Appel à tous

Pour mes lecteurs francophones… Je suis en train de jeter les bases de mon nouveau blogue en français, et j’aimerais trouver des surnoms pour mes enfants. Comme je l’ai déjà expliqué, je ne veux pas les nommer sur mon blogue, je ne trouve pas ça juste pour eux, mais je trouve ça tannant de toujours dire “mon fils” ou “ma fille”. J’ai remarqué que la tendance sur les blogues de maman est de donner un faux nom à ses enfants. Je suis donc à la recherche de surnom qui iraient bien aux miens. J’ai pensé à Tigresse pour ma fille, étant donné son caractère bouillant, mais je ne suis pas certaine – qu’en pensez-vous? Avez-vous de meilleures idées? Et pour mon fils?

Toutes les suggestions seront les bienvenues, même si je ne vous promet pas de les adopter! Merci!

Smiles and tears

We had a great day yesterday. The surprise birthday party went down like a charm. When the birthday child arrived into the room and was frozen in place, seeing that about everyone they knew was there staring at them, my son went straight to them and gave them a kiss. Which was really darn cute. And then all the other 4- and 5-years old went over there too and the freezing in place was over. I love my son in those moments. He is empathetic. He is cute. He made everyone go “Aaaaaaah!” So did the bouncy castle, the popcorn machine and the cotton candy machine. There were balloons everywhere. A clown made awesome balloon creations for everyone. There was a face painter. It all worked like a charm.

But there was also a lot of sadness. Like when my son was saying “My friend is not much older than me. I’m 4 and they’re 5. When I’m 5, they’re going to be…” Yes, he finished his sentence with “6″. But in my head I finished it with “dead”. I couldn’t help it. I’m a sucker for punishment.

Like when everyone was singing Happy Birthday to the child at the party, twice – once when they arrived and once when the cake was lit up – and I was so, so worried that someone hadn’t received the memo and would continue the song with the traditional “and many more”. I know that everyone would have started bawling. I could see the catastrophe happen before it did. And it didn’t. I’m a sucker for punishment.

Like when the child was so exhausted at the end of the party that they spent a lot of time cuddling with a mutual friend (an adult), who upon returning the child to their mother started breaking down (I could hear her thoughts… “This could be the last time I get to cuddle with them.”) She held on and life went on. For now.

Like when I received the “I will cuddle in your arms for a while because I’m so tired” treatment a little bit later. Zak took a photo. I’m grateful for that. It was a sweet, sweet moment. But it was also really sad. That child is having trouble answering questions and speaks slowly, one word at a time. It makes me wonder how long we (they) have. I’m a sucker for punishment.

Like when at the dinner table we had a chance to explain to our son that his friend is sick and we ran with it. He asked about the death part. We answered more optimistically than the truth, but we mentioned the possibility of death. We had to. My son was not too phased, of course he doesn’t understand what it means yet. What it means for us is a lot of questions in the next few weeks, I bet.

What it means, kiddo, is that we’re going to spend a lot of time with that friend in the next few days before they leave for another place and most likely never come back. Okay? Okay! And please, please, ask US your question, not THEM. Please!

Problème de liaison…

On était au parc, un parc moderne où on trouve des fausses roches où les enfants peuvent grimper. Mon fils est au sommet et me montre quelque chose du doigt:

- Look maman, zo!
- Pardon?
- Zo!
- Zo?
- Yes!

Je n’y comprenais rien, et puis tout à coup j’ai allumé. Dans le faux rocher se trouvent de faux fossiles. On a beaucoup parlé de fossiles récemment puisque mon fils est fasciné par les dinosaures. On a parlé des os fossilisés. Des os. Zos…

- Ah, des os fossilisés!
- Yes maman, zo fossilisés.

Ben oui. Comment j’ai pu ne pas comprendre du premier coup, moi qui ai passé des années à penser que je marchais sur de la sphalte?

Réalisation tardive

Ça vous est déjà arrivé de relire un livre, de réentendre une chanson et de tout à coup comprendre des paroles que vous n’aviez jamais vraiment comprises? Un jeu de mot qui vous avait échappé? Et vous vous dites “Ben voyons, c’est évident!” Comme quand vous relisez Iznogood et que vous comprenez enfin ce que signifie son nom…

Je viens d’avoir une de ces réalisations. Vous avez déjà joué à la ringuette? Vous savez, ce sport qui se joue comme le hockey, mais avec un anneau de caoutchouc au lieu d’une rondelle? Moi non plus. Mais je pensais à ce sport ce matin (j’ai déjà oublié pourquoi), et étant en milieu anglophone, j’imaginais, en anglais, une conversation avec quelqu’un d’autre à ce sujet. Oui, j’ai souvent des conversations dans ma tête, pas vous?

