Wednesday, December 08, 2004


Helena's word of the week: coquine. "Mischievous." She's been repeating it all week. It was the first word out of her mouth this morning (well, after "mama" and "milk").

The only reason she'd know the word is if she'd been hearing the word, and the only reason she'd be hearing the word is if someone had reason enough to use it.

We had reports last week that she likes hiding things. I can picture her amusement at watching her peers look for their favourite toy, then revealing the missing object with a flourish and a wink. Yes, she's got the makings of a prankster.

Astronaut or rockstar? Posted by Hello

The other night Helena tried to engage me in a song. Some little ditty with actions she'd learned at daycare. Charming, to be sure, but it made me a little sad. Of course the song was in French, and, as such, completely foreign to me. I'll find it out eventually, but it takes more effort than simply reaching back for half-memories from my own childhood. (J-F, it turns out, is not a reliable source for nursery rhymes.) Even when Helena "sings" in English, it can take minutes to decipher a couple words and recognize a hint of a rhythm before I figure out the song and can join in. I know that bilingualism can only serve her well in this world, but it's a reminder too that she is growing into her own person. Awesome, but it still makes me a little sad.

The new do. Posted by Hello

I bought a lovely little children's book on sale yesterday — Hush, by Anna Strauss — though I think it's more for me than for Helena. The little girl in times of need turns to her mother, and her mother comforts her, and the girl grows up, but still turns to her mother, and her mother still comforts her. It's very sentimental (with simple, happy illustrations), but it's a nice reminder of my role.

1 comment:

matchingtracksuits said...

Your comment about the French song reminds me of a professor I heard about at Northeastern University (advisor to a friend as she worked on her MA) who hired a Russian immigrant (there's lots of them in Boston) to take care of her child so she could learn a foreign language. Obviously the child was fluent in Russian quite quickly -- and the mother knows not a word.

I feel fortunate that my wife and I will have bilingual children right “out of the box,” so to speak. My mother-in-law was a Russian teacher, so I’m trying to convince her to speak Russian to our children (whenever we get started on that particular project). Who knows…

And enjoy Pinker. “Blank Slate” is one of the better books I’ve read in the last few years, but it will challenge many of your preconceptions if you’re a bleeding heart like me!