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Last month my kids’ school had a fundraiser by holding a “loto” evening. Somehow I got wrangled into going by another parent and after some shaky questioning to the teachers, I established that it was “bingo.”

"Loto" or "bingo" or "how to embarrass your kids by not knowing your numbers." There was even a board at the front of the room to mark off the numbers already called. I had to focus my old eyes from the board to the numbers in front of me and recall the French words...I could feel the hairs on my head turn gray.

Chouette! (=Great!) I know how to play bingo! And I know my numbers up to 100 in French. BUT soon my ageing brain couldn’t keep up with the translation of numbers in my head, nor keep track of 6 bingo cards, and I had trouble hearing the numbers called out (too many rock concerts in my youth, dammit!). Luckily, an assistant from the maternelle saw the beads of sweat on my brow and stood over us for a good half hour to help. Soonafter, Clarisse lost interest and moved her markers all over her cards, playing her own version of bingo. But William got caught up in the excitement (or was that a gambling rush from believing one will win?) and competently played. There’s nothing like a good bingo game to brush up on your French numbers…I am still numb from the experience.

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