Friday, January 11, 2008
Lately, we have just been bowled over by how much more Ella is trying to speak. I shouldn't say 'try'- I should say that she is speaking and we are trying to understand what she says. The problem is that right now, she has a pretty even 50/50 split in her conversation between English and French. I never know which language she is speaking, however, until I do a bit of deciphering. Whats worse is that she doesn't necessarily remark on the fact that some people only speak one language and so she just expects the whole world to be bilingual French and English. Atleast I've finally found a way to teach my family more French. Between Ella's stubborn insistence on using certain words in French (like 'vite', or 'gateau' or 'cadeau' or 'lait') and her cute little puss, they can't help but participate in the language lessons. Honestly, if my father keeps it up at this rate, he'll be ordering in restaurants next time they come to visit!
She has really started mimicking us, which makes a huge difference in the rate that her language skills are progressing. Yes, we've already had to start rolling out the curses like 'oh, fiddlesticks' after an incident when I stubbed my toe and may or may not have cursed out the which I stumbled over, causing me to shout out a string of about 12 f)àç_', to be shouted back at me by Ella, as in "No maman! No G*ddù*!;: piece of s*$^_ sofa !" This is something I expected her to be doing about a year ago at the same time as all her Anglophone friends. She's definitely not caught up to them in English yet but I have noticed that she is far ahead of most of them in French. It looks like it will all work out in the end- not that we had any doubts about that but I definitely don't think that we would be where we are now if we hadn't gotten her orthophone classes started last spring. It was the little push that got everything rolling.
We've also started playing lots of letter games. Ella wants to go through billboards, pointing out letters for me to say and then asks for a word that starts with that letter. She's really good at remembering the 'good' letters. E for Ella; M for mommy; D for daddy; etc. Sometimes she gives me a letter and I can't think of a really good word off the top of my head, or I think of teh wrong word. We were on the bus the other day and I mistakenly gave her P is for poopoo. Good one, Nicole. You know a really fun game? Ride the entire length of the Blvd St Germain and count the number of 'P's that you see. According to my memory, from that very embarrassing busride, there are something like 4000.
She is slowly making some progress on the potty training front, although I don't want to jinx things by getting into it too much. She adores her blue princess panties and wants to wear them all the time. Unfortunately, she doesn't actually want to the use the potty alot more than previously so there is a bit of a problem there...
She has really impressed us lately by her ability to play by herself, to invent games and not need any sort of help from us or the television to stay entertained. Oh- I don't want to give the impression that suddenly we have turned off the tv and DVD's. She's hardly given up on her favorite game of all. But now she can spend an hour in her room, monkeying around with toys or books and will not even get into any trouble. I've also organized her toys differently since vacation so that we have a stack of drawers next to her table in the office with markers, paints, stamps and inks, playdoh, shaping tools, etc so she maybe has more stuff available to her than before. Maybe these things just let her play independently for longer.
Obviously she is very into the idea of 'Ella do it!' and so in that vain one of her best Christmas presents was the baking kit from Grandma. She loves being in the kitchen and watching things cook. She loves to stir any bowl that she finds unattended (to my great regret...) and is always trying to participate. I try really hard to always says yes. That is, whenever it is safe, I try to say yes and ignore whatever voice is screaming in my head 'but look at the time! It'll never be ready if you let her help!' If you know me, this is HUGE. But it costs me nothing and it puts such a look of sheer joy on her face to be helping make dinner that it is absolutely worth eating at midnight, only one of the many sacrifices I expect that I will make over the next 20 years or so...