Monday, 19 November 2012

Welcome terrible 3s.

We got out of it lucky...what we made up for in lack of terrible 2s, we are now suffering through wit hte terrible 3s. And they are terrible.
Since school started in September, Max has been a bit difficult. He is still a sweet, cute and very entertaining little person. But he is also a total pain in the ass....especially around 3 in the morning.

We tried talking to him but he still comes upstairs to our room because he can't find his pacifier/his stuffed animal/has a runny nose/wants me to take his CD player out of the room/ etc...and last night we had screaming and kicking because we refused to go downstairs to "help" him find his stuff.

Besides the sleeping though, everything's on target. Max is still speaking with an accent in both French and English. One of Jerome's friends actually put his finger on it : his cadence and annonciation in French are purely American (not German like we thought). And in English, he just has a slightly French twang.

But still, I never imagined that my kids would still be speaking 99% English to me at 6 1/2 and 3! And I never imagined that they'd still LIKE speaking English and want to learn more!

I no longer keep a language journal for either of them, which I sometimes regret because they come up with some amazing expressions, but they speak so much that I couldn't possibly record everything they say.

Suzanne is starting to read in French and trying to transpose her French reading into English. But we're not pushing the English reading. It will come. At the moment, I am constantly correcting sentences like, "what is it like pasta" which comes from the French "c'est quoi comme pâte". And yesterday, I heard her say "it's find" as in it's good or satisfactory so I found myself explaning the difference between when something is good and something is found. She insists on correcting me when I say "saw" like "Mommy, I sawed it".  She also takes pleasure (I can tell by the twinkle in hereye) at correcting my French and her especially her brother's English.

Max, being 3, is still taking a lot of liberty with both English and French, saying a lot of "yaourt" as the French say when refering to lyrics of a song that you don't know all the words to so you make them up.  And Max is also effusive with his language which can be very sweet or not. It's extremely sweet when he says things like "I like you so much that I love you." And not so sweet when he furrows and brow and says "I'm very angry!" and throws himself on the ground.

But the most interesting part of their bilingualism is how different they are, which shouldn't surprise me but does. Suzanne continues to breeze in and out of each language, code switching without a problem but also inventing words and interposing structures (interlanguage) while Max code switches at the drop of a hat and never would think of creating his own vocabularly. If Suzanne doesn't know how to say something in English, she says it in French. If Max doesn't know how to say something in English, he just doesn't say it. I'm hoping that Max's stubborness is more linked to the terrible 3s than it is to his personality...but I'm not holding my breath.


cmoi said...

Two kids are never alike, even the bilingual ones! My oldest has a real Frenchie accent in English even though he was the one I didn't put in school until he was 4, and only for 1/2 days! My other son who started in school before he was three has an almost flawless U.S. accent. But I hear you on the "interposing structures" - our favorite was Mathis saying "c'est dans là!" (It's in there). Of course it is. And while Mathis rarely mixes languages, our older son Dawson has earned the nickname "Franglaisman" around the house! He is SO lazy. Whatever the easiest word to find in his brain is, that's what comes out. Luckily this is only at home! Good luck with Max at night, never easy to stay coherent and do the right thing at 3 in the morning!

Reb said...

thanks for the comment. It is reassuring to know it's all "normal"in terms of language development. Max's nights are better...depending on the night. And I'm getting there.

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