Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Butterfly Emerges.....she's a papillon

Did you know that in French public school they take your kids swimming as part of the curriculum? I didn't either. And it's wonderful. They spend a semester going once a week and learning the basics. For free. One more thing to recommend school here as far as I'm concerned.

All they ask is that parents sign up to come along on the bus, help the kids change, and maintain some order to and fro. Yesterday was my day to chaperone Ma Fille's class.
As with all of these school functions and volunteering, the kids giggle when I speak French, ask me their two favorite questions in English, 'whot ees yourh nahme?' and 'how h'old arhe yoooh?' and stare, stare, stare. And in each case my kids are a strange combination of proud and embarrassed.

As I have just been randomly asked 'not to ever dance in front of my friends', as if she's got some big dance party planned and is afraid I'm going to start shaking it and doing my signature move--thumbs up, moving across and alternating sides, hips shifting with the thumbs (it's something very special)--I felt maybe the embarrassed might be inching up on the proud and I'd better be on my best behavior.

I was mostly quiet. Speaking only when spoken to, 'My name is Aidan.' 'I am 3* years old.' Tee hee, giggle, stare.

The best part was watching my lovely fille. She was giggling, holding hands and speaking French. The entire time. Even to me. This is the girl who used to say, 'Je suis timide' and refuse to talk. Now she's in on the jokes. Looking out from sparkling eyes, saying things I can't even understand and fitting right in. I cannot tell you how proud and happy it makes me feel to see this happening. I was told it would. And I hoped and believed and now it's coming true. If there was any one thing I was most 'inquiet' about before moving here it was the kids being in French school. I can whole-heartedly say that everyone was right. And like most worries, it was unfounded.
As I sat on that bus, rumbling back to the school, my heart nearly burst with joy for her. She didn't cling to me or want me to sit with her, 'sit behind me mommy'. But it wasn't like she didn't want me there either. She was happy for me to see. To know who she is out there in the French world without me and how well she's doing.

Is there anything we want more for our children than that? No matter where we live or who we are.


  1. It's nice to be three star age, I like it ;)

  2. anu, it really is a 3..but i'm not telling you the *!

  3. How moving. No, we do not want anything more. My first son (27) lives in Los Angeles and I am often asked if I am happy about that. And my answer is: HE is happy, therefore I am happy.
    As simple as that.

  4. Oh, how wonderful! Thanks for sharing such a beautifully happy moment with us all. It truly is amazing how our kids just slip right into the language and culture here. Their brains are little sponges! :) You are such a cool mom!!

  5. I bet she could out-French me! Sadly, it isn't too difficult to do, though. But how nice! How exciting! She's integrating into French society!

  6. How lovely to have been able to have this bit of insight into her everyday school life and to be able to be re-assured like that. Its wonderful how children adapt.

  7. This is so lovely! You must be ridiculously proud of her! I'm even beaming a bit here :-) x

  8. aracne,
    you are absolutely correct. and i know this is how my mom feels about us being way over here in france.

    and you haven't even seen my dance moves! oh, it's fun to embarrass the children. i am so proud of her though.

    totally out-frenches. it's not really fair.

    it was cool. one of those rare fly-on-the-wall moments.

    i am! thank you. she's pretty cool.

    happy thursday everyone and thanks for all the kind and generous comments.

  9. She's lovely. It takes awhile for kids to come out of their shell, but once they do, watch out.


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