Parlez-vous Francais?

Tonight, Emmeline and I were reading a book, and I was asking her to count the different items she saw on the page. And for the first time since starting at her new French immersion school, she automatically began counting in French rather than in English. What a wonderful new world we live in, where my little girl, who's only five years old, is already well on her way to becoming bilingual. I wish someone had thought of that 40 years ago, but I'm afraid there's not much hope for me now. (Although, thanks to Emmeline, I now know and can correctly pronounce about 10 colors in French. Next up, she's going to teach me how to count to 20.)

My favorite "immersion" story so far is when, a few weeks in, I asked Emmeline if she could understand what her teacher was saying. Her response? "I can't understand what her mouth is saying, but I can usually understand her hands."

It was a bit of a rough go for E at first--she cried for the first three weeks every morning when I dropped her off at school. And I felt so bad, knowing how frustrated and scared she was that she couldn't understand what her teacher was saying to her. But her teacher is wonderful, one of those people who was just born to work with children, and she reassured Emmeline that all would be well and that she could always come to her and express her feelings in English and that she would always repond--in English--if Emmeline was upset. That seemed to very much put Emmeline's mind at ease, and now she's thriving.

It will be fascinating to watch as she progresses. Although I'm already dreading the day that Emmeline is a teenager and makes plans with her friends to do something she knows she should not be doing--all in front of me, and all in French....Mon dieu!

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