I didn't respond to comments left on friday's post. But only because the topics deserve more time than a comment response. So today is about bilingualism and tomorrow about Maternelle.
Sarah, who has a very interesting blog about bilingualism and children (babybilingual.blogspot.com), asked about the boys'.
While in graduate school, I worked in a department where a woman from Quebec was a tenured professor. I saw an interview of her on tape, made to be used in basic level French classes during the francophonie unit. And I was very surprised by her attitude. Which was openly hostile (although in a very polite way) towards the 'omnipresence' of American culture. Up until then I had always thought of Quebec as sort of a happy francophone island. They wish. On an island it would be easier, perhaps, to manage the constant flow of all things anglophone. She actually used the word battle. How hard it was for francophone Canada to remain so.
I understand her attitude better now. Because I feel the same way. As I've mentioned before, when you're raising children in two cultures, you want them to feel at home where they live obviously. So Boy2 going to school earlier than I would like, in my ideal world, is fine, but spending too much time there, and therefore, in French, is not.
Yesterday, we went for a walk. Husband and a friend were walking futher ahead with the boys and I was trailing behind and talking with friend's wife. Boy1 ran back to see us and said, "Mama, Papa found some mûres!" "You mean blackberries? " I asked. "Yeah, Papa found some blackberries." Other than situations like that, where he's forgotten a word or never learned it, he never speaks French to me. He switches back and forth from one second to the next, depending on who he's talking to. When all four of us are together, the conversation is always in both, between the boys and me in English, between the boys and Husband in French and between Husband and me in French. Interestingly, the boys speak English to each other, which I am hoping will last. Boy2 is, for the time being, far more advanced in English than in French. He never uses French with me but he does use quite a bit of English with Husband. Which won't last - school will take care of that. They have three playmates who are native English speakers now, they don't live in Laval so we don't see them every week, but I try to arrange something a least once a month so they learn childhood English too, not just Mama English and Disney English. The goal being for them to be almost as comfortable in English as they are in French. Which is hard because French is omnipresent, obviously, on my little American island in Laval.