Today was the first day back to school for the boys. Boy1 is in CE2, which is the grade they're in when they're 8 or going to be 8 before the end of the calendar year. And Boy2 is in Grande Section, which is what they're in when they're 5 or going to be 5. So maybe kindergarten. Anyway, same school but different classrooms and teachers and all that. Plus the whole school supply thing which is incredible here. Ballpoint pens, blue and black and green and red for Boy1, each with a different purpose, a fountain pen, compass, right angle, ruler, colored pencils, markers, pencil sharpener, white board with markers, mechanical pencil, regular pencils, mutliple notebooks and binders and plastified sheet covers and I'm leaving some things out. Of course, everything had to be labeled with his name. Boy2's list was much shorter, but he still had one.
When I went to pick them up for lunch, Boy2's teacher asked to speak with me. That's never good on the first day of school. She tried to nicely preface things, but I saw where she was going long before she got there. We completely respect your choice to raise your children bilingually, we understand how important it is to you...BUT. I cut her off about a second after the but, which I didn't used to do. Interrupting is so constant here, I fear I've picked up the habit. Anyway, no matter how she framed it, you realize, Madame, it's for me, it's so when you pick him up and ask him what he did or how his day went, I'm included in the exchange, so there is a transition, if you will, from school to home. Call it whatever you want, what she was asking me to do was speak in French to my child, which I simply refuse to do. The thing is with bilingual kids, in many cases, if they see an open window to speak the majority language all the time, they will. And all of the research on bilingualism bears that out. I tried to explain that to her, reassured her that I would be attentive to the school to home transition, that Boy2 and I would translate our exchanges to her if they had anything to do with what went on at school that day. She looked doubtful and I probably looked like a militant.