Monday, 12 November 2012

Le soleil se cache derrière les nuages...The sun is hiding behind the clouds

Two weeks after her 2nd birthday, Poppette spoke her first gramatically correct four word sentence. She was happily drinking her milk first thing in the morning when Little Man started to grumble to let us know that he was also rather hungry....Poppette looked over to him and announced "Bébé boit milk too" i.e. Baby drinks milk too.

I was really pleased on two levels...obviously from a language perspective this is fab...she may have mixed up her languages but she did so perfectly!! and I was also chuffed to bits at the obvious care and concern Poppette has for her younger brother.

Poppette is now almost 25 months old and her language is coming on in leaps and bounds. Papa has actually said recently that Poppette now often says things in French that he cannot understand. This is not a problem for him as he feels it is a small price to pay in exchange for his children getting the gift of bilingualism. It does, however, indicate that Poppette is beggining to use more complex vocabulary.

Yesterday we were in the car when she exclaimed "soleil cache derrière nuages" i.e. le soleil se cache derrière les nuages [the sun is hiding behind the clouds]. To be honest, she couldn't have timed it better as I have been a little despondent about this whole bilingual endeavour over the past few weeks. It can be quite exhausting always trying to think around ways to chat about things that you may never have thought about before in your second language. It can feel like trying to cram for a test.....every day. Add to that the fact that research suggests that the more the majority language exposure increases at the expense of the minority language the more of an upward struggle you will have to maintain your child's bilingualism.....and, well, it can feel like you're onto a losing battle. Both Poppette and Little Man will be in nursery 5 days a week from January :(

Rather than wallow in the why it might not work blues.... I am writing this post as a reminder to myself of just how far we have come in the two short years since my daughter's birth.

Poppette can count to ten in both English and French and does so all the time. I'd love to peak inside her head to see what influences her decision to pick one language over the other when she is playing alone.

We are still working on colours in both languages.  She definitley knows rouge/red in both languages  - as for the other colours, some days she gets them right and other days she doesn't so sometimes I am unsure whether she may just have guessed really well :D. Her knowledge of colours is definitley stronger in English right now.

We have been having regular playdates with a really lovely little French girl (5 months Poppette's senior) over the past few months. They play so well together, running around holding hands and giggling. It's such a pleasure to watch their friendship blossom. I have been really happy to note that when this young girl's mum chats away in French with Poppette, she understands perfectly. A good friendship has blossomed between us mamans too. Unfortunately, a move back to France in on the cards for them next month so our get togethers will have to come to an end.

Poppette's favourite mot du jour since this weekend is d'accord [ok]. She just came out with it whilst we were chatting and has not stopped saying it since.... much better than her other favourite word "noooooooo"!!!

At the moment she vascilates between speaking loads of French with me (about 80/20) to speaking about 50/50. That said, she only seems to speak French to other people if she doesn't know a word in English or perhaps favours the French word. Her language with Papa in the main is English although, although she peppers her converstaions with him with French words and phrases...some of which Papa understands and others that he doesn't.

I am trying to lift my game as far as Little Man is concerned and try to speak to him exclusively in French now. It still feels a little alien at times but I know it felt just the same when Poppette was tiny too.


  1. Wow!! Well done Popette!! Little Imp turned 2 yesterday and I was so proud last week when she sang "Brille brille petit etoile" perfectly to me unpromted and just this morning she is singing away "meunier tu dors". As you know we are about 80/20 in favour of English, although with songs probably 50/50 so I guess I'll be waiting a bit longer for sentences in French. It is worth it I'm sure, it will be so beneficial in the future even if Little Imp decides to abandon French in favour of another language, the seeds of langugae learning and more importantly langugae loving are growing strong already! Emma :o)

    1. It's fantastic that Little Imp has stored all these songs up and can sing them unprompted and with no idea just how special it is that she can do that and just much it blows your mind :D

    2. It's happened - little imp's first sentence in French!! Almost 1 year to the day since I started to introduce French to her and this morning when I asked her what she wanted for breakfast she replied: "je veux brioche et framboises"!!!!! Took me so much by surprise - still can't quite believe it! I wonder what her next sentence will be and when!! Had to share this momentous occurrence with you. Hope all is good with you guys, Emma :0)

    3. Youpi!!!!

      You must be on cloud nine!!!

      Well done Little Imp. It makes it all worthwhile doesn't it...These mind-blowing moments...

      ...and what a delicious sounding breakfast!

  2. Well done on keeping your motivation up! I remember exactly what it's like, and you sum up the feeling perfectly when you say it's like cramming for a test every single day! Quite an important test too, as I kept panicking that my kids were learning bad accents and grammar from me! But it's all been worth it for my kids to be bilingual, though we have been lucky with the immersion school support. I wonder if you could find some native speaker support too? Not always easy, I know.

    1. I have definitely got my planning head on and am trying to set up as many opportunities as I can for native french exposure..As you say, it's not always easy but it's so worth it.

  3. Hello, glad to see I am not alone ! But for me, French is my mother tongue and I am teaching English to my 3 years old son. I fell it quite difficult, as nobody around me seem to understand my choice.

    After 2 months, my son already knows and understand around 100 words. I have decided to recruit a tutor, to talk to him every saturday mornings.

    I am open to all advice, resources, etc... I can also help you with French. Thanks. My email address :

  4. Hi Laure
    Thanks for getting in touch. I will drop you a line via email.