From the time that the lils first began to really understand us, Willy and I would switch to French when we wanted to discuss something that we didn’t want them to hear. This most often surrounded what vegetable was hidden in their pasta sauce, whether or not it was bath night, or who would be putting which child to bed. None of these were really conversations that the lils would have been harmed by if they had heard them, but they were occasionally tantrum inducing, so we played it safe. These weren’t secrets, per se, it was just convenient.
As they got older, we began to use French more and more. They were starting to get more independent, and our conversations no longer revolved around what they had eaten , who had pooped last, or how many times either had gotten up I the night, so we started to talk about life and the world around us more. Some things, like things from my work and some current events were too much for them, so we spoke French. I needed the practice, so we ended up talking French more than we needed to. It was nice, actually.
In the last year, Woo started to get upset with our use of the secret language. He knew that we were talking about things that he was not allowed to hear for a variety of reasons and it frustrated him. We got a bit of a reprieve when he started learning Spanish at school, as it gave Woo and Goose a secret language of their own, a language that we did not speak or understand. They reprieve ended when we returned to Canada and he was no longer learning Spanish.
The demands to know what we were talking about increased. We were no longer able to have even the most innocent conversation in French without Woo and Goose being curious. Then one day, after they had been in school for about three weeks, Woo interrupted our conversation to ask what was “red”. He’d been paying attention, and picked up on the word “rouge”. Several days later, they asked me to count in French for them, and when I got to trente-huit, Goose interrupted and told me that I had reached my age (she was right). Now it seems that every day they identify more in our conversations and learn more words.
Now we have no secrets. We have to be really careful when we chose to use French, and more often than not we chose to defer conversations that are sensitive to when the lils are not within earshot, and hope that we remember to resume them. A lot of the time, I don’t remember. I think it is time that we learn a new language.