Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Mummy-talk in a Second Language

Jacques and I were brought up in villages and our childhoods were very simple. You either played in your own garden with your siblings or popped round to play with other kids. You could stay for tea and no-one would bother, and you went home when it was getting late. But thirty years on all that has changed and playing with other kids is timetabled, along with the other after-school activities. You therefore need to ‘network’ other class mothers and work out what day their children are free. I have had to do a crash course in ‘second-language-mummy-talk’ to get by.

The French mothers don’t know anything about me (they are very curious) and on the first official get-together I have to go through the whole thing in French…. where I am from, where we live now, how many kids we have, which class and teacher, why I put kids in French school, what my husband does and even where we are going for the next holiday. When I have got through all that there is the confidential mummy chat….what do you really think about the teacher and have you heard about so-and-so who had an affair…. After emerging from the home a French neighbor, who offered me a coffee when I arrived to pick up Gabriel and interrogated me for 40 minutes, I felt like I was 16 again and taking my oral exam in French. I just need a certificate in ‘mummy-talk’ now!

2 comments:

sean said...

Love the blog, and read the column in the magazine too!

Not quite "mummy talk" in the sense you mean, but any advice on "non-swearing" gratefully received ...

http://papaetpiaf.wordpress.com/2009/08/17/je-defends/

Alan said...

It is interesting blog. I feel that in childhood, we play many family reunion games. Now we miss it and try to remember those childhood days.