On the weekend I picked up a ‘Best of the Muppet Show’ DVD and as it’s a rainy miserable day (three days shy of summer, my eye) I thought this the ideal time to spend the afternoon with our colourful singing puppet friends.

And then I discovered it is in ‘Version Française’ – and ONLY version française. Okay, so it’s good for me (and the kids) to watch TV in French, and plus, it’s easier for me to block out if it’s playing in French while I’m in the room working on the computer… but it’s not quite the same.

I got a bunch of other familiar favourites with the particular intention of watching them in French, after last week’s rediscovery of ER (and the minor tear-fest that followed…) I certainly understand more of the language than I used to, but it’s hard to gauge how much progress I’m making.

My daughter Elena turns one next week and her progress is much more noticeable and exciting than my ready transition between the passé compose and imparfait tenses. Let’s just say, no one has a problem spotting the differences if they don’t see her for a couple of weeks.

She is proper-crawling now, on her hands and knees, and only needs a hand-hold to get up onto her feet. She won’t walk unless she’s holding both our hands but she’ll move a little – from one piece of furniture to another, or from side to side, to reach some toy-temptation. She says ‘mama’ and feeds herself given the opportunity, although hasn’t quite mastered the art of the spoon.

the art of the spoon

I might feed her breakfast for a little while longer yet.

She is certainly developing her own preferences and the will-power to make them reality.

elena adds something


Maybe she has an idea for the painting. It’s in need of another coat.

She’s playing by herself much more happily than before but definitely prefers the company of her brother.

on their bikes


And if Louis can do it, she wants to try. Unfortunately that little wooden bike is not very stable and  doesn’t respond well to the leaning-method of turning a corner…

teeth time


She recently cut her second tooth, which means teeth-time! Why stop at her own when Louis might need a hand?

She’s a busy little girl and all the learning and progress is delightful to witness, if a little (code: a lot) exhausting. But such is the nature of growth. It can be hard to spot the difference, but easy to feel the weight and wear of making it happen. I’m re-writing a romance novel I wrote a couple of years ago and it’s easy to spot the flaws now, but not that long ago I thought it was ready to publish. Hopefully, the new version will be a notable improvement, and maybe even pay off… in the form of publication. That’d be nice.

As to French, I spent yesterday afternoon with a French friend I haven’t seen in months. I was looking forward to seeing her but also dreading how much it would wear me out, just trying to listen and pick up all the vocabulary and tenses and crazy, confusing exceptions to every rule (reflexive verbs – gah!), and planning everything I want to say, and misunderstanding each other…

But it was much easier than expected! The sun was shining, we sat in her garden, drank our coffees, watched the kids play, and maintained a conversation entirely in French. Hurrah! I managed to tell her a bit about my novels, and our plans for the future, as well as give a basic outline of our recent holidays. I understood a bit about her work and her son’s progress, and we made plans for the weekend. Her partner is fluent in English but we won’t need to rely on that as much as we did last time. Go team!