How Do You Say Kindergarten in French?

O is almost six years old. She has lost two teeth, bottom middle. Only one made its way to the tooth fairy. The other seemed to evaporate. We suspect the dog may have eaten it. She is more than halfway through French Immersion Kindergarden. All of the above statements feel utterly impossible to me. 

 This is what all of my pictures of O look like lately

This is what all of my pictures of O look like lately

After all of the agony and tears and paperwork (thanks a million, LAUSD) that went into deciding where to send her for Kinder, she ended up at a small neighborhood school, out of our district but not too far, in the first year of their French immersion program. She does a half-day in French and a half-day in English. She claims to hate French, but I catch her counting in French when she is doing homework, singing in French softly to herself while she draws, and her face just beams whenever anyone mentions her French teacher. I, occasionally, indulge myself in day dreams of visiting her in Paris someday.  I speak a little French and at least feel equipped to help with kinder homework, but I'm pretty sure by the third grade, she will have lapped me linguistically. 

In the end, the thing that helped us decide where to send her wasn't the research on bilingual education or the school's rating. It was a piece of advice I received from a friend, who also happens to be a parent and an elementary school teacher. Pick the school based on who you want to be parenting alongside, she told me. After all of the advice, research, and data, that was the thing that seemed to make the most sense. Find a community.

So many of the answers to my big life questions have boiled down to that in the past few years.  Feeling artistically stifled by LA and all of it's LA-yness. Find a community of artists who uplift and support each other. Feeling lonely and out of synch as new parent of two little kids in a city that isn't particularly little-kid friendly. Find a preschool community of like-minded, invested parents who will offer support in ways you couldn't ever imagine. Feeling overwhelmed by a new life-changing diagnosis for your three-year-old. Find a community where, well, we are still working on that one. 

So that's what we did. Several of O's friends from preschool had chosen this program. The parents I met at the booster club meeting and the school tour seemed interested and involved. Honestly, the French is just an interesting side note. The school is small by LAUSD standards, under 300 kids, still, a bigger pond than the ones I'm usually comfortable swimming in, but we are getting our feet wet, one toe at a time. O seems really happy there and that goes a heck of a long way. 

Just for the record, je ne sais pas comment se termine aujourd'hui.