airport she was eating a banana that she dropped on the floor. I picked it up and said "nasty" to which she scrunched up her face and said "nasty". We all cracked up laughing before I struggled to get through security.

Since we've been back she's surprised us by saying big when referring to food and herself, eat when I asked if she was hungry, hot when I put her in the bath, pretty for the sweater I put on her this morning, go when we stop too long in the stroller, girl, boy (not necessarily for the right gender) and pointing to strangers in the street saying "people" all unsolicited as well as identifying a round bread in a book as a bagel. She also has lots of new food vocabulary as well as Hanukkah vocabulary like dreidel, latke and even Hanukkah which sounds more like an Islamic call to prayer.

I should also, for once, mention her progress in French since I can't really ignore it anymore. She is making sentences beginning with "ça c'est.." (this is...) which she says more like "ca'ce". Interestingly enough, she still seems to say more in English than French. She also combines some words like water which she pronounces "waleau".

It still makes me a little sad when she frantically waves at strangers and says "hi" and no one answers because they don't understand her (or expect a little one to be saying hi and not coucou or bonjour). But I'm torn between telling her that they don't understand her and only sticking to English with her. I wonder if this is part of tough love, part of survival tactics she'll learn eventually, or just something she'll talk to her therapist about in 20 years.

PS She also says "uh oh sa...." when she drops something. Think about the title of the blog and you'll make the connection.


Deb said...

That little child of yours never ceases to amaze me! Such a sponge that one! I can only imagine how happy you were to hear her speaking so much English...especially in the US.

You know, I never really thought about our kids speaking in English to other Frenchies and not getting a response. Maybe that's something you would explain later on. Once she's a bit older and understands "English vs French" then she'll be able to switch between the two depending on who she is talking to. Though I know it must be hard to see people ignoring her now because they don't understand.

We need to have more English speaking playdates! =o)

Sarah said...

"waleau"--I love it!

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