Wednesday, January 14, 2015

neither here nor there, ici ou là, acquí o allí

Sometimes carving the time out to read and write about raising my children bilingually is easy, familiar, fun, like slipping a spoon into soft-serve ice cream, each new idea and discovery and resource and online kindred spirit a colorful sprinkle that I devour.

(My husband is continually astonished by the number of websites I can have open simultaneously--but I can't close a page until I'm done thinking about it!)

Other times, carving out time to blog is the equivalent of scraping sheets of frozen ice off my car in a Colorado winter, a millimeter at a time, until I decide it's not worth it and just walk wherever I was headed (or more likely, decide the errand wasn't that urgent and go inside and make a new cup of tea).

my favorite gift to give this year--I love this book as much as my kids do!
You'd think that I'd know by now that for me, the month before Christmas (and several weeks afterwards) tends to be the latter.  Decorating, buying and wrapping and shipping presents for everyone, designing and sending cards, coaching the children through their handmade gifts, making my own handmade gifts, figuring out and following through on tips for those who have earned them and end-of-year charity donations, digging all the special once-a-year recipes and awkward appliances out of storage, plus all the shopping, holiday-party-and-church-service-attending, entertaining, traveling, hosting, and the packing and/or extra cleaning that traveling and hosting entails, not to mention working my paid and volunteer jobs, of course, plus the feeding, bathing, dressing-in-clean-clothes, cajoling-to-do-homework-and-practice-music, breaking-up-fights-between-siblings, scrubbing-sharpie-stains-off-the-dining-table, lulling-to-sleep that has happen, every single day, with small children….

small, beautiful children, to be sure
…all of which, fortunately, brings with it lovely quiet moments with family in front of a glowing tree decorated with memories, boisterous joy from happy kids on vacation, connecting with friends and relatives far away (I always leave their holiday cards up till spring break), cathartic sob sessions about friends and family who are gone, and a very good excuse to eat mountains of cookies and rivers of melted cheese.
Christmas Eve tradition inspired by my year in the Alps: raclette (melty cheese grilled tableside and poured over potatoes and ham)
Thus, blogging doesn't happen very often for me in December!

And it probably won't in January, not just yet, because I've fallen so far behind at work, and I still have a pile of Christmas New Year's cards to write and mail, plus thank-you notes, plus a massive pile of decorations and ornaments and wrapping supplies in the basement to organize and hide for the next eleven months, but right now, this very afternoon, I have carved out 1.5 hours to check in and tell you what blogworthy stuff is on my mind.

Like the successful completion of Carol's and my first French class for kids at Grandrabbit's, followed by our being hired for a new class this semester, accompanied by the worry that the manager isn't doing enough to publicize it.

Bricolage (arts and crafts) in French class!  
And trying to rework my weekly lesson with a five-year-old private tutoring client, whose dad is French, whom I want to challenge more while still keeping our time together fun for her.

Or how about the new games I've discovered or developed to enhance Griffin's and Gwyneth's French at home, the fantastic books we've been reading together, but also my reluctance to push Griffin to read and write more in French at home (he gets cranky about it after 7.5 hours in school every day).

And, oh my goodness, speaking of school, how freaking awesome it is that my kids are learning Spanish--really understanding it, even three-year-old Gwyneth with 11 hours of preschool a week.  Griffin is even writing one- and two-page narratives in the past tense, sprinkled with transition words, dialogue, and clear explanations of why the event he's describing was ¡fantastico!

And how freaking scared I am that the Spanish they and their friends are immersed every weekday in will supplant their French.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
Fruit and cookies for Santa on the potty chair.


  1. You're a great mom encouraging your kinds to be bilingual. As for opening multiple websites, you have a point there. As long as you are there to give some time for French learning, there's no need to be scared about Spanish taking center stage. It may for a time, but living with a mom who encourages French learning is a lifetime learning process that they will certainly appreciate.