Our Family’s (2nd) Year in the South of France
Kids and Castles - Our year with kids in the South of France

The Children are NOT Helping

The kids are old enough to sort-of understand what it means to go to France for a year, but not completely get it. We’ve had a lot of lead time on the trip, so we are trying to prep them bit by bit. One part they really aren’t getting is the “helping Mommy with French” part. (They are both fluent in French, and I’m not.)

Last summer we vacationed in Quebec.  It was an amazing trip. The province is very beautiful – especially in August when the blueberries are ripe and the mosquitoes are mostly dead. I was at the beach with L and Z playing a game where I was picking them up and throwing them in the water when a little girl came up and spoke to me in French.  I was pretty sure that she was asking me to toss her in the water too, but it’s the kind of thing you want to be COMPLETELY sure about. So I asked L to help me understand what the little girl wanted. She turned to the girl and said “Ma maman ne parle pas français”  (My mom doesn’t speak french.NOT HELPFUL!!!

L and Z at the beach in Quebec

L and Z at the beach in Quebec last year

After that experience, I figured I needed to prep them so they might be more useful in a similar situation when we are in France. But it’s backfiring.  Instead they have become convinced that I’ll never speak French and are saying things that are downright discouraging:

  • Z:  “Mommy, you’re going to struggle in France because you don’t speak French.”
  • L:  “How will you talk to anybody in France. You won’t be able to buy food without Daddy’s help.”
  • And Z’s latest helpful idea:  “Maybe you can teach the people in France to speak English”.

The children have no faith in me.  Sigh.

5 Responses to “The Children are NOT Helping”

  1. Too funny – I love the way kids don’t censor their thoughts. Mine is more than willing to tell anyone and everyone my age 😉

  2. vered says:

    You will learn the language so much faster when you’re there, immersed in it. So wonderful that you made sure the kids speak French!

  3. Emanuela Todaro says:

    Cool blog.. I’ll be sure to follow!!!
    Anyway, whe I was 8 we moved to French speaking Switzerland from Rome. My mom got a job there, so she moved with two school-aged kids for 6 years without any previous knowledge of French.
    Well, you know what, she was OK! Of course we learned French way faster than she did and we were making fun about her accent… but thinking back she was amazing.
    Lots of fun stories to tell, of course. Like when she went to the pharmacy asking for a product that would prevent the horses to fall (chute des chevaux). She was actually looking for a hair loss remedy (chute des cheveux) 🙂

    Have fun!

  4. Maha says:

    Such loving support! You’ll do great once you’re there, and at least you’re getting some exposure already. The French will be patient with you too, maybe even giving some loving support!

  5. Dianne King says:

    I am SO following you on this sabbatical blog, Diane. Ross and I would really love to spend a year in France one of these days. We visited Biot some years ago and absolutely loved that area…Vence, too. Can’t wait to hear how it all goes for you!