Friday, October 21, 2011

swimming through sleep deprivation and sweetness

Gwyneth brings such joy to my life that I don't even mind the lack of sleep and dearth of "me time" (much).  I do miss blogging, though, and just wish I did a better job of remembering all the cool things that Griffin says and all the brother-sister interactions.  Must start taking notes (or remembering where I put notes).

So rather than a coherent post about language challenges and breakthroughs, right now I'll just try for a stream-of-consciousness recollection of some of my children's (plural! still surprises me sometimes!) most memorable moments from the past month or so.

Gwyneth has already started to turn over, tummy to back!

Playing "Twenty Questions" with a three-year-old...

Griffin: Is it a mouse?
Daddy: No, I said it was an inanimate object, remember?
Griffin: Is it a dead mouse?

Griffin: Is it something that we all wear?
Maman: Oui.
Griffin: So it's not a toaster.

Smiling baby who never cries during bath time...must wash all the sour milk out of her hair every day...must change her milk-splorched clothes several times a day...but that just gives us an excuse to dress her in yet another fluffy pink or purple or flowered outfit with matching cap or ruffles on the tushie or teeny tiny booties or all of the above...she's the prettiest, spittiest baby ever.

Griffin at French storytime, reacting and interacting in his second language without any prompting from me as my heart swells hearing him call out "autruche!" (ostrich) and "regarde, Maman!" (look, Mommy) and "trois!" (three) and "je veux aller au cirque aussi!" (I want to go to the circus too) and as Gwyneth watches intently from the Baby Bjorn, swiveling sideways better to observe and listen, her head and hand still resting on my chest.

Lying on my back beside my son in his "big boy bed," baby propped against my bent knees, reading together at bedtime...Griffin singing and dancing and clapping in rhythm after he puts on his favorite CD...Griffin and Carl "playing" Scrabble (Carl making real words, Griffin making invented words)...when given a choice between watching a movie in English or playing French games on my iPad, he almost always chooses the latter...Griffin turning to his sister and telling her, "Gwyneth, je suis ton grand frere" (I'm your big brother)...encouraging him to speak to her in French by making my voice squeaky as if it's Gwyneth asking him questions that he can easily reply to in French...realizing that Griffin has thrown fewer tantrums in the past few weeks...thinking "Do I really have to go back to work soon?" and "How lucky, lucky, lucky I am to have kids like these and a husband like Ed."


  1. Hi S,
    I´m Dani from Spain, I really enjoy reading about how your kid´s speach evolves! I´m really looking forward to playing games like 20 questions or just maintaining a conversation with mine(he is only 18 months old now). We just had what I consider a great milestone in our kid´s development, but no one around here except my wife gets excited about it, so I thought I might write here to share how excited and amazed I am. I know that for people with older kids this may sound like far away, but here is what happended during our dinner time a couple of hours ago:
    MUM: (who normally speaks Spanish and sometimes some English) - ey, Dani (the kid) Qué es esto? (showing an apple).
    DAD: ey, Dani, What´s this? (with the same apple in my hand now)
    Ok, so first time he uses 2 words for 1 concept each one from each language. Normally he understands both words but uses the easiest one.
    Let´s keep going with the experiment:
    MUM: Dani what´s this?
    BABY: APPLE (right answer for MUM using English)
    We leave it there for a while and then DAD tries a trick,
    DAD: Dani, (same apple) qué es esto?
    BABY: he looks at me like something´s not right... and says APPLE!!
    So there it is. MUM always mixes and says a couple of sentences in English and other 3 or 4 in Spanish,so the little one has clasified her like the one able to communicate in both languajes WITH HIM, but DAD ALWAYS adresses the baby in English (I try to be as consistent as I can even though I´m not native so yes,I struggle a lot with idioms and phrasal verbs, but I´m his only English input so we can afford some minor mistakes...). DAD´s apparently been classified as English speaker and if I say something in Spanish (which I think was the first time, and won´t be happening much more...), he answers back in ENGLISH cause it´s starting to be our language!! I didn´t have much faith in this, I set a humble objective and getting him to be a passive bilingual would be just fine, but things like this and the fact that his utterances are now 50% of each language make me confirm that this could work and makes me feel so proud of him and so happy. I think it´s totally different from watching him ride on his mini-bike for the first time. This has a more special meaning for me. I only have debts to pass on to him right know so this is the only valuable inheritance that I can give him so far. ok, I´m getting too emotional (haha). Anyway, just thank you all for sharing your experiences, for making other parents feel that they are not freaks and for showing that this is not only possible but one of the most beautiful experiences that one can live. Thanks and keep posting

  2. Hi Sarah,
    So lovely to read about your continuing bilingual adventures with new baba Gwyneth joining Griffin, not to mention Carl! I'm really impressed how you manage to bring so much French into their lives without access to my sneaky cheat of an immersion school. It's great to see that with Griffin it is all obviously sinking in, you must be very proud about his French sentences!

  3. @Dani--Thank you for sharing your success story! As a non-native speaker of the language you're using with your son, don't you find it thrilling when he prefers to hear you speak in that one? (I sure do with Griffin!) Thanks also for your kind words. Hey, we might be freaks (an accusation I have faced from time to time ;) ), but it's not because of my insistence on bilingualism.

    I'm looking forward to posting your answers to my questionnaire--I know everyone will be quite impressed!

    @Omma--So good to hear from you! Yes, I'm quite pleased. (But maybe you could suggest to your kids' school director that they open up a branch in northern Colorado, please?!)

  4. Hi Sarah,

    I am a mum in the UK who is trying to bring up a son bilingually too!
    I speak French and Spanish but I am native English.
    I have been creating my own puppet based French classes for kids for the past two and a half years, and so it works out well for language play at home too.
    It is so good to know there are other parents out there who are doing this too!
    I have a blog where I share games ideas and activities for teaching simple French at home. I will also have a some free videos on offer very soon featuring Tonton the French speaking Tortoise...take a look!

  5. Bonjour Heidi! Welcome and thanks for commenting and for sharing your creative, inspiring website and ideas! I'm looking forward to reading through your archives and stealing some of your activities and resources. And I'm definitely adding you to my blogroll!