Every day that Little Red comes home from school and zips through his homework (in Italian) and plays with his toys, singing in Italian, and answers by saying “io” I marvel. My five year old baby speaks Italian! It’s amazing. I missed the beauty of it all when I was five, and I was learning French, but I am trying not to miss a minute of this miracle happening in my son.
Once upon a time I was fully fluent in French. I say this in the past tense because I have lost so much in the thirteen years that I’ve been in the States. I’ve had so little opportunity to practice and I haven’t taken the time to read in French. The friend I had in college who was francophone also turned out to be certifiably crazy. In Hawaii the Tahitiennes teased me for my accent andspoke to me in English. In Virginia … well let’s just say that I was starting to feel like a fraud by then so even if there was someone with whom I could converse, I’d have likely switched to English.
When the boys were babies and I would occasionally reach for a French book instead of an English book my mouth struggled to force out the shapes the noises required, so unused was I to making them. Amazingly, however, as I watch Little Red learn Italian, and gradually pick up the odd Italian word myself, my French is coming back. It feels so good!