Thursday, 16 February 2012

One Year On... Oh How Far We Have Come 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 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.


  1. Congrats on your blogoversary!

    Don't underestimate your influence as a fulltime working mom either, but enjoy your time off. My second maternity leave was one of the best times of my life, with a long trip home that definitely played a good part in my son's heritage language development.

    I will be the host for February's Blogging Carnival on Bilingualism. It is scheduled to be posted on Feb. 23 at and I would love to have your submission! When you have chosen your post, please email the link to perogies.gyoza at and check back to the site on the 23rd!

    1. Medea...thanks for the encouragement. We usually go to France every year...we have no plans this year due to the impanding arrival of baby number two... but you never know...we may pluck up the courage to take a trip sooner than planned. I know it would be great for Poppette and, really, we do need to take the bull by the horns and see what it's like to travel en masse :D

  2. Congratulations on your blogoversary! Really interesting post! Enjoy your maternity leave and more time with Poppette!

  3. I love the way you put it: "language aquisition and the human brain truly are mind blowing"!
    The way you relate Poppette's language development reminds me a lot of my own Aleksander's (now 2 years, 3 months). He would start saying a word (like "truck") and use it for a couple of weeks, and then he just stopped. Now that he's truly started talking, I get the feeling that he was just dabbling in language production - kind of testing the waters. And then he decided he just wasn't ready for it :) Finally, just after his 2nd birthday, the language explosion occurred!
    Aleksander is also a lover of books :) It amazes me how long he can sit and look at them: picking one out, turning the pages, and the putting it back before selecting another. Isn't it wonderful?!
    Enjoy all that time with Poppette on your leave!

  4. Hi Kate
    I must admit that I get very excited at the news of Aleksander's language progression. it doesn't seem very long ago that you were worrying about whether there was a delay and whether you ought to have him checked out and the BOOM the words are tumbling out. It's just another sign that children are little sponges, soaking up everything around them, just waiting patiently until they feel ready to let it all back out again!

  5. Congrads on your bloganniversary. I'm sure that your gal will benefit to have you around at home. It does take time for them to learn and get use to speaking two different languages. My 17mth old girl has only been speaking more now.. it's strange too how she choose to use mandarin words for certain actions while the others are spoken in English.

  6. Yay, a whole year! I'm soooooo happy to see you've come this far, and have so so so enjoyed getting to know you a bit in the process. You have been a rock for me, too, and hearing of your continuing successes, your impending liitle guy, and your wide smile makes me beam with happiness, too!
    I also remember kaya's ebb and flow of language, too...the whole"was I dreaming that?" Totally brings back memories!
    Thank you so much for continuing to share...i love joining along for the ride!
    Love, tamara