C’est à ce moment-là que j’ai eu mon éclair de lucidité. La ringuette se joue avec un anneau. En anglais, “ring”. Eh oui, ça explique tout, non? C’est pour ça que ça s’appelle la ringuette. Mais quand on en parle seulement en français… Allez, dites-moi que je ne suis pas la seule qui n’avait pas encore compris!

Un petit mot de français…

Encore une fois, alors que je me disais que mon fils ne parle pas beaucoup français, il me suprend… Juste avant d’aller au lit, mon fils aime courir de l’entrée jusqu’à son lit.

Moi : “Si tu veux courir, c’est maintenant!”

Mon fils: “C’est maintenant ou jamais!”

En avant…

I haven’t talked for a while about my son’s language development. I mean, I have talked about how much he talks, but I wanted to update you on the progress he has made on the French front.

He still speaks mostly English, of course. Although I speak only French with him, he responds mostly in English. But he is putting more and more French words in his English sentence, especially when we are just him and I. And what I find really encouraging is that he is starting to use French unprompted. What I mean is that until recently, he would repeat the French words I used – for instance, I took him to MEC to buy a pillow and then he was talking about his “oreiller” (which was really hard to understand since he doesn’t pronounce the “r” so it was just a series of vowels). But now he is starting to use words that have not necessarily been used right before. For instance, when I put him in the swing the other day and went besides him to push him, he said “Non maman, en avant!” (from the front). And that made me really, really happy.

I’m not too worried about his French because I know he will go to school in French. But it would be nice if he could speak it a little more before that (even though I know he understands everything I say). We considered putting him in a French preschool next year, but it just wasn’t practical. It would have meant at least 30 minutes of transportation each way for a 2,5 hour program, and one of the preschools that offered French was actually full (we could have put our names on the waiting list, but without much hope) and the other one took only kids that would go 5 days a week. We don’t want our son to go 5 mornings a week at age 3. I think the system will swallow him soon enough and we want more freedom with our time, especially since we’ll have a newborn to deal with this year. Zak likes being able to get up in the morning, look a the weather and decide with our son if they will go to the aquarium, the beach or the library. I want to start giving him a tiny bit of structure, but not that much, not the stress of having to get up early to get somewhere at a fixed time every morning of the week. And to add to the problem, he probably would have had to switch preschool the following year because both programs have 4-year-olds in the afternoon only, and it would most likely be hard for Zak to manage taking our oldest to preschool while the youngest is supposed to nap (our baby will be one when our son turns 4).

So here I am. A lot of people have told me I could just force my son to speak French to me. But I’m honestly not sure he has the knowledge to build sentences in French, and I’m also not sure that I want to be that kind of mom. I have a great relationship with him, and he seems to enjoy speaking French with me because he does it all the time – he repeats my words in French even though he could just say it in English. He is also learning big parts of the songs that I sing to him at bedtime – he sings them with me now, and he’s all proud to say “I know your songs now maman!” I’m afraid of the backlash, of him becoming sick of French if I insist too much, so for now I prefer the soft method. I am telling him that he will have to speak French with our baby so that he or she can speak it too. I am sure that this could be a powerful incentive, but since Zak will be speaking English with the baby, it may not be convincing enough.

I once asked my neighbor, who is a speech pathologist, at what age I could force a child to speak back to me in French. She said that she wouldn’t expect a child to have the self-control necessary until he or she is 5 or 6. I guess I am going by this advice and I figure that if I stick to speaking French with my boy, he will acquire it in a way that he won’t see as threatening, instead of becoming the language police when I’m not sure he has the ability to actually speak it.

Underwear, really?

Our son’s love of underwear didn’t last. At the end of the day, he was already asking for his diaper back. I suspect he’s just lazy and found that sitting on the potty every 30 minutes was just too much work – and too much of a distraction from his play. So he started peeing in his training pants. The pants are made to hold one small pee, so it wasn’t different enough from his diaper to make our boy overly uncomfortable.

We figured that we didn’t have enough training pants to change him with every pee, so we went back to diapers. We’ll get him some real underwear soon, and then when the pee runs down his legs maybe he’ll get it. That remains to be seen. But on the bright side, so far, he has continued pooing in the potty. As much as I love cloth diapers, I have to say that I don’t miss cleaning poopy ones. Just this little change makes a huge difference.

So for now I’ll accept the partial potty training and count myself lucky. After all, he’s not quite two and a half, yet. I know that a lot of kids potty train earlier, but then a lot of them (especially boys) potty train much later, too. So I’m taking it in strides. I have so little time for my family these day’s, it’s just not worth the fight!