Resting Easy about Babies and Sleep

A few months before my first child was born, I thought two nurses had given me the ticket to a good nights' sleep after baby's arrival. I'd read their book (complete with a DVD demonstrating how to swaddle); it advocated letting your baby cry for two nights so that he or she would learn to sleep through the night by the third night. This technique--commonly known as cry it out or CIO--seemed to me a bit harsh but necessary, like vaccines, so I considered it good advice.

Then I became a parent.

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An Interview with Marie Gervais of Marygold Books on eBay

If you've ever searched eBay for children's books in French, you have probably come across titles listed by Marygoldbooks. Marie Gervais is the seller behind that handle, and she's been selling children's books in French on eBay since 2002. She's sold over 6,000 items and yet she has virtually perfect feedback ratings from buyers. Want to know where she finds all those French books? Keep reading--here's my interview with Marie in English along with her French responses:

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Learning to Celebrate Easter

In high school French class I was taught that Easter is a plural noun in French (les Pâques) to help distinguish it from Passover (la paques)--the Jewish commemoration of the Israelites' escape from slavery in Egypt. My French class was the first place I heard about the connection between Passover and Easter. Now, as an adult, I understand more clearly that the Last Supper was when Christ was partaking of the Passover feast with his disciples. 

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Catching Up: le premier avril

Bonjour les amis! I've missed you! Je m'excuse--I'm sorry I didn't write more last month. I've been planning our summer séjour in France, with a 5-day stopover in another country on the way (any guesses as to which country? I'll give you a few hints as our departure approaches!).

Today is le premier avril (April 1st). In France and some francophone countries (as well as Italy), today is known as April fish day because children try to tape paper fish on the backs of unsuspecting people. When their prank is discovered, they cry, "Poisson d'avril!" (April fish!) If you'd like to know more about April Fool's Day in France, Geraldine from Comme Une Française has made a brief video in English about it:

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French by Heart: Rebecca Ramsey's Memoir

In July 1999, an American mama named Rebecca Ramsey moved to France with her husband, baby, seven-year-old boy, nine-year-old daughter, and their aging cat. Her family stayed in the Auvergne for four years, and I'm grateful that she later crafted her family's experiences into a humorous and endearing memoir entitled French By Heart (published in 2007). After all, there are plenty of memoirs about expat life in France, but few of them reflect the experience of an American family with young children truly attempting to assimilate into French life over the course of several years.

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From Exchange Student to Mama in France: Looking Back and Ahead

Ten years have passed since I was an exchange student in France; seven years since my husband and I last traveled there. Now I'm planning our first visit to France as a family--an extended trip this summer through autumn. We'll start in Paris as tourists, stay with friends in the countryside, and finish in Lyon as inhabitants while my daughter begins school alongside other young francophones.

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A Favorite Cultural Film Documentary Series: Families of the World

Media is a fantastic way to supplement language learning--my children and I love the French children's books we borrow from Les Petits Livres, and I often stream French children's music from Spotify radio, but I rarely turn to movies or film clips because they're such a passive way of learning. However, there are a few educational films that I've appreciated for what they've taught my children about the world's languages and cultures. Here's the first of the film resources that I'd like to share with you:

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