Nine days in Wisconsin, a laid-back, friendly, midwestern state that offers myriad lakes, green plants everywhere you look, and lots of beer, dairy products, and deep-fried food. And lots of extended family members--my parents, several aunts and uncles, and cousins and second cousins galore--most of whom were quickly enchanted by Griffin's two-year-old antics.
(No wonder--this is the same boy who made complete strangers smile indulgently at 1:30 am on the train between concourses at Denver International Airport when he exclaimed "Wheeeee!" as the train started, continued with several "chugga-chugga-chugga-chugga choo choo"s, and then remarked with a grin "we going fast!")
Our trip to Green Bay, Three Lakes, and Madison was very relaxing in that lots of people offered to help keep an eye on Griffin. So I read and read, told and listened to stories, played games, exercised, helped cook, made my increasingly-popular white sangria, and even took a four-hour-nap one afternoon.
What I didn't do was make sure Griffin heard lots of French! Outside of our routine, away from most of our books and CDs, with less one-on-one contact with me, and surrounded by anglophones, he spoke more and more and more English, even when I made a point of carefully phrasing my questions and comments to him so that he could reply easily using a lot of the same vocabulary and grammar. (For example, to my "Est-ce que le bateau est grand ou petit?" he would respond, "That's a big boat" instead of "Le bateau est grand" or even simply "grand.")
I'm not worried that we've fallen down a slippery slope and it'll take weeks for him to start doing more French with me--but his increase in English is definitely noticeable, if temporary.
On the other hand, my mother has studied French, and we could see Griffin's surprise when he discovered that Grammy could read him the French books just as well as Maman could! That was fun.
And then in Madison, we visited with three other Francophile friends who have kids just a little younger than Griffin: Arielle, who is bilingual because her mom is French and who is using French with their son (while her husband understands very little, just like mine); and Molly and Bob, who met twenty years ago at French camp (and got married three years ago), who sing French songs to their daughter and speak French to each other when they don't want her to understand.
However, we spent much of our time with them at a very noisy bar-restaurant where the kids had fun dropping pool balls in holes and watching them roll, so I don't think Griffin even realized that most of the other adults were using French here and there.
But maybe in a couple of years we'll meet up again, and their kids and mine will sing French songs together! Now I've just got to work on my cousins....