Thursday, July 12, 2007

keeping our heads above water

Overheard recently:
* "I am confused about going to the United States."
"Why is that?"
"Because we're going home, but it seems like we live here."

* From the back seat of the car the other day while we were driving the kids home from market- Tess says,
"There was a girl in that car. She was looking at me."
"um, hmm..."
"I think she was looking like that because she's jealous of me because Colm is my little brother."

*Colm had tagged along with Tess to go visit her friend Constance when out of the blue arrived his best friend, Alec, arrived at our house (with his parents and big brother) to see if he could come over and play. We went across the street and got Colm who was both excited and nervous. The prospect of playing with Alec overjoyed him but the prospect of being away from us and his sister while being completely surrounded by French speakers only obviously worried him. "Would you come with me?" Colm whispered to me as we made ready to put him in the bike trailor belonging Alec's parents.
"Don't worry Colm. We'll come get you in a couple of hours."
Colm looked at me still a bit unconvinced but Alec was enthusiatically tugging at his sleeve and he succeeded in diverting Colm's attention. Off they went.

When we came by to pick him up. Alec's mother told us that she hadn't known that Colm could speak French. She said, "He didn't speak three weeks ago. What happened?"
Beth and I looked out there in the back yard. The kids, now joined by Tess, were clambering about the swingset and a giant pile of sand. Colm was like a fish in water.
Friends happened, I thought.

*Tess comes into the kitchen after I had just put her to bed. She's cupping her hand over one eye.
"Oui mon coeur."
"Ca me fait du mal."
"Ou ca?"
"Ici, mon oeil. J'ai besoin d'une serviette chaude."
I get her a warm damp cloth and hold it over her eye. She stands there for a couple of seconds and then says, "Papa, je ne suis plus mal a l'aise." I remove the cloth. We walk down the hallway toward her room.
"Je pense que ca venait de la maquillage."
I nod knowingly. Earlier in the day she had been playing with makeup with her friend Constance. I then give her my very first father lecture on makeup. "C'est pourquoi je n'aime pas beaucoup la maquillage. Tu n'as pas besoin de maquillage d'etre belle. Tu es belle deja."
Tess regards me with an indulgent air. Then she smiles.
"Mais papa, c'est trop beau!" (but daddy it's sooo pretty!)
The smile I send back to her is my confession that the heart cannot be reasoned out of its desires.

*Tess playing with her barbies...who knew that they could speak French too? It helps me to know this.



Anonymous erin said...

Congrats to Colm on his French breakthrough!!! With such good examples (Wow, Tess!) he was bound to learn! Big hugs to you all, and safe travels!

3:56 PM  
Anonymous Kristine said...

Good luck with the move back--it's tough, but something you HAVE to do, right? At least you have more hands...I had 8 suitcases and two little ones (oh, the pure insanity!). I've videotaped Katiana playing with her dolls, which always speak French, too (just in case she loses it :( ). You might get lucky at the airport...I had 5 suitcases over the weight limit and only paid for one...I think she pitied me!

7:22 AM  

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