Monday, 30 January 2012

Max : blabbermouth at 30 months

Over the weekend, we were invited to an American birthday party : L turned 5 and she invited Suzanne and Max to her party. Max and the other littles ones ran crazy most of the time while the bigger kids did fun games with the animateur. At one point, I said to my friend that this was proably the first time the kids' all realized that they each spoke French. But we agreed that they would probably still continue to speak English together because they always have (we've all known each other since the kids were tiny and usually get together without our French counterparts).

As we were leaving the birthday, I told Max to wish L a happy birthday. So he said, in his big loud voice, "Happy Birthday L!". And one of the parents looked at me and said, "Max can talk? I mean, I've never heard him speak." I was agast. I mean, Max not speaking? He's a regular chatty cathy (or the boy version of that). After the party, we went to A's house to let the kids play a little. Max was playing with 6 year old M who was showing him the bongo drums (oh boy something to hit!). Max said to her, as she put them on the desk, "put it on the floor." M turned to me and her mother, "He can speak!".  And I began to realize that Max is actually kind of reserved...outside of his close circle.

At 30 months, Max is a blabber mouth. As my dear husband says, "il remplit l'espace sonore" (he fills up the sonor space). And does he...Not only does he have a deep voice, but he is constantly blabbing about something or other to the great dismay of his sister who can't get a word in edgewise. There is one recurrent sentence at our house at the moment and it comes from Suzanne, "Max, I was talking! waaaaaa!" (that last bit is crying from frustration).

Max has no problem going between languages, but he favors French unlike his sister at the same age. Max is constantly singing songs from the crèche and talking to himself in french, whereas Suzanne used to play by herself in English. But, he speaks to his sister in English. Before putting Max to bed the other night, I told him to say goodnight. He said, "Bonne nuit Papa. Goodnight Suzanne."

He definitely has a slightly non-French lilt to some of his French, but he doesn't insert English words into his speech in quite the same way Suzanne did. I've heard him say things like "mon monster" instead of using the French monstre. But it's rare. As with Suzanne, he overlays his French with some English grammatical structures. For instance, he says "Abel papa" in French, using the structure of the English possessive "Abel's papa" instead of the French "le papa d'Abel". He also uses English adjective and noun order when speaking French like "bleue voiture" instead of "voiture bleue".

All in all, I am very proud of my son's progress and so is anyone who hears him speaking, in French or in English. His speech is "très bien" in French according to the director of the nursery school, especially for a bilingual boy (since those are two factors that can delay speaking). And his English is great. He knows most of his colors, can count to 11 (skipping over 5 through 7) and can express himself with or without tantrum. So to those who think my boy is quiet...tell me that at 5:19 AM when he comes into my room and says "time to get up Mommy," as he turns on the light and the radio. Or when he says, "I love you to moon and back" (quoting one of his favorite books, Guess How Much I Love You).

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