I can't speak a lick of French anymore. I never really could, but I studied it once in the dark ages, although I never "applied" myself and couldn't track the conversations we were having even then when I had learned all the irregular verbs. But now that I'm older and wiser (or at least more aware of my failings) I wish that I was bilingual. "I'm smart," I think to myself. "Smart people speak more than one language, don't they?" And my liberal four-year college was no help; all they needed was proof that I was educated in English to graduate. I fooled them, huh?
One of the bun's many nicknames is his French incarnation, a name that my husband gave him: Pooker le Du. Similar to Pepe le Peu and just as meaningless, we call him Pooker le Du all the time. The inflection is invariably crappy French, and we say "Pooooo-ker le Du! C'est bon, c'est bon!" We string together the six French words we know between us, and babble mangled French at the poor bebe.
But the ugly truth of the matter is that because I'm a horrible day-dreamer, I actually think to myself, "If I drum up enough French from my past and yackity-yack at the bun in my worse-than-fractured tongue, we'll raise a bilingual bun, right? I mean, it's practically guaranteed! He'll hear the ghastly accent and the meaningless verbiage and by-gum, he'll not only speak French, but Cantonese, and Arabic, and maybe the rare dialect of some hill tribe in the Andes! My god, it will be like he's reinventing anthropological linguistics!"
And then I realize that I'm completely out of my tree. I don't know what comes over me: what should be totally and completely wholesome playful nonsense becomes some warped early-childhood educational tool. And then I relax and stop projecting my ridiculous dreams on him, and he giggles with relief.
But it could happen. Can't you see that?