Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I don’t have to learn French, I’m adopted!

Liam is currently struggling with French at school. It is the only subject that he HATES. Given the type of learning disability that he has, we aren’t very surprised that he’s having a hard time with it.

Liam’s dislike of French is not new, nor is it related just to school. I am fluent in French, having gone to French school from Kindergarten through grade 10 and having lots of French relatives. When Liam was a baby I would try to talk to him in French, read books or sing songs. He was fine with the songs (all of his lullabies were French) but any reading or talking would elicit “No Mama! Engish!!!” I still sing French songs and he often joins in, but talking is still verboten. Single words (Bonjour, Au Revoir, Merci, Je t’aime…) are alright, but if I go as far as a full sentence he starts demanding English again.

So last night at bedtime I started throwing out a few French words with mild success. In English I told him how our family comes from a French background, how Grandpa was French and how proud he had been anytime Liam would call him and sing Happy Birthday in French to him. I even mentioned that our last name is French, hoping to get Liam to take some pride or ownership in our French heritage.

And that is when Liam seized his opportunity. “I don’t have to learn French, I’m adopted! My real last name isn’t French”. All of this was said with a very smug Aha! gotcha now look. He was sure he had found the best loophole to my argument.

Too bad for him that I was adopted too!

It took the wind out of his sails when I reminded him that my first last name wasn’t French either, but I still grew up speaking French. That we can get our heritage not only from our first families, but also from our adopted families, or even from family members that we marry. He seems to be sitting on that one for now, perhaps trying to find another loophole.

Until he does, he’ll be back in French class on Thursday!
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