Surely étonner works for surprising Maman? I would have thought it would, if anything, be a better choice? Merci!
Freeform Writing Exercise A2
Chris is correct that "surprendre" is used when you want to surprise someone "pleasantly". In this context, "étonner" would not work.
I hope this is helpful.
Bonne journée !
I guess both would be an option here, but surprendre is commonly used when you surprise someone pleasantly.
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