Sunday, December 30, 2007

No bébé yet!

Now that the holidays are (almost) over, I can return to regular blog posts! My recent absence from the web doesn't mean that Croissant showed up early--it has all to do with the fact that Christmas shopping, cooking, card-sending, and quality time with family and friends has taken precedence over spending time on the computer. Oh, and since I'm 37 weeks pregnant, keep in mind that the OB appointments, various baby prep classes, visits to prospective day care providers, and tasks to get Croissant's room ready seem never-ending! Add in a nasty cold that has left me snotty and lethargic, that good old pregnancy insomnia, my job at the library, and the fact that my hubby Ed and I just organized and cleaned the house for our annual open house/board game party to which 40+ people were invited, and, well, you all understand why I haven't posted lately.

Remind me not to be this pregnant during the holidays ever again!

But I can say that now the pregnancy and the incipient Croissant feel very, very real. He kicks vigorously every night--less so during the day, or maybe I stay busy enough not to notice--and my tummy continues to expand. Now that Ed has painted the nursery and we have a lot of the gear we'll need (thanks to showers and the fact that many of our generous friends have finished procreating and given us their kids' hand-me-downs), we're physically ready for him (if not quite mentally). We've also read lots of books and interrogated friends and family about what we can probably expect; we took every class that the hospital offers except "How to Prepare Your Pet for Your Baby" (and frankly, if we had even a goldfish, we probably would have signed up for that one!).

My parents have purchased their plane tickets to come visit and help out in February. (They live in Green Bay, Wisconsin, which is a 20-hour drive from us here near Boulder, Colorado, so we won't be able to get together regularly.) My younger brother is also planning a visit in March to come meet his new nephew. And since Ed's family lives so near us, we know they'll give us a lot of support! My parents-in-law have even offered to take care of the baby one day a week, which means he won't have to spend much time in day care when I go back to work part-time at the library. So things are falling into place for us!

(Stay tuned for a post about helping Ed's parents learn enough French to be able to speak both languages with Croissant!)

I'm due January 23, if I haven't mentioned that before here. As Ed and I hear stories about other women due around then who have started having contractions, already gone into labor, or had emergency C-sections, we realize that Croissant could show up any day now. We've both started leaving work with the knowledge in the back of our minds that we might not be there the following day, so we're getting good at tying up loose ends. (Of course, he might take his sweet time and not want to come out until after my parents have arrived!)

Curious about what we will name him? So are we! After months of agonizing, we've reduced the potential first names down to four: Arthur, Griffin, Milo, and Roland. My grandmother is extremely concerned about this and asks me several times a week if we've "solved our little problem." But we figure we'll know when we see him. (My mother-in-law had a good suggestion: Go to the back door and holler his potential full names into the yard and see what sounds most natural, i.e. "Roland Brooks X, you get back in here right now!")

Here are the criteria we used to narrow the field: No name that I immediately associate with a former student (good-bye, Nathaniel) or boyfriend (good-bye, Steve); no name with unpleasant connotations for either of us, for that matter (good-bye, Pierre, one of Ed's former bosses) (and the "Cedric" I liked so much was out because one of my mom's former students named Cedric turned out to be a murderer); no name that has been among the top 100 boys' names in the past few years (so long, Daniel); no one-syllable first name that would sound too brief with his one-syllable last name (good-bye, George); nothing that has obvious make-fun-of-me-on-the-playground possibilities (good-bye, Lysander); no names that already belong to someone famous or infamous; his name has to have a standard spelling (we're thinking "Milo," not "Mylau") and not be too esoteric (Leander) or ethnic (arrividerci, Mateo); his name should be reasonably pronounceable à la française when I speak French to him (au revoir, Finnigan) but not be too French for northern Colorado (not a chance, Gauthier) (although Griffin and Milo don't really have French equivalents, a lot of our other choices did, like Oliver-Olivier and Peter-Pierre); and none of my family's punny suggestions.

Whew! What an important decision!

(If he were a girl, it would be easy: we decided on "Anne-Claire" months ago.)

Happy holidays from the three of us. May the New Year bring you joy and many marvelous adventures!


  1. Wow, you've been busy! You're forgiven for not posting!

  2. Salut!

    I've been following your blog for a while, and think your committment to raising bilingual children is amazing. Great work, keep it up!

    One question for you...

    Spoken and written French can be quite different (with always dropping the 'ne' etc). If you actually said 'je ne sais pas' in France, they'd never think you were French - you should roll out a one word 'ch'saipa'!!

    If you were raising French speaking kids in a French speaking country, they'd learn both forms (written in school, spoken everywhere else). However, I am curious as to how you will cover this in a non-French speaking environment. Will you teach them to speak normal French and then later to write proper written French?

    I really admire what you're doing, and I am certain that in later years, both Carl and votre petit croissant will greatly appreciate their French in the future!

    I'll continue to follow your blog with great interest.


  3. Bonjour Seumas,

    Thank you! Are you by any chance raising a child with more than one language, and if so, could I talk you into letting me profile your family on this blog? If so, please email me at babybilingual (at) gmail (dot) com!

    You ask a good question that I don't have a definitive answer to yet. I hope to expose him to as many different speakers of French as possible, which would mean that he'll hear lots of different registers (formal from books, informal from movies and conversation, etc). In that case, he'll get used to both "je ne sais pas" and "chaispas" and all the others. (Where I'll find all those varied speakers and sources of input here in Northern Colorado I'm not so sure about!)

    As far as literacy goes, I will probably want him to get the hang of reading and writing in English before trying to explicitly teach him to read and write in French; at that point I'll have chosen a curriculum and will probably follow it pretty closely.

    Any suggestions?

  4. Sarah, I cannot believe that croissant will be in your arms in less than a month. Time flies! And the name criteria *laugh*, I thought we were complicated enough when looking for Louise's name.

  5. Oh, and nice smooth belly, by the way!

  6. 'Lut!

    I've just e-mailed you. I think your strategy is probably the best one - expose them to as much French as you possibly can.

    I am bilingual in Scottish Gaelic and English, but did almost all of my education in English. I have learned the majority of my Gaelic just by listening and repeating.

    So although I can speak Gaelic, I have no idea how to spell a lot of its vocabulary. It can be quite embarassing when you're writing to someone, as you sometimes have to restort to such simple vocabulary (or even worse, restort to English!)

    Leis a h-uile beannachd,

  7. Wow! You HAVE been busy! But nothing prepares you really for it. I really like Milo, but I totally agree with your approach of picking when you see him. With my pregnancies, very few names actually "fit." I knew when the right name hit. It just FELT right. lol I can't wait until you have your little one! He's bound to be adorable! With you as a mommy, I don't know how he couldn't be! :)

  8. Sarah, You're name discussion cracked me up! We went through a lot of the same dilemmas when choosing Ronan's name. Hobbs doesn't exactly work with 'ethnic" names either, although I loved Mateo too! That's why we went with Ronan, which our "prenoms francais" book said was "breton" for the saint, but which most just recognize as Irish. If you're taking votes, I vote for Arthur. I liked Cedric, too, but all the Cedrics I had in class last year ruined it- same with Maxime.
    Anyway, I'm sure you're so excited! So bummed that we missed you in FC, but such is life... Everyone's probably told you to "sleep now because you won't later"... which is true, but it's not as if you can stock up on it! Ronan's not a great night sleeper, but I've heard of many who are, so I wish you luck.
    Can't wait to hear about Croissant's arrival! Best of luck!
    Bises, Dory

  9. Santi--Thanks! I can't believe he'll be here so soon either.

    Seumas--I think your situation is pretty common--I've met many people who speak a second language but haven't learned to read and write it. I've been exposed to some Scottish Gaelic myself after spending time with a dear friend from Ayrshire and her family. Her dad would sing songs and recite poetry in that tongue, and I was once so inspired to hear more of it that I attended a church service in Scottish Gaelic during a visit to Edinburgh a few years ago!

    Netta and Dory--Merci beaucoup! I'm glad you both can identify with this drawn-out process of choosing a name. Thanks!

    Oh, and Netta--good luck in Italy! I hope you and Arick and the boys will pick up lots of Italian. I'm sure your background in French will help!

  10. I should say that I can read and write in Gaelic, but nowhere near as well as I can in English. Still, I've been in full time English language education since I was 5, and I'm now 25! I've only had six years of schooling in Gaelic. So it's no surprise that I'm better at literary English.

    That's really interesting that you have friends in Ayrshire - which part of Ayrshire? I have Gaelic speaking relatives there.

    Also amazing that you went to a Gaelic speaking church in Edinburgh - which church was it? I'm the Assistant Minister of a church in Edinburgh (St Columba's Free Church). We hold Gaelic services every so often, though we have more French speakers than Gaels in the congregation!

    I hope you enjoyed your time here in Scotland.

    A h-uile beannachd leis an leanabh ur agaibh!

  11. Coucou!
    J'attend avec impatience l'arrivee du p'tit croissant!
    L is making great improvements with her French, it's pretty exciting! So are littleL and G, now that I'm back on track. I've decided to take 1 day a week and try to go solely in French. We'll see how that goes. Now that Lily is responding more in French, so are G and littleL. Seeing how much of an effort it is _now_ getting my olders fluent in the language makes me that much more determined to speak only French to E.

    Big excitement ahead for you. And nice tummy!

    A +


  12. sigh. . .
    "s" on the end of "attend", s-t-p.

  13. Seumas--Well, go figure, I didn't actually write down the name of the Edinburgh church, but the program I saved says "Eaglais Ghaidhealach Nam Manach Liath Agus An Tolbooth," and in my album it's next to pictures of Greyfriars. Does that help? I remember following along in the bilingual hymnal and trying to figure out which English words the Gaelic corresponded to. Oh, and my friends are in Barassie.

    Amy--My "ventre" and I thank you for the compliment. I'm thrilled to hear that the kids are responding more to your speaking French to them! (Dear readers, Amy, who is fluent in French, is homeschooling her urchins--you can read their profile on the blog.) I may need to hit you up for an updated profile now that you've got four kids and are even more motivated to speak French to 'em! I suspect you'd have a lot of advice to share from the trenches. (And if I think French isn't terribly useful in Colorado, I bet there are still more Francophones and Francophiles here than in Mississippi!)

  14. Bonjour,

    Yes, that's Greyfriars Church. They hold a weekly Gaelic service. Were you able to make any sense of the bilingual hymnal? If you were, I am very impressed. Gaelic is totally unrelated to English, the grammar/orthography/vocabulary could not be more different.

    Barassie - that part of coastal Scotland is just lovely. How did you get to know folks from Ayrshire?

    A la prochaine

  15. I finally read your naming criteria. It is exactly the kind of agonizing that we are going through trying to name our petite brioche (it is a girl after all)! Ash is a difficult last name that immediately eliminates some favorites...Marion is definitely out. I hope that when we're at 37 weeks we have it narrowed down to just four! I look forward to your big announcement.

  16. Oh, girl's names are so fun! Based on what you told me last week, you've got some great choices picked out. Can't wait to hear what y'all decide on.