Dear readers, I'm pregnant! Fourteen weeks in.
And admidst my worries about taking care of an infant while parenting a three-year-old, I remind myself of this: the one thing that I know I won't struggle with is immersing this new baby in French. Unlike during my pregnancy with Griffin, I speak French every day while "Unicorn" grows in my belly. Unicorn hears the cadences of both languages in utero.
When Unicorn arrives, I won't have to scramble to learn a new lexicon that encompasses diaper blow-outs, onesies, pack-n-plays, bassinets, and bouncy chairs.
I won't have to force myself to carry on yet another unnatural-feeling monologue in French wherein I narrate everything I do for an uncomprehending baby who only cries in response, because I'll be holding meaningful conversations in French with a preschooler about what's going on around us, a preschooler who understands most of what I tell him (even if he chooses to ignore some of the directions).
I won't be trolling the Internet during middle-of-the-night nursing sessions--okay, so I probably will, but this time it won't be to buy French books and toys and CDs and DVDs on eBay, because we've got a substantial collection already. Unicorn will have several shelves of French books awaiting his/her arrival in his/her room. (Assuming, of course, I can manage to transfer all the stuff from my home office into the basement and transform the office into a nursery by July, that is.)
On Monday mornings, I'll take Unicorn and Griffin to French playgroup, and every other Friday we'll attend French storytime, so they'll both grow up knowing other kids ages 0-5 who speak French.
Griffin and I know and love dozens and dozens of songs and comptines that we will sing to Unicorn--I won't have to worry about expanding my repertoire because I get bored with the same ten songs, like I did with baby Griffin and baby Carl (my nephew).
I haven't been to France since 2005, when I supervised a group of US students taking classes in Grenoble for a month, or to a Francophone country since 2007, when my husband and I spent a few days on the small Caribbean island of St. Martin (on the French side, though almost everyone we met spoke English). We haven't had the time or the energy or a compelling reason to take a trip to a French-speaking country with Griffin. However, I'm really jonesing to be surrounded by French speakers and a different culture, so it's conceivable that Unicorn will have accompanied us to some Francophone place somewhere by the time he/she is Griffin's age!
So, while the idea of bringing another baby into this world makes me very anxious for a lot of reasons, I'm not nervous about being a non-native speaker bringing up baby bilingual: it worked for Griffin and me when I was starting from scratch, so it'll work for Unicorn, Griffin, and me.
Right? Right??? Please tell me j'ai raison!