Friday, June 24, 2011

Not from around here

My mother-in-law was chatting a few days ago with the woman across the hall and le Petit was listening in on the conversation. The woman mentioned something about how le Petit's mom is an American.

"Oui," le Petit chimed in, "And I am, too. And so is my sister, because we took her to the embassy."

He's fascinated by geography these days, and pores over the children's atlases we've purchased for him even though they're meant for children twice his age.

"Is Saint-Ouen in Europe, Mommy?" he asked me, randomly, about a suburb on the northeastern edge of Paris that we pass on our way to Troyes. Yes, I assured him, it is. I've tried to explain cities and countries and continents to him by showing progressively bigger distances between my hands. Saint-Ouen is in Europe because it is in France, and France is in Europe.

He'll often talk to me about Italy, which he explains is in Europe, and Spain, also in Europe. As we listened to the BBC streaming on the computer yesterday, I explained that it was radio from London, in the UK.

"Is the UK in Europe, Mommy?"

I assured him that it was. Later, as I was in the kitchen, the BBC switched back to Seattle's local NPR station -- I listen to the streaming of KUOW which early in the morning Seattle time is still the BBC World Service -- and le Petit told me that the radio was now 'United States radio.'

"How did you know that?" I asked amazed, wondering if he'd interpreted the change in accent (unlikely), or just overheard the station identification as Seattle and known that Seattle was in the US. He stared at me, confused, unsure how to answer. Then we were back to 'London Radio,' and as le Petit remembered from watching the royal wedding on TV, London is home to Buckingham Palace.

"Mommy," he told me excitedly, "[Mademoiselle] is in Buckingham Palace!"

I glanced at Mademoiselle, sitting in her high chair.

"And why do you say that?"

"Because, Mommy, because she's got a balcony!"

Sure enough: the high chair tray.

"And Mommy," le Petit continued, and I expected him to say something about her being a princess, "Mommy, her head is... a flag!" He giggled at the idea.

A little later, as we were eating lunch, he stopped to say with great seriousness, "Mommy, you are a-mé-ri-caine. And Daddy, Daddy is... pa-ri-si-enne [sic]!"

I texted my husband with the news, and toulousain that he is, I think he was a little bit disappointed.

4 comments:

Cloud said...

I'm loving these stories you're telling these days....

For the concept of cities being in countries, etc- you could try a book called "Me on the Map". It is very US centric, though- the girl lives in Kansas.

hush said...

Le Petit sounds so clever!

Funny, sounds like we both listen to the same NPR station. ;)

caramama said...

I love the highchair tray representing a balacony! So cute!

My daughter is starting to learn just a little bit of geography at school, and we've talked some at home, too. Although I tend towards talking about planets than countries. My geography may suck, but I definitely know we are on Earth and that Mars and Venus are on either side of Earth!

Sylvie said...

Happy Fourth of July to you Americans, large and petits,in Paris!