What wise words Adam! They have really cheered me up, thank you.
Well it seems as though I just keep having new 'challenges' thrown at me. The latest is that we found out today that my son has somehow won the lottery and we have been attributed a place for him in a public creche as of September. The Parisian dream. It is very cheap and 200m from our apartment. The problem is that obviously this means giving up the ml2 nanny, as well as the opportunity for my son to attend the creche at my work (once he learns to walk), which is very multicultural and would have exposed him to some ml1 and ml2.
So we will make appointments with both creches and take it from there. I keep changing my mind. At the moment, I'm leaning towards accepting the public spot and asking the ml2 nanny to pick him up early and also pick up my daughter from school. So my son would have ML all day at creche, a couple of hours in the evening in ml2 with the nanny and my daughter, and then ml1 with me when I get home. So he would miss out on the experience of the creche at my work, which many parents love, but maybe have some more 'robust' ml2 exposure.
Sometimes having choices is so hard! I feel as though I've won a prize I'm not sure that I want.
Yes, you're right, Raquel! I just feel as though this is all such a 'responsibility' sometimes! Overall, it definitely brings me so much happiness so I'm not complaining. And as Adam has mentioned in his blog and book, it also leads us to spend more quality time with our children.
My daughter's ml1 is good enough now that I sometimes forget that I have to work on it too. I would like her to have the same level as a native ml1 speaker her age, and while she's very good I don't believe she is as fluid as a native speaker would be. She also never talks to herself in ml1 (sometimes in ml2), and she occasionally forgets vocabulary. She also has some slight pronunciation problems - "th" is one that I noticed the other day. She is aware of it and keeps trying to say "thing", but she hasn't gotten it yet. That's quite normal for her age I think, though.
I think the 'solution' is more reading. I need to go back to the library to borrow some new books.
I'm so sorry to hear about your dad, Marie. I bet he was so proud of the life you have built and your beautiful children. It must have been very special to see the shooting stars. I'm thinking about you and sending hugs across the ocean.
Well I think we have consensus on this issue 😀 - looks like everyone is in agreement that I should keep my daughter home on Wednesday mornings, at least for as long as it doesn't entail any extra cost. It really does seem too good an opportunity to pass on, having access to a ml2 speaker for free! I was thinking that it may actually be good for my son, too, because he will hear my daughter speaking to the nanny in a two-way conversation.
This decision has helped me feel more positive. I had a minor panic last week about the whole ml2 situation, feeling that I could be doing more. I think I needed to remind myself that this journey is supposed to be about fun and opening up possibilities rather than constraint. Knowing that I have a viable plan for the next 5 months at least has helped me to feel more relaxed and confident!
Thanks Amy! I’ll check out Spotify when we get back to Paris.
We are renting a car right now for our long weekend away, and it is the new type without a CD player, so I am a bit lost. 😂 So I'm looking for something I can download quickly for our several hours on the road tomorrow, that doesn’t require an internet connection (once downloaded, of course!). Ideally I’d like something a bit like Raffi (in English). Unfortunately most of what I've found when googling is very synthesized, which gets tiresome quite quickly for us adults.
We listened to a lot of Carlos Gardel today, which was wonderful, but to be honest I don’t think ANY of us are really hearing the language - just the amazing atmosphere of the music!
I will definitely look up the other songs/groups you mention too! Funny re Despacito - it was a Chilean group from memory, so I wonder whether my daughter will remember it as she certainly heard it a lot in taxis etc when we were living there!
It sounds as though you're making such good progress, Amy! Are you feeling confident about how it's going?
I laughed re the bedtime stories. For my daughter, when she was first born the book we read was always the same ML one (read by papa), because I was on maternity leave and read lots of ml1 (at the time we didn’t have a ml2!) books to her during the day. Then after I returned to work, we moved to one day a ML book read by papa, the next day a ml1 book read by me (we read at other times most days too, but this is the « official » bedtime story). Up until that point it was always the same ML or ml1 book, as I wanted to install a routine that included the same book. When she turned 1, we started asking her to choose a different book every night, but she has to alternate between ML and ml1 (although now we also allow ml2 if she wishes).
