Monday, 16 March 2015

My kids are my French teachers

In a week, we will have lived in France for six months. That little fact is pretty hard to believe. We still feel like tourists in some ways. On the other hand, we can hardly imagine not eating our main meal at lunchtime or using cheap, efficient public transport to get around.




Spring has arrived in the Jardin Public de Bordeaux
 
One thing that has surprised me the most is how much the kids teach me. Master 7 is so confident speaking in his second language. Even with a large group of French kids, he still sometimes takes a leader role in the group. He also often remembers something interesting the kids were talking about or that he learnt at school and comes home to tell us about it. French kids are plunged into grammar at six - he is learning about collective and proper nouns, plurals and pronouns already. He gets a real French perspective on things too (kids are so honest). Sometimes he brings home more questionable information though, like when he was asking what the 'doigt d'honneur' is. I had no idea as it sounded like /dwa da ner/ and could be any one of three phrases. It turns out it was the French way of saying 'giving the finger'. But the finger of honour does sound a lot more classy!

Kids are so adaptable. Whether it is taking an overcrowded tram or playing happily with another toddler, both babbling away in different languages, Miss Two takes everything about life here in her stride. She is also eating a wider range of food here (courgettes, tomatoes, olives). She knows the difference between francais and anglais. She can count to ten and sing the alphabet in both languages. I wonder how much she remembers of life in New Zealand?

Through her, I have also learnt a lot of French 'baby talk' from other parents discussing their kids and also from strangers who speak to her on the tram. Things like:
  • coucou - hello to a baby / peekaboo
  • hop-la - oops!
  • dodo - sleep
  • doudou - teddy or blanket or pacifier
  • nounou - nanny
  • caca - poop
  • miam miam - yum
She loves a French TV show and associated books for kids called T'choupi. It is about a baby penguin and his teddy bear. We have learnt a lot about the culture in France from it. For example, in one episode T'choupi sticks a paper fish on the backs of his family and says 'Poisson d'avril' which is like our April Fool's Day.

Dune du Pyla

One of the top ten sights in the Lonely Planet guide of France is the Dune du Pyla. It is the biggest sand dune in Europe at 110 metres high and is about an hour from Bordeaux in the Arcachon Basin. We went to have a look last Sunday, along with quite a few other sightseers making use of the spring sunshine.

 
 

We toiled straight up, sand falling away beneath our feet. Then cresting the dune, the view from the top is absolutely amazing with the Atlantic coast and spit of Cap Ferret on one side and view over a vast pine forest on the other. New Zealand has sand dunes but this is on another level. The kids were happy to make sand castles. But the best part is coming back down - rolling, running, sliding. You can also buy little sleds to slide down on (to avoid the pants filling with sand). We will definitely be going back to the Dune again, to swim at the beach in the summer.

 
Post a Comment