Language, actually languages, are well developed and delightful. Thing 1 is well on her well to being truly bilingual. There is some mixing: "Papa why do personnes utiliser money?" but typically sentence will come out either fully in French (when directed to me) or fully in English (when directed to Papa). Some of my favorite sentences of this holiday season were:
when asked to apologize to Thing 2 for some transgression:
"Je peux pas m'excuser parce-que ca fait fatiguer dans mon ventre."
(I can't apologize because it makes me tired in my stomach) which I thought was a poetic way to describe that feeling of simply not being able to swallow one's pride and apologize even in the face of egregious wrong.
"Mon bouche ne peux pas dire ce mot."
(my mouth cannot say that word)
"Je vais partager avec maman, papa, moi,bebe et moi."
(I am going to share with me, mom, dad, baby and me.)
Like a typical Montrealer, she often uses the vocabulary of one of our official languages with the phrase-ology of the other so, for example, instead of saying "Can you help me?" she will ask "You can help me?". "You can come here and bring me the blanket." Seriously, it won't me long before she is saying "I need some informations" and "Open the light."
She uses her language skills to great advantage to understand the world around her with the never ending whys... or more usually, pourquois. So much so that I have named a new species of bird the Pourquoi (pronounced pour-KWHA! ending with a squawking sound). I summon the bird when I have reached a level of nested pourquoi that I can no longer handle... usually 4-5 pourquois deep. Papa has much more pourquoi endurance than I do and I have overheard him explaining the bonds between ions that form metals or in one case our current understanding of human intelligence.
One of our friends speaks of a "window of cooperation" that lasts from 4 years of age until about 11 years depending of course on the child. We have not yet reached that window however I can see it in the distance. It is a candle lit window in a house, at the edge of a snow covered field at twilight on a cold winter's night. Beyond the field is a small wood and we are at the edge of those woods. We are slogging through the deep snow towards that window and it is slow going but at least now we can see the window and we believe it exists.
Which isn't to say that Thing 1 isn't already a sweet and helpful child. If she overhears Papa saying his feet are cold, she will bring him his slippers (seriously between that and Thing 2 eating crumbs off of the floor under the table we really have no need for a family dog). She is also gleefully protective of Thing 2:
"No Juliette you can't have that, it's dangerous for you!" she will shout as she takes away a dime from Thing 2 though because her English strangely has an Eastern European (??) accent it comes out as:
"No Yulee-ette, you canna have dat! Eeees dangrus fah yooouuu"
(sorry if that was offensive to Eastern Europeans, perhaps I say that because when she speaks English she reminds me so much of my grandmother who always spoke with a strong Ukrainian accent).
Thing 1 is solidly in her princess phase. One of her favorite pass times is the pull out all of her party dresses (at last count she has more than 40 all purchased for under $3 and shipped to us by a well meaning but overly indulgent family member) and try them on one by one, or sometimes, all at once. Dressing is a battle. She is quite particular about what she wears and despite her vast and varied wardrobe, she tends to stick to the same 2-3 dresses day in and day out. I've put this into the category of battles not worth fighting... a ever growing category I might add.
I have also noticed a huge, step change in her ability t entertain herself. She can sit quietly for upwards of 30 minutes sorting coins, lining up the spice jars or similar. She can allow us enough time to cook a meal, clean a room or even have an adult conversation.
So all in all 41 months is perhaps the beginning of a truce. The beginning of the wonder years. There are big decisions about her future looming but for now we hold our sweet girl who is no longer a toddler close (when she lets us), fight the battles we need to fight, sidestep those not worth it and try to drink it all in.
Current favorite breakfast: bowl of snow.