Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Don't talk about Daddy's present in front of him. Oh, wait...we can if we're speaking French!

My carte d'anniversaire from Griffin, featuring a drawing of me, him, and a fleur magique
At age four, Griffin grasps the concept of celebrating special days with presents for the person being honored.  He likes to decorate cards and knows not to announce the gift to the recipient ahead of time.  (Usually, that is--for my birthday, he told me, "Mommy, I made you a card for your birthday and I hided it in Daddy's office.  It's going to be so beautiful!")

the best gift ever: a shriek of glee when playing catch with my baby daughter
Yesterday I mentioned that Father's Day is fast approaching, and in the car Griffin started asking me what we were going to make for Daddy.  As always, I replied noncommittally in French--and then realized that Ed wouldn't understand much of what we were discussing!  So Griffin and I continued the conversation in French, sharing gift suggestions and ideas, while his Daddy drove on, oblivious.

Griffin: zooming through life
I think--I hope!--that situations like these will show Griffin some of the benefits of knowing another language.  It's not that I want him to learn to keep secrets in French, but rather that he sees it as a special connection between the two of us (and, soon, between him and his sister as well).

Griffin is used to having a little sister around now, but he doesn't really play--or even start conversations--with her yet. She sure likes watching him, though!


  1. Great! Can he not understand French? We wouldn't be able to do this in my house... Hubby speaks near fluent French and although my Portuguese is bad (productive -speaking), passive Portuguese is good and especially child-related Portuguese!

  2. Nope--he ruefully refers to himself as "hopelessly monolingual"! He is understanding more and more of the child-related, everyday vocab and commands, though.

  3. Hi Sarah, I'm so excited to have found your blog! You have so many great links and resources listed on your sidebar, I think I will be busy for the next weeks just browsing and exploring. We are raising our almost 3 year old son trilingual since the day he was born. (English, German and Thai) He is a late talker but he does understand all three languages, right now it seems equally well. He responds almost completely in English, but I whenever there are other Thai or German speakers around, he will pick up a few more words. I grew up bilingual myself, first Thai and German, then learned English when I was 10. I took French for 4 years during high school but I think I was too busy being a teenager than to care about learning yet another language, so my knowledge is pretty weak :)My biggest challenge is teaching our son both of the "foreign" languages - Thai and German. My husband speaks English only, so I am curious to see how everything will work out as our son gets older.
    Many greetings from Florida,

  4. Hello Phanit! Nice to "meet" you. I so admire your trilingualism and your efforts to raise your son in the US with an English-only husband. Bravo to you!

    I bet that he will start using more and more Thai and German as he gets older. Have you been able to join (or start) any Thai or German playgroups, or at least socialize with families with children who speak those languages?

  5. Hi Sarah, thank you for stopping by my place as well, nice to "meet" you also! I haven't written very much about teaching our son German and Thai on my blog but I surely will one of these days and I will add tags when I do. I think I just haven't found the time to gather my thoughts and write about it since I'm still new to the blogging thing. I haven't started or joined a Thai or German playgroup, if you have any sources for Florida and suggestions, I'd be grateful! I have a two Thai friends with younger children here but they are not focused on speaking Thai with their kids, so that isn't a learning opportunity, and I haven't spent time looking for German resources other than just friends coming to visit. There is a Thai temple in our area though that offers Thai summer school, so we already are committed to sending our son there during the summer once he reaches school age. I am sure that will help a lot! It's great exchanging thoughts with you!

  6. Hello Sarah, I totally agree with you on the "special connection" thanks to the language you share. I believe this is one of the great joys about parenting in a 2nd language. This deserves a whole blog post, not sure if you have already written one about it...

    1. Salut Franck--you are so right! I have written (most recently) about being a non-native-speaking-parent here: