Saturday, September 22, 2012

wee laddie and lassie in the Colorado Highlands

You are a non-native speaker of the language you're raising your children to speak, and you live far away from the countries where it is spoken.  You know that the ideal way to learn any language is by complete immersion in it--just as you learned to speak your first language as a toddler.  But you can't offer that to your children, at least not right now, without much vacation time off work for you and your partner and no relatives abroad who could host you.

(Plus, with two small children, it can be an ordeal just to get your family out the door for a picnic in the park with all the necessary supplies--and that's just a two-block walk away for an hour-long activity, not a series of international flights to spend days or weeks in a new place!)

You--that is, I--I know that my family will travel to France, to Belgium, to Quebec, to Martinique, to Morocco some day.  But in the meantime, I will do my best to expose them to French and Francophone culture through books, DVDs, storytimes, and playdates.

And not just French and Francophone culture, for that matter!

Griffin and Gwyneth will grow up knowing that ours is just one of dozens and dozens of countries in this world--that some children eat noodle soup for breakfast, some speak three and four languages, some sleep under the stars, some take a boat to school, some don't go to school at all.

Unfortunately, my son and daughter will also have to learn that some children have to walk miles every day to fetch drinking water from a polluted pond, some are taught to use guns against others at the age when American kids are figuring out how to hold a baseball bat, that some children are born to mothers so young they are still children themselves, mothers who will go on to bear four or six or eight more--if they don't die in childbirth, that is.

But right now, with the kids at ages one and four, we can stay in the bright generalities of mountains vs. deserts, gigantic ocean mammals vs. bizarre marsupials, colorful dresses and towering skyscrapers and jungles and "Can you believe that some people like to eat chicken feet, or calf brains, or seaweed, or coffee beans that an animal ingested and then pooped out?"

Aaaaand we can take them to the Longs Peak Scottish-Irish Festival, the largest Celtic heritage event in Colorado!  No, it has nothing to do with French, but until I find, say, a West African dance competition or a Tahitian pirogue-carving camp or a symposium on Swiss chocolate around here, we'll take them to a slice of Scotland in the Colorado highlands.

now Griffin wants to toss cabers and joust too

Gwyneth, in her tartan sash, enjoyed the Scottish music so much that....

she asked a piper if she could join the band

Griffin bellowed "What Do You Do With a Drunken Sailor?" 

...before running across the competition field with wild abandon (in his kilt, handmade by Tatie Amy)

And they'll love it.


  1. Looks like a great festival... and what a view! Glad you got to have a break, even if it wasn't in France ;-)

  2. Love the sash and the post!