As Ed and I put the finishing touches on Croissant's room, waiting for the kitchen timer to go off so we can take him out of the oven (he's supposed to be done baking today, but at Colorado's high altitude, you never know), I'm realizing what I may be giving up by giving him the gift of a second language from birth: the intimacy of sharing my native language with my child.
I was lining his books up on the shelf--old and new favorites--and couldn't help rereading the classic Goodnight Moon, one that my mother loved to read to me. It's so charming with its rhymes, its depiction of a quiet nursery as baby goes to sleep, its whimsy in saying "good night" to inanimate objects. Unfortunately, the French version of this beloved tome is leaden. It relies on word-for-word translation, losing the rhythm and the rhyme. It's simply not a classic in French, would never be a favorite in French.
Now, at nearly two years old, Carl doesn't seem to mind; he'll even ask for Bonsoir Lune by name over Goodnight Moon sometimes. Maybe this is a bigger deal to me than it ever will be to my son.
But I ache at the thought of never reading Goodnight Moon in English to my children. Will I really be able to handle speaking only French with them?