The day looms close. With our due date on Thursday and the baby already measuring almost 9 pounds, the doctor has agreed we shouldn’t go past the date. How is it that we moms can be so excited and yet so scared at the same time? So “ready” and so “not ready” to actually move from pregnant to parent?
I am faced with this other challenge too. This promise we’ve made as a family to have me speak only in French to our newest petit prince. I’ve been reading up on other bilingual families, and there is a remarkable difference between what we will be doing and what the majority of other families do, specifically: I am not a native speaker. It is not as though I came from France as a child and will be re-creating my own childhood memories. My grandmother – yes, but me, no. I will be infusing my love for French, and some might say my natural affinity for it, into the raising of our son. But just how “natural” will it be? I have visions of the doctor placing him in my hands for the first time, when I look into his sweet face and utter…..? Will I have a sense of stage fright in front of a room of hospital employees and well-wishing visitors? Yet, if I don’t start right away, will I maintain the determination to make the switch once I’m home?
Essentially, there are several different approaches for bilingual families. “Minority Language At Home” (ML@H) and “One Parent One Language” (OPOL) being the most common. Obviously, our second language will be more than minority, since not only do no community members speak it, but no one else in our home speaks it either! So, we have agreed on OPOL, and when you see or hear (or read about) me, it will be in French to our littlest while everyone else speaks English to him. Will he rebel against that when he is old enough to know he is “different” than the others? How long will that take? Will our other children rise to the occasion and patiently pick up some knowledge along the way, or will they quickly tire of what they once considered a fun game?
For now, I just hope I have the courage to try, and to take all things in stride as we Moms du Jour have become so adept at doing.
Any words or experiences of encouragement you have are welcome here!
En attendant notre petit dernier…