That was French!

My son is currently expending his French vocabulary. Until recently, he didn’t seem to understand what was French and what was English; he understood both and spoke English and didn’t seem to get the difference. In September, though, one of the kids he plays with in the courtyard started attending a French immersion school. The 5-year-old is still young enough to want to show off her abilities and too young to be embarrassed about the limits of her knowledge, so every time she hears me speak (French) to my son she chimes in. Even though I’m sure she doesn’t understand what I say, she recognizes it as French and proceeds to count to 10 in French, or says “Au revoir” when she leaves, etc.

That seems to have made my son more aware of what French is and more interested in speaking it. It has become “special” to speak French. He still won’t make unprompted French sentences, but he uses more French words and sometimes repeats the sentences I use. The funniest thing, however, is that he usually ends any French with “That was French, right Maman!”. It’s not really an interrogation, more of an exclamation and a search for reassurance that yes, indeed, it was French.

I love the new state of things… except for the fact that it also seems to be a way for my son to alienate his dad. French is this special thing that both him and I share, but not Papa. Which sucks, because he already is in a pissing match with his dad for my attention most of the time. So as much as I want to encourage his new desire to speak French, I don’t want Zak to feel left out. Of course, Zak can understand most of what I say to my son and probably everything he says to me, but still. He’s already so much of a Maman’s boy that I don’t want to make it worse.

Oh well, it’s not like I can do much about it. When he didn’t want to speak French he didn’t, now if he wants to speak it he will. I’m afraid there’s not much we can say or do that will change it. He’s just that kind of kid!

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