My poor husband is resigned to continuing to speak to the children in French; he doesn’t even complain any more.Â However, when my sister saw him doing the Princess’s homework with her – she encouraged insurrection by saying “this is ridiculous”.
It is true that it’s perhaps a little odd to hear the following:
Her: â€œTÃ¡ RÃrÃ¡ ag rith.â€
Him: TrÃ¨s bien.
Her: Papa, je peux arrÃªter lÃ ?
Him: Non, il faut continuer.Â Donc, Â«Â TÃ¡ LÃºlÃº ag lÃ©amh.Â Â»
Her: â€œTa sÃ© ag lÃ©amh.â€
Him: Non Â«Â sÃ©Â Â» câ€™est lui, il faut dire Â«Â sÃ.Â Â»
And so on… I appreciate that it requires a slightly unusual set of language skills to understand the above but I thought you would like that.
I thought they might make some French friends and Irish playgrounds seem to be full of French kids so my children are always running into French people in the park.Â Unfortunately, the French adopt a strict protocol of ignoring other French speakers so that can be a little disconcerting but I remain hopeful.
Once, shortly after we returned, when we were in Cork a nice polite English man and his pregnant French wife approached me and said that they noticed the boys were speaking French to each other and how did we manage it. Michael used my moment’s inattention to rush for the pond so I was anxious to be off and couldn’t explain to them that this was due to our recent return from a francophone country.
Now, the boys never speak French to each other.Â Sometimes the Princess speaks French to them and they will reply to her in French.Â We have hired a new woman to replace our current French childminder (the delightful Aliette).Â The new person is, to my great delight, rather poor at English.Â Daniel was sick the other morning and she minded him.Â By the end of the morning he was resigned to the fact that he had to speak French to her.Â Though, as Mr. Waffle points out, it is a little disconcerting that the language of domestic administration continues to be French.Â We are getting blinds fitted and I spent many useless minutes trying to remember the French word for this so that I could tell our new woman that there was a man coming to install same. Store, if you care (pronounced differently).
Another string to my bow is DVDs which, where possible, are watched in French.Â Dora is hilarious.Â She speaks French with the odd word of English in a French accent – allons y – lez’s go!Â Dora’s abuela, who has become grandma, speaks French with a strong American accent.Â My husband observes that this particular linguistic regime makes the role of the mariachi band more difficult to understand.
God, nobody said that having notions (as the nuns would say) was easy.