My heart is heavy, mes amis, because I yelled at my little ones today--full volume anger about their inability to get along harmoniously while I made dinner. It was an extra-long parenting day since my husband couldn't make it home until bedtime. My children and I had passed the afternoon with violin lessons followed by free play in the pouring rain, but the kitchen was a mess and my fatigue reared up with such harsh words. I apologized and embraced my children, trying to restore those bonds of love, and even though children are able to forgive and move on so much more quickly than adults, we adults know the damage is deeper than they realize.Read More
Living in the U.S., I've always associated Mardi Gras with the beaded necklaces and parade trinkets linked to the New Orleans celebration. Now that I am raising my children in French, however, I've learned that the pre-Lent carnival season in France is largely an occasion for children to celebrate, somewhat like Halloween in the U.S. Here's what I mean:Read More
Bonjour, les amis! If you're searching for a French children's magazine for ages 3-6, my four-year-old and I highly recommend Toupie et Chansons. (If you prefer a French magazine for toddlers, try Popi; for other ages, here's how to subscribe to other French children's magazines.) We've subscribed to Toupie for two years now, and my daughter re-reads the issues several times per week. Well, technically she can't read yet, but she spends impressive amounts of time staring at the pages and re-reading them with me.Read More
Bonjour, les amis! We jump into March this weekend, though my children have already been puddle jumping for weeks. This last week was so rainy and windy that many neighborhood trees broke, including a century-old cedar that fell across a nearby road. It was a sad sight and I didn't photograph it, but it reminded me of when I took photos of our neighborhood cedars for my first blog post last September.Read More
When I began reading to my infant daughter, her books weren't difficult to translate into French because the vocabulary was so simple. As she grew a bit older, the texts became a bit more difficult, of course, but my translating became more habitual and effortless. Now that she's about to turn five, however, I'm more concerned that the text on the page consistently matches the words that she hears, because I want her to make the phonetic connections that will eventually lead to reading on her own.
So when I spotted Les œufs verts au jambon--the French version of Green Eggs and Ham--at Anthropologie last year, I was tempted to buy it even though we already own the English version. But my daughter saw me ogling the book and pointed out that we already own it. She didn't care that our version wasn't in French, because I had always read it in French anyhow. Point taken. But I'd also wanted it because my oral translation is never as good as the written translation--especially when it comes to the rhyming lines of Dr. Seuss.Read More
I've always loved dairy products--I grew up eating cold cereal with cow's milk for breakfast and after-school snack, and if you had asked me in my preteen years to describe my ideal diet, my answer would have included a lot of Kraft macaroni and cheese. (I was an American child of the 80s, when processed foods were proliferating). But in my early twenties I started noticing that certain yogurts gave me gas, and after I got food poisoning in Hungary, I started experiencing brief but recurrent stomach pain. It took a miserable (but free) nasogastroscopie in France for me to understand that my stomach was fine, but it could no longer digest the dairy products I was putting into it.
Nonetheless, it wasn't until I read Alisa Marie Fleming's nutritional guide and cookbook, Go Dairy Free, that I realized that replacing dairy products with plant-based foods was probably one of the best nutritional actions I could take--and it was much easier than I had realized.Read More
As a non-native French speaker in America, I find that using French with my children provokes amusing responses from others. Never mind that I'm a certified French teacher--when family members first heard me speak to my children, they stared at me like I'd walked into the room dressed as Marie Antoinette with her signature wig. Some of my in-laws hadn't even realized I knew French, apparently.Read More
Aren't you grateful for the ways in which music can enrich bilingual parenting and teaching? When I taught middle school French, I occasionally streamed Radio Junior for students on my desktop computer, but now that I'm a parent of preschoolers, I've been searching for a French children's station that doesn't feature Disney soundtracks or Katy Perry mixed in with the French pop and dance hits.
Radio Ouistiti is the best fit I've found: A Switzerland-based web radio station (named for a type of monkey), Ouistiti features French music and stories for ages 0-8.Read More