DEAR MISS MANNERS: We are American expats residing in France. Our home is bilingual: Our children speak to us in French, and we speak to them in English. It's now so automatic we don't even think about it.
Our neighbor's cousin visited us from the U.S., along with her daughter, who is our daughter's age.
While my daughter and the American girl were playing at our house, my daughter turned to me to ask me something -- I don't even recall what -- and I replied, upon which our young guest turned to me and asked (referring to my daughter), "What did she say?!"
I was taken aback and truthfully annoyed, so I replied, "I was talking to (my daughter)" and went to another room. Should I have handled it otherwise?
GENTLE READER: While you may not like the manner in which she asked, this young girl was presumably in France hoping to learn French. Asking for a translation was not unreasonable.
If the conversation was private, you should have taken pains to make it so. Or in a rare exception to the rule against holding private conversations in front of other people, replied back to your daughter in French to encourage the girl to learn. Then you could have said, nicely and with a smile, and in English, "We're hoping to encourage you to learn French and join the conversation."