Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Cafe Bilingue: tales form a multilingual French revolution

As posted here, my latest contribution to Multilingual Living was an article with an overview of multilingualism today in France. One of the best initiatives I wrote about is the parisian Cafe Bilingue, a series of periodical meetings held in Paris, allowing parents to exchange information and occasionally ask questions to experts. The founder is a remarkable woman by the name of Barbara Abdelilah-Bauer, a published author and an extremely active and convinced multilingualist! The article is kindly reproduced by the Familles Bilingues site (in English). I missed the last Cafe Bilingue since we were in Italy, but I count on attending the July 1st multilingual pique nique at the feet of the Eiffel tower! Will tell you all about it...

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Counting...in English!

When we received the Chicco's bilingual farm in Italian and English, Milo was barely 1 years-old. I was thrilled at first, hoping that the toy would have been a smart ally to introduce Milo softly to speaking English. But over time I realized that he was mostly interested in the animal's sounds, and did not seem to be so aware of the two different linguistic registers available. I should have been more patient: the toy has been around for two years now, and these past couple of weeks he suddenly begun repeating the numbers in English. All by himself, without us prompting him! And he leart to count 1 to 10 in English! This has been a real door opener because now he is more keen in repeating other English sentences I occasionally present to him, or that he hears in the DVD 'Cars' (I cracked up at Santi's entry on the very same topic!). It would be the ideal moment to set up an English play group for him...but unfortunatelty I am lacking the most essential ingredient: time.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Milo's first mixed sentences!

It hapenned while we were in Italy: one morning Milo was looking for his teddy-bear and asked me:

"Mamma, dov'e' mon doudou?"

At first I thought the French possessive adjective 'mon' ad been sucked in by the French word he uses to call his teddy-bear (doudou). However, later on I noticed that he substitues the French possessive adjectives in Italian for all kind of nouns:

Milo: "Dov'e' ma macchinina?"
Me: "Si dice ' la mia macchinina'!"

Milo: "Quella e' ma copertina!"
Me: " Vuoi dire 'la mia copertina'!"

Generally once corrected he retains the concept. But from time to time he still sneaks a French one in the sentence!

His staffilococcus fight is not over yet, he is still taking antibiotics and one of the wounds is still open and secreting pus. He is overall rather lively and hasn't lost his appetite, but I cannot wait for this to be over, and so does he...

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Staffilococcus II

Poor little Milo had to be operated again yesterday, as the left side had swollened as well to a very unhealthy size, filled with pus. This time I asked that he'd be sedated, to spare him the stress and the fear (not to mention the excruciating pain) he had experienced the first time last week. And the only possible sedation was full anesthesia...I will never forget the tight knot in my stomack when I saw him entering the surgery room, with his green gown, sitting up on the stretcher, white as a ghost, his eyes filled with terror. It all went very fast and within 40 minutes he was out and sleeping in his room. He woke up within few hours and recuperated his usual curiosity and energy level within the afternoon. We came home last night, reliefed and exhausted. We're going to have to go back daily to the hospital to drain the wound (it has been left open with a 'straw'), and it is going to take a few months before his lynphonodes resume to their ususal size and consistency; we still do not know exactly how he picked up this bacteria. We met a few children in the waiting room with the same problem, though. Milo has been very corageous, all considered. His mantra has become "non voglio più andare all' ospedale, basta punture" (I don't want to go to the hospital anymore, enough with the shots). He alternates it with "voglio andare a Parigi, devo andare a scuola" (I wanna go back to Paris, I gotta go to school). He's got a great bike as a reward, and he has immediately learnt how to enjoy it, riding it freely in my parents' courtyeard, reminding me of my carefree childhood summer afternoons...

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Staffilococcus bonanza

We are in Italy supposedly vacationing since 2 weeks ago, and instead we are held hostage by a nasty staffilococcus which has sneaked in Milo's neck lynphonodes, swollening them to the size of an apple. It happened all of a sudden the day we arrived...he woke up from his nap with an "apple" in his throat. Ever since we have been at the nearest pediatric hospital almost daily, and 10 days later we are stil not sure what it is. It's nerve wrecking. The poor boy who already didn't have much sympathy for doctors, has developed a monumental phobia of the white shirts men...he has been administered massive doses of antibiothics, he has been cut without anesthetics to evacuate the pus on one side, he has been taken blood samples and submitted to sonograms...today we should finally have the last results and understand why the antibiothics did not work until now and the swolening persists and appeared on the other side as well. The good news is that he can come home at night and does not have to eat that terrible hospital food.The Belgianite is in the US for business and Zeno is taken care of by my parents, thank God...and I am running out of good reasons to motivate Milo to get in the car to go back to the hospital, AGAIN...let's hope it will be all over very soon.

Monday, May 07, 2007


About a year ago a phenomenal project born out of the passion
shared by a few women scattered on the globe and heralded
by a vulcanic Corey Heller, founder of the Bilingual Bicultural Family Network, came to life: Multilingual Living Magazine, a digital magazine dedicated to the modern global multilingual parent. I have had the honor to contribute to the first issue, and then my maternity leave kept me away from the keyboard for a few seasons...but with great pleasure I've come back to write for Multilingual Living; on this issue I describe the new French Multilingual Revolution and talk about the Cafe Bilingue (I'll write a separate post on this intelligent intiative and its inspiring founder). A special "bravo!" and "thank you!" to Corey and Alice, for an amazing editing and coordinating job.