Grand-Père and Grand-Mère are staying with us this month, as per our now well-established family tradition. As summer lingers in Cleveland we are taking on home projects, exploring the city, going out, and enjoying our time together in many other ways.
Last week we went to Minette‘s school and kicked off her class’ series of monthly cultural lunches with a conversation about France and a home-made French meal. The children were especially keen on my gougères (cheese puffs from Franche-Comté) and canelés (mini pastries from Bordeaux), I am glad to report.
It was fun to talk with them and get a sense of what six- or seven-year-olds come up with when France is the topic. I found it sweet to hear them mention Minette as the first thing that came to mind when they thought of France. Perhaps not surprisingly, the next thing was food, croissants and French toast namely. The Eiffel Tower was a big item too.
Another thing we have kicked off this year is playing Boggle with Minette. Boggle, the game in which you compose words with 16 lettered dices, used to be a favorite in my family. It mattered to me growing up because my parents were generally not very eager on games. But Boggle was an exception. I think I also loved the game because I’d usually beat everyone in my family – thankfully, this never seemed to discourage my parents. Only my best friend was a match.
Because Minette is only six we have relaxed the rules for her. She gets points for one- and two-letter words, but is encouraged to find longer ones. Also, she can come up with both English and French words. With her special rules, she gets to make the best of her knowledge of her two Western languages, she learns spelling because misspelled words get no points, and she can score nicely because grownups don’t compete on words shorter than three letters. I told her we would set her cutoff at two letters when she turns seven. Life is made of exciting challenges, right?
As for my Boggle glory days, I have a sense they are a thing of the past. Sure, I can still beat my parents, but Appa has entered the battle… The other day we played all together. He played in English; Grand-Père, Grand-Mère and I played in French; and Minette played in both languages. When I realized Appa was much ahead of us I decided to switch to English in order to compete with him directly – in Boggle words found by more than one player gets canceled out. Well, my move was not particularly clever because his English vocabulary is significantly richer than mine (something I knew pretty well) and it is less easy for me to play in English than in French anyway. So much for smart tactics…
Both Appa and I like playing games as a family. As a kid it was never easy to get my parents to play, except for Boggle. The funny thing is, now it’s Minette we must persuade to play because she’s not much into board games, at least not yet. I hope my beloved Boggle will also be an exception for her. It looks like it might…