Operation "Joyful French in the USA with soon to be 3 kids" Jun 20, 2019 10:45:04 GMT 9
Post by Elise on Jun 20, 2019 10:45:04 GMT 9
About a year ago, I joined the Bilingual Zoo, but personal issues made me forget about it and focus on other things. I had mentioned at the time that I wanted to start a thread in the "Track Your Progress" part of the forum. So here I am.
A little background: my husband is American, I am French, we have two girls, C1 (6 years old) and C2 (3 years old), and we live in the US. My husband and I both work full time, with long commutes, and our girls are going to a ML school/daycare. I am the sole provider of ml, my husband understands better than he speaks but can at least speak basic French. This past September, I enrolled C1 for 3 hours of French class on Saturdays.
C1's level in French is quite good in my opinion: no American accent, good vocabulary, but she still has some English sentence construction, and definitely needs to be reminded to speak in French. I spent a lot of time and effort on her language development. She also benefited from summers spent with the ml grandparents and her older cousins since she was 3. Those trips have made a huge difference, and I might have given up without them. They cost a lot of money because I have to bring her and come pick her up, meaning an extra round trip USA-France each year just for that. Worth every penny if you ask me, especially when I see how much joy it brings to my parents.
With C2, different story. Since she is the second, I assumed things would be easier with her and I was wrong. After all, I thought I was not the only ml speaker at home anymore since big sister could speak. I admit I did not nearly spend as much time growing her bilingual ability as I did with C1. C1 did not seem interested in speaking ml to her. To make the matter worse, C2 was not particularly interested in speaking, be it in ML or ml. Because she was clearly behind the other kids in her daycare class (without any obvious reason), I worried less about developing the ml and focused on just developing language as a whole. And of course, the ML took over very quickly.
She understands the ml fully, but when asked to say things in French, she would make this adorable shrug and say that she could not speak "francais". She would not get mad or anything, just give me that look that meant "I am just not able, sorry, you're going to have to give up, mom". As of today, she has increased the amount of ml words she uses in her ML sentences. Anyway, I think things are about to change because both C1 and C2 just arrived in France for a 5 week vacation with their grandparents. I facetimed with them today, a couple of hours after they had arrived, and I was very please to hear C2 tell me, half in ML, half in ml, that she spoke more ml. I think this trip is going to boost her confidence!! Crossing my fingers. Sadly, I am not with them, and this leads me to the title of this post: I am starting my 8th month of pregnancy and could not travel. So yes, baby 3 (a boy) is on its way (and no, he won't be C3 in case you wonder ). So now I am working on an action plan to avoid making the same mistakes with this third kid that I made with my second. And I have about 4 weeks worth of free time to perfect my plan, which I will detail tomorrow or in the next few days. I made a few changes those past few weeks already and saw significant improvements, so I am more motivated than ever. I actually think this is my very personal way of "nesting"!
Just for a little laugh, we took a 1000 km road trip last week and I implemented that only ml could be used in the car. I am proud to report that C2 pronounced her first, somewhat complex, ml sentence. Sadly, it meant "Did someone fart?". However, in ml, it included a lot of words: "Est-ce que quelqu'un a fait un petou?" Quite complex, so I forgot the meaning, focused on the perfect grammar and congratulated her.
To be continued!