Wow....is it really a year ago today that I first sat down infront of my computer and started to chronicle my hopes and fears around our efforts to create a bilingual household?
It's actually been over a year since I started speaking French with Poppette. When I think of all the angst and self doubt that typified those first months, I can honestly say there were a few times I didn't think we would get this far. If I had a list back then setting out exactly the achievements we have made to date, I just wouldn't have believed we could come even close.
So today is an exciting day.
A day of reflection and celebration.
Don't get me wrong, I still have the odd 'wobble' and crisis of confidence. But I have learnt to manage these by not looking too far forward and focussing on the here and now. If we can just get through each day with no major communication issues... then why should tomorrow be any different???
So far my darling daughter truly is bilingual. My heart skips a beat when I say those words :D Although she still only says the odd word (and admittedly right now these tend to be English ones more than their French counterparts), she understands French and English equally well...in fact, Papa is convinced that she understands more French.... and I am inclined to agree as there are some questions, requests and instructions that she responds to immediately when I am speaking in French but that she seems not to understand when said in English by Papa.
Poppette loves books. She spends a huge amount of time each day picking them off her shelf and turning each page carefully. Papa and I sit with her and as she points things out we name them. If we ask her where something is she turns to the correct page and points it out. For Poppette it seems entirely normal that objects have more than one name....'le soleil'/ 'the sun', 'un nuage' / 'a cloud', 'un cochon'/ 'a pig'.....language aquisition and the human brain truly are mind blowing.
Now 16 months in age, Poppette has been saying meaningful words since around the 11 month mark. One thing I have noticed, however, is that her use of these words ebbs and flows and sometimes I wonder if I actually dreamt that she had been saying a word for a week or two that she then no longer seems to say. Currently, her main words are 'Didi' (for Doudou), 'More' (for 'more', 'again' and also to indicate that she wishes to do an activity). She also says 'Daddy' and 'Papa' a lot. I'm not really sure where all the other words have gone for now.
We have been talking to her more and more over recent weeks about the impending arrival of her baby brother and about a week ago she started to say 'Baby'. I don't think she has grasped the fact that she will soon be an older sister but I still think it's good to talk about it with her. The interesting point from a language point of view is that I always speak about 'le petit bébé' (the little baby) and we read 'Et dedans il y a' ('and inside there is..') so I'm not too sure why Poppette has chosen the English word over the French.... Is this a sign of things to come.....?
One thing that I am excited about and that I hope will give legs to our ongoing bilingual success is that I am due to take maternity leave which will allow me to spend more time with Poppette. The opportunity to be able to play a larger part in her life and her development than I have been able to recently as a full time working mum makes me smile wider than ever. I feel very lucky.