Thursday, 24 April 2008

3 weeks and counting

The title of this post is a bit ambiguous since it could either refer to the 3 weeks we have til the move or the 3 weeks (ok 4!) before I have a 2 year old. In recent weeks, I've been far far away - somewhere between business trips and panic. So as not to focus on the first 3 week deadline, I'll have a look at the second and talk about Suzanne.

My fears of her not speaking English have still not been realized since she's really bilingual. I didn't know how it would happen, or if, but it has. For the past couple weeks, she's been putting words together and repeating entire sentences (as if they were one word): some more, good night, I love you, where'd it go?, happy birthday to you, oh no it fell! Chocolate Rain. She's also doing much of the same in French: tu as tout mangé?

She's also starting to use verbs and adjectives like nice, big, small, messy, raining, running, push. she seems to prefer the continuous tense. In French, she's doing much the same with words like bon, monter. (Those are the only ones I've actually heard first hand, but J tells me she's saying much more than that).

I can also see the influence of books - one day she grabbed But not the Hippopotamus and said "alone", a word we learned in Maisy Big Maisy Small. And the most exciting part of it all is that she is really distinguishing between French and English. A typical dinner goes something like this:

Me: Do you want some bread?
Suzanne: Thank you Mommy.
Jerome: veux-tu un peu de soupe?
Suzanne: Merci.

She continues to make up words, none of which I can think of right now, and is a really musician singing all the time: ABC, Three Blind Mice, and Happy Birthday. She can also fill in the blanks of nursery rhymes we often read. And she is constantly showing me "lots and lots and lots peoples" in the street as well as womans and mans.

And the coolest part is that I know she can do it in French too, but chooses not to with me. Isn't bilingualism so very cool? I just wish packing was cool too...


Elisabeth said...

I am convinced that you are doing exactly what should be done to be very successful at raising Suzanne as a truly bilingual kid. Keep on being consistent - papa speaks French, mommy speaks English. As one who totally failed at raising my child bilingual, I cannot provide much advise, just a lot of encouragement.

Sarah said...

Oh! This is so exciting! So many other parents have told me that their child's bilingualism just suddenly fell into place and seemed completely natural too. And Suzanne's not even two years old yet--amazing.

I'm going to link to this post from my blog since it shows such a big change in a short time (since your profile).

The Late Bloomer said...

Oh, it's clear you're doing such a great job with Suzanne! I do hope I will be able to manage and to do nearly as well... I can only try, I guess! I plan on working hard at it, but I don't know if I've thought it all through hard enough at this point... Before Suzanne arrived, were you already thinking about and planning on your language approach? I mean, with my boy we know we want to raise the baby bilingual, and he's insistent that I stick to English ALL the time (which I obviously agree with!) but I haven't planned it out much further than that...

You seem to have such a great pedagogical approach with Suzanne, and she has learned SO MUCH already! I'm always very impressed by how my sister-in-law's boy speaks to her directly in French and her husband in German, and how he distinguishes those people he should speak French with, etc... It's so impressive somehow! And just imagine, there are even little TRILINGUAL children out there!

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