Cute Stories of an American Mommy Bringing up Two French Kids

Stéphanie C. is writing us again. She now has two French kids, a French husband, and a French job. Fully immersed in Parisian life for several years now, she writes: “It’s fun to think about language!!… Sometimes I don’t know what my son is saying. For example, both my kids call “musique” : “zique-mou” (not sure how on earth you would spell it but it is pronounced like Zeek-moo) … And Léo jokingly will say “meuf” for “femme” or they come up with other slang that baffles me and I have to ask, what’s that? And they always say funny stuff –like I’ll say “go brush your teeth” and Leo will say “Ça roule, ma poule!” or I’ll suggest “let’s go to the store now” to which he responds, “C’est parti, mon kiki!”…. As for Claire, when she is en train de faire une bêtise, she’ll say,  “Mais j’suis sage comme une image !!” I love their little expressions.

I also think sometimes my daughter would prefer that I were not American… like, she doesn’t want me to be different from the other Mamans. Lately when I speak English, she gets mad and says “Maman, parle Francais!!!” It’s like I’m an extra-terrestrial. When I pick her up from school and say “put on your coat,” all the little kids stare at me, like who is that weirdo and what is she saying?? So a lot of times I speak French because everyone in my family and around me is always speaking French! And it’s really hard to answer back in English when everyone is speaking French all the time.

But I know I make mistakes in French – like often I forget the article, so I say things like “Claire, tu veux pates?” and so then she starts talking a bit  like me (Je veux pates!) because it’s what she hears…… and then my husband gets mad and says “Its : tu veux DES pates…je veux DES pates… Speak French correctly or speak English because otherwise they will learn incorrect French!!!”

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