Talking about: French Immersion

Discussions between spouses once you have kids become injected wth things you never thought you would talk about in your day-to-day. Not that we don’t chat about the things we used to before! It’s just that now, our conversations include things like “did you read the latest anti-vaccination article going viral on Facebook?” or “The Baby Centre email I got today talked about tantrums – what good timing, hey?” In the last few months, we’ve revisited the topic of immersion programs and whether or not that’s a road we want to go down when it comes time to enroll Theodora in school.

Initially, each of us were split on the subject. I was all for it, coming from the perspective that the younger you can expose a child to other languages the better. They are sponges at these young ages, after all. Alex, on the other hand, was a little more hesitant, more so from a practicality point of view – what language would we choose, and would she realistically use it?

I grew up in a bilingual household with Greek being my first language. As a result of this, my fluency today is all thanks to those early years of listening, learning and speaking the language, and my French studies came to me quite easily and enjoyably in my school years. My French now is nowhere near being able to strike up a conversation, but I could probably get by. And this isn’t to say that my current level of Greek couldn’t use any improvement; it definitely could. But it has really cemented for me how important it is to start as early as possible if I want our child to pick up on a second language. Since I’m with Theodora 95% of each day, I’ve been speaking to her in Greek pretty much from day one in hopes of hearing her little voice speak a word or two in the near future.

We have decided to go with it and have chosen French immersion as our program of choice (we’re ahead of the game, I know, but her school days will be here before we know it, I’m sure – sob, sob!). Now, maybe part way through, she’ll hate it and ask to participate in the regular stream, at which point we will of course discuss and proceed accordingly. Not everyone is a languages person, and we would hate to place that kind of pressure on her. On the other hand, maybe that will be her normal and she’ll embrace it like a champ! I am also of the firm belief that the more languages you know or are exposed to, the easier they come.

Time will tell, but I’m curious – have any of you with kids had similar discussions? If you have enrolled your kids in an immersion program, has it been valuable? Have you had to re-learn the language yourself in order to help with assignments?! Clearly we have a bit more homework to do…no pun intended 😉

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New Job: Mom

November 24, 2014. This is the day that I would have technically returned to work after maternity leave. Except I’m continuing my at- home journey with Theodora, and to be honest with you, there’s no place I’d rather be.

It was an unexpectedly difficult decision because I was in a job that I absolutely loved. For the last eight years, I worked for a business school managing a portfolio of professional development programs. My colleagues were amazing. My boss and people I reported to – even more amazing. And the people I got to meet and interact with on a daily basis were a true gift. I think a person’s years of development can be loosely compartmentalized into childhood, teen years, and adult years, and I spent most of my formative adult years in this place. A place I was very proud to call my day time home. The downtown pod that I happily walked into every day was brimming with intellect, energy, ideas, and style . It was impossible not to be a fashionable group being only steps away from some of the best shopping destinations in the city. When I became pregnant and people would ask me if I planned to return to work, my response was always “of course!”. It wasn’t a question of “if”; rather it was a question of capacity (full time versus part time).

And then Theodora was born, and everything changed, almost instantly. I was amazed at how quickly my heart swelled with a love I never understood until she was in my arms. Just like that, we were beginning this new chapter as a family of three. When we left the hospital and jumped into our roles as parents, I kept thinking back to something my dad had told me many years ago. My parents always believed that I would excel at anything I put my mind to, whether it was education, work or any other life passion. But my dad also said that among my drive to succeed, he always saw me as a person deeply rooted in family. Now maybe it was my stellar performance as the oldest child (this is where you all can laugh), or maybe it was his compiled observations of me growing up, mirroring the values and morals that he and my mom raised me with. Either way, this strong, magnetic pull I was feeling towards our brand new daughter suddenly became so much more clear. This was what I wanted my next job to be: mom.

The thought processes and discussions that ensued between Alex and I were lengthy, and were revisited time, and time, and time again. This was no easy decision that could be made in a day, despite how sure I was so early on. We weighed the financial impacts, as well as the impacts this would have on my career long term. From the many angles we looked at it, and despite a couple of moments of fear, one thing remained clear all along: this was the decision that felt right for our family, and for me.

My job was something that I knew very well; however, my new mom job continues to prove that I still have a lot to learn. Thank goodness for my mom, who is always there to listen to my questions, and always very kind and gracious with her answers, no matter how silly I might sound. As a person who thrives in a busy environment and loves having something to do all of the time, motherhood is a great fit! Yet, that only occupies a portion of my brain that is all things baby, growth, development, and the next foods to introduce. I still crave being able to use the other part that reminds me of a time when the creative, business juices flowed freely! In an attempt to keep that part of my brain chugging along, I have made a bit of a promise to myself. I will do what I can to stay current, whether it’s by taking on similar projects from home, volunteering, or staying in touch with my former colleagues and see how that might work out (actually, that last point is a given, cause I just like my former day time family too much). And maybe some of these won’t work at this time, which is okay too, because this is not intended to be a permanent circumstance (I plan on, and look forward to, going back to work one day!).

There is something very cool and meaningful about one chapter coming to a natural close, with the next one opening. I’m so excited, and I feel so very lucky to be able to do this. Countless times, I have heard how fleeting these little moments are, so to be able to spend this time with Theodora means the world to Alex and I. Not only have our families rooted for us in this decision we have made, but I have been completely overwhelmed (in the best way) by the words of congratulations and support I have received from my former colleagues.

Feeling so lucky, with a very full heart.

xo,
Kassey