June 17, 2011

An A-List Interview: Julia Pimsleur-Levine

Julia with her son Adrian when he was just a few weeks old.

If I could go back in time and change one thing about my childhood, I would have been raised speaking more than one language. As we now know, small children can pick up a second language almost as easily as they can pick up germs at daycare. But growing up in Montana, foreign language programs were not easily accessible, and great tools like Julia Pimsleur-Levine’s “Little Pim” series weren’t yet available.

In my (humble) opinion, nothing teaches you more about your own language, culture and biases than speaking another language, full of its own culture and biases. So I think my follow-up question for Julia would be, “When are you going to make an easy solution for the adult mom still trying to learn a second language?”

Ali Wing: What’s your motto?

Julia Pimsleur-Levine: Every parent can be his or her child’s first language tutor.

AW: What inspires you?

JPL: French lullabies, like Alouette, Frère Jacques and Fais Dodo, Colas mon Petit Frère. I love singing them to my boys at bedtime. They know all the words now and we sing them together. Singing these songs together reminds me why I love sharing the French language and culture with them, and making it possible for other parents to share a second language and culture with their children.

The Little Pim staff, celebrating at their annual holiday party.

AW: Who is your hero?

JPL: Amelia Earhart, first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, for her persistence, mastery of her craft and ability to dream big.

AW: What are you currently reading?

JPL: Integrity by Henry Cloud. I’m also reading A to Z Mysteries with my older son, Emmett, and almost

everything by P.D. Eastman with my younger son, Adrian (Are You My Mother? is a current favorite).

AW: What’s your favorite city/location/destination?

JPL: Antibes, France. I spent summers there as a child and adore that it’s barely changed since then. My family goes there every summer for simple French-style living, beach fun, delicious food and dazzling sunsets.

AW: Who is your favorite composer, or what is your favorite music genre?

JPL: I love pop music. My boys and I like to make up dances to Lady Gaga songs. We also listen to a lot of French music and music from around the world.

AW: What is the favorite baby gift you received?

JPL: Zip on and off crib sheets. They saved me on so many nights when I could change the sheets and get back to bed within 15 minutes!

AW: What is the one baby product you can’t/couldn’t live without?

JPL: My Stokke high chair. Both boys used it from infancy right through toddlerhood. I loved having a functional yet attractive high chair that blended with my dining room and that they loved to climb into. It was like a member of our family — I had hard time giving it up when they outgrew it!

Julia's sons, Adrian and Emmett -- ready to set sail!

AW: Please complete the following:

…make(s) me laugh.

JPL: Chasing my three year-old into his room after his bath while saying, “I’m going to get you!” and hearing his delighted peals of laughter …that’s about the best sound I can think of.

My proudest parenting moment was…

JPL: …when my son, Emmett, helped a little girl who was crying on the playground (at age four ). He had never seen her before, but when he heard her crying because she hurt her leg, he stopped playing, went over to her and offered her a Band Aid and a hug. I was so proud of his big heart.

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