With my son, I have learnt my lesson about getting as much ml time in now, so we read the same book to him every night but this one is a ml1 one.
You've actually made me think that I could even ask the nanny directly to work with her on the things they are doing in school, but in ml2. Such as counting etc. I am pretty certain this nanny would be quite open to that sort of thing as she is very pedagogical in her approach.
Amy - yes I'm definitely leaning towards that option, and your post has cemented the idea. I’m pretty certain that as you say, they aren't really doing much on the Wednesday morning - and four hours extra of ml2 will surely be more valuable. Especially as it’s actually an easier option for me, organization-wise! And the thing is that for the next 6 months at least, there will be no extra cost as we have to pay for the nanny anyway (she has agreed to take my daughter at no extra cost, which is very nice indeed). Thanks for your input as it’s making me feel more confident in my choice!
Mayken - sounds like a good plan. It’s great that you're taking at least a small trip to ml-land! I can understand not wanting all your holidays to « have » to be about going home though. I have always found it rather frustrating that my « big » yearly holiday always has to be to go home - due to the cost and distance it is not somewhere we can pop into regularly. At least now that we are in Europe we can more easily travel to the UK and Spain - although of course that also comes at a cost as without family there, we have to factor in accommodation etc.
I’m mulling something over in my mind at the moment. My daughter can go to school on Wednesday mornings but it's not compulsory and they do « activities » - the regular teachers are not there, just the assistants. So far I have always sent her but I’m wondering now whether it wouldn’t be better having her stay home with the nanny instead. I was sending her mostly because I had understood that the activities were in ml1, but I suspect they are mostly in ML (especially as the official ml1 teacher isn't there - there is a ml1 assistant but she also speaks ML to the children). It’s also only really two and a half hours given that lunch starts at 11.30 (the school day finishes at 1pm). If I do have her stay with the nanny, it will be a lot less stressful for me on Wednesday mornings (and hence Tuesday evenings) to get her ready etc. And she would have that extra input in ml2 (4 hours extra!). But at the same time, would it better for her to be at school, doing the artsy activities they do on those mornings (at least the ones who come)? I’m really not sure what is the most worthwhile for her general academic development (as I write this, I realise how ridiculous it seems given that she is 3! But I guess it’s something that may continue until the end of primary, so worth thinking about I suppose!).
Well the week finished and it’s back to school next week - but Tuesday is a public holiday so we are taking Monday off and have taken a little (cold) beachside holiday. I was really wanting to go to Spain, but unfortunately due to the transport strikes here it was just too risky - so we are in ML-land but at least spending more hours every day in ml1!
I feel a bit frustrated with myself - am kicking myself for having sent my daughter to the holiday programme rather than keeping her home with the ml2 nanny. I had thought that having a day filled with activities and socializing with other children would be the best, but I’m now pretty certain that quiet time at home, in a ml, would have been preferable. The positive side of the programme was that I got to have lunch with her, and she met a few children who spoke (in addition to ML) ml1 and ml2 (there was a little concert on the last day and I realised lots of the children were ml2 speakers - in fact, one of the main educators was too - I asked him briefly whether he could speak to my daughter in ml2 and he said he was, so that’s something - but of course it wouldn’t have been much of a sustained conversation as there were 24 children in the programme, so not much time for 1:1). So it wasn’t all negative. But I do think an entire week at home with the ml2 nanny would have been better for many reasons (not to mention less stressful for me!).
