I'm still enchanted when I hear my children speak French. I know it's nothing extraordinary (millions of kids do it, right?) and they had the advantage of hearing it from day one. I love the way they weave from one language to the next in an elaborate pidgin, just like Arnaud and me, all those years ago. Sure, he spoke English then, and I spoke French. But neither of us was our complete selves in a second language, during a time when we were doing everything we could to know one another. So we always did, and still do, exactly what the experts tell you not to. That is, we spoke, speak in a mishmosh of franglais, starting in one, finishing in another, throwing in just the perfect word to convey precisely what we mean. And despite this, our children are perfectly bilingual. In our small family, or with other bilingual kids they flipflop, while out in the real world it's one or the other. Effortless.
But nothing got to me quite so much as a little love song Lucas composed for me recently...... I know it's all his because I heard him working out the lyrics over the course of a few days (to a tune reminiscent of Les Choristes,) until it was just right and he came to me singing.......
"Un manteau d'amour
un manteau de joie
un manteau que ma maman
a fait pour moi.....
moi je porte ce beau manteau
sur mon dos...."
Roughly translated, and nearly devoid of it's original charm it means "a coat of love, a coat of joy, a coat my mommy made for me. Me, I wear this pretty coat on my back"
And then I was at a loss, beaming, smiling, maybe even crying a bit. Taking in every second of his pride at having made me feel so good when he asked "So, next time je fais un bêtise (or, get in trouble) I can just sing this and it will all get better?
That boy. Cheeky monkey.