Monday, 12 January 2009

A french affair

Betty has been a slower than average talker but while we were on holiday in France during late summer, the French accent/language must have ignited something inside her because she finally began showing an interest in speaking – albeit French words. However once back on British soil she lost her enthusiasm once more and stopped trying to speak.

Just after Betty’s second birthday two months ago, we received an appointment card from the NHS stating that her two-year check-up with the health visitor was the following week. Knowing that they would want to know about her speech development, and not wanting her to be branded a dunce by the health authorities, I went armed with a list of all the words that Betty has ever said, French and English. Tom accused me of adding extra words to the list just to pad it out. I accused Tom of being a neglectful father and not listening to his daughter properly.

The appointment went well and the health visitor told me nothing that I didn’t already know – that Betty was obviously a very bright (I, of course, secretly think genius) child with an ‘intriguing’ multilingual interest (which I think she said just to humour me), and that there were no concerns with her speech development. While we were there she also measured Betty’s height and weight and told me that she was going to be a very tall and slim young lady. With a dead-straight expression I replied: ‘Just like her mother then’. Of course I was joking (I am very short with legs like a traffic warden’s). I was just trying to make the health visitor laugh but she didn’t know how to react and looked highly embarrassed and started speaking quickly and loudly about the bookstart club.

Betty is now repeating absolutely everything we say. It seems though, that being in France really did do something to her because even now she speaks with a distinct French accent (often dropping her ‘H’s’ for words such as house, hands, and hot), and has a real weakness for pain au chocolats.

14 comments:

Mud in the City said...

Buy her a beret and make sure she is draped in a string of onions for the next health visitor visit.

Then gush about how European your family is!

Laura said...

Fantastic, a translator in the making.

My 4 year old keeps coming out with random Polish. There is a boy in her class who teaches her.

Seeing as I have no understanding of Polish I am suspicious that she is shouting more than 'could I have the bill please'.

Stuart said...

Elsie,

Back online again at work!

Au revoir

Mary T said...

My in-laws live in France in the Ardeche and they are very keen for their grandchildren (my children) to be 'bi-lang'or whatever the term is. My mother is a French teacher and I can't speak a word so good luck to them!

Rob Clack said...

Yes, cultivate the French accent. Lovely!

Iota said...

Maybe she was French in a past life.

Tara@Sticky Fingers said...

My 3 year old daughter watches Dora the Explorer (grrr!) but then one night she's sat in bed talking to herself and her teddies and she starts counting them - in Spanish!
I kid you not. She counted from one to 10 as clear as a bell in Spanish.

Maybe Dora isn't such a nightmare after all!

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Children learn at their own pace don't they, I'm sure Betty has a hidden vocabulary that she will surprise you with when you least expect, usually whilst in a public place like a toilet or somewhere!

Amy's health visitor was just a waste of space. She failed completely to notice anything was wrong with Amy at all. And when she did finally realise after the diagnosis of autism had been concluded by a specialist, she never came round again.

CJ xx

kirsty815 said...

She sounds like a little "Fancy Nancy" in the making. If you don't have the books already check 'em out. Ooo that Pain au chocolat sounds scrumptious!

Stella B said...

Welcome back! And congratulations on the Button-to-be!

nappy valley girl said...

We had a childminder once who used to boast how her own child (aged then just one) would say words like vache and cochon after a French holiday. As Littleboy 1 was saying nothing - and didn't until 18 months - this used to gall me slightly! But now, aged 3 and a half, he suddenly has verbal diahorrhea and we can't shut him up! They all develop at their own pace.

that girl? said...

Betty is tres chic! Please can she come to our house (or should that be 'ouse) and talk to Small Child? I stupidly read her a chapter of Horrid Henry to keep her quiet in Waterstone's. It contained a reference to his teacher, Miss Battleaxe and now she uses the worl Battleaxe as an insult.... in Waitrose, the coffee shop, preschool etc! Note to all parents - do not read Horrid Henry to your kids - its not worth it!

Sparx said...

Oooh lovely, she can come and talk to Charlie who is mixing up English and French willy nilly... he's not really speaking either though, just repeating for the most part.

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