I’m trying to take this as a learning experience for summer. Then, we will be dealing with 8 weeks’ holiday. Aside from time spent with grandparents and us parents (non-negotiable, of course!), I’m now planning to consider this prime ml2 time. During the school year, I can really only fit ml2 time in on Wednesdays and a bit on the weekend. So I figure that I will use the summer to prioritise ml2. This should actually also turn out to be more relaxing for everyone, and cheaper for me (as we are already paying for the nanny for our son, so there would be no extra charge if my daughter stays home with her for several weeks). I think this may end up meaning one week of a holiday programme in ml2 (there is one run during the first week of the holidays only), then two weeks at home with the ml2 nanny, then 2-3 weeks on holiday as a family (maybe travelling to a ml1 or ml2 country), 1 week with the grandparents, and then another week with the ml2 nanny. So 3 weeks total with the ml2 nanny and hopefully an extra week at the ml2 programme. I think 4 weeks intensive ml2 will be good...hopefully two consecutive weeks at home with a nanny (and a little brother - so they won’t be able’ to do major excursions or anything around Paris) won’t be too much.
What is everyone else planning for your children's summer holidays?
Amy and Raquel - what lovely and thoughtful comments!
Time and place does sound like a viable option, as does organising something with the creche. In fact, I have a friend who is on the creche committee - I will ask her about it. Maybe I can at least get the list of other parents and identify those who may have a specific interest in ml1 (I assume all...) and ml2 (I assume at least several) and contact them to see if we can request something specific. If not, perhaps I will look into half-days and have a ml1 or ml2 nanny come pick up my son early at least a couple of days a week. Thanks so much for those suggestions!
I sometimes wonder about this because my daughter heard no Spanish at all until she was two weeks shy of 12 months, and by 2 years it was the only language she was speaking despite the exposure in terms of numbers of hours being less than for English and French. Not that I doubt the veracity of the research at all! I just find it interesting. I suppose that even if neural connections are lost, our brains are still very flexible beasts!
Amy - you're right that things are different with the second child. I'm not sure that I chat more, as I'm so exhausted 😂, but I'm definitely correcting mistakes I made with my eldest. For example, I used to read books in French to my eldest when I was on maternity leave as I thought it would correct an 'imbalance' (as I was at home alone with her), and I'm certainly not doing that this time around.
Regarding nursery rhymes, you motivated me to put them on again - my daughter and I had some fun dancing to them earlier, while her brother watched!
Regarding having an ml2 nanny to pick my children up from school, that would be ideal. My issue is that I work on the other side of town from where we live and where my daughter's school is. My son will have a place in creche at my workplace. So it will not be possible to have one person pick them both up (I don't think), at least until he starts school. So I'm going to have to find some way to organise things in the intervening two years. I will keep thinking!
Raquel - I didn't explain fully that the holiday programme my daughter is attending is at my work (for the children of people working there), where there are very few native ML speakers. So while most of the children will speak ML because of school, I'm quite sure that very few, if any, of them don't speak at least one other language at home. This is why I was a bit surprised when my daughter claimed that the other children spoke only ML. That was on Monday; on Tuesday morning I ran into a ml2-colleague (last time I saw her, she was living in another country in Latin America, so we were a bit surprised to see each other!) and it turned out her daughter was spending the week there too. I also heard several parents speaking in ml1 to their children (one of whom had a ml2 accent). Then on Tuesday evening my daughter told me that she had made friends with a boy who spoke ml1 and ml2. So I felt a bit better. Still, I decided to keep her home today to spend the entire day with the ml2 nanny, as a sort of mid-week break and jolt of exposure. I wish I'd thought to do that beforehand! At least now I know it's an option for part of the summer holidays. I have to admit that I'm getting a bit nervous about her vocabulary getting very far behind that of other children her age in ml2, so I want to think of options to stop this from happening.
You're right about practice making perfect, Amy. Maybe I just need to give him space to get used to the slower pace of a 3-year-old's mind.
We have now done one week with the ml2 nanny for my son - and me back at work. I just realised consciously that now I will have to make a real effort to ensure he gets enough ml1! As up until now I was on maternity leave, this was obviously not an issue. So now I'm going to remind myself to read at least 1 book every evening in ml1 just for him (his sister obviously has more sophisticated books).
The nanny seems very good and speaks very clearly, which is wonderful. I'm conscious that he will be going to ML creche when he can walk (so in 6-12 months) and thus this time in ml2 is very important for him as a basis. He basically won't be speaking by the time he starts creche, so I really hope that this time with a ml2 nanny will pose a valiuble foundation to him.
My daughter came back from one week with her ML grandparents. There is a definite dip in her command of ml1 (slipping more ML words in), but I believe it's very temporary and will be gone in a few days. She is at a holiday centre this week, and I was a bit disappointed because I thought the environment would be more bilingual ML-ml1 and maybe ml2, but my daughter tells me the other children speak only ML. Quite frankly I doubt this very much, in fact I am 100% sure it's not the case, given the population who sends their children to this holiday centre, but I suppose it means that the staff are only communicating in ML. It's a shame because several bilingual children she knows normally attend this same holiday centre, but they all went last week instead of this week. Anyway, the good news is that I can join her for lunch every day. So I was at least able to spend that extra time with her in ml1. In order to make up for the fact that she had no ml2 exposure this week, I also asked the ml2 manny to come around for a couple of hours tomorrow. Normally it's not foreseen that he would come during the holidays, but two weeks without any exposure makes me a bit nervous! So I also read some books in ml2 yesterday and today as a sort of 'electric shock'.
I have also decided to spend my metro commute each day reading either my ml1 news magazine or my ml2 fashion magazine. The ml1 magazine is for my general culture, as I don't need ml1 practice, but the ml2 one is for 'practice with some fun'. I am glad to have decided to use this time in this way as it is very hard to find time to read when I am home with the kids!
What's on your mind right now? Just type and hit "Enter" to share it here!
Angela: So sorry for your loss. She was a great woman. I hope you feel a bit better. Kisses from Spain.
Apr 22, 2018 23:34:43 GMT 9
Mayken: We visited a Loire Valley château yesterday. Our daughter got a kids' activity booklet and we parents got the regular tour booklet in French. She asked for one in German (our ml). When I later asked her why, she said "Because I'm a German-speaker!"
Apr 23, 2018 23:23:36 GMT 9
Nellie: Haha love it Mayken! The best thing is - she is right!
Apr 24, 2018 5:45:09 GMT 9
Mayken: My daughter's ml homework for this week included baking a cake - there's a cake in the story they read, and after each chapter there are questions and tasks, and the current chapter has the step-by-step recipe. She's to bring the cake to school too.
May 1, 2018 23:48:48 GMT 9
Amy: What a nice original homework! Makes such a change from standard homework, and I wouldn't be surprised if kids remember more from it! I like your bilingual school Mayken! Lucky little girl, and lucky Mummy!
May 2, 2018 0:00:43 GMT 9
Mayken: ml cake homework update: About half the class brought cake (8 out of 15), not all of them were the cake from the book recipe, but my daughter's was the most popular. (Maybe because we added food colouring and topped it with chocolate icing and smarties?)
May 4, 2018 5:58:10 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Cake is definitely my favorite kind of homework!
May 4, 2018 11:28:51 GMT 9
Jana: One of the best parts of having kids in bilingual school was getting Mother's Day cards in two languages! (With less-than-perfect spelling in both!) Ha!
May 15, 2018 9:16:08 GMT 9
Amy: (Twice) Lucky you Jana! So nice to read exciting pieces of news like yours!
May 16, 2018 5:46:25 GMT 9
Mayken: I still have that to look forward to, Jana! Mother's Day in our ML country is two weeks later, and the ml teacher goes along with that date. (It was last Sunday in our ml country.)
May 16, 2018 5:58:11 GMT 9
Flir: Adam, uh oh. Time waits for no one. I'm very sorry to hear that. Stay strong man, your kids are looking up to you to give them as much as your parents gave you once. Best wishes.
May 24, 2018 20:11:03 GMT 9