Adventures in Drool: Being French
Ever wondered how some parents seem to have it all together when out to lunch in a nice restaurant? You know the ones - with the well-behaved children calming eating or playing at the table, while parents have an adult conversation and enjoy their meal.
Sounds like a postcard, doesn't it?
Before I was a mom, I never realized how much effort it takes to keep a young child calm. But, now I have found the best way to achieve that picture-perfect scene is through practice - lots and lots of practice.
My budding terror is nearly nine months old, and I can already see the pent-up energy bubbling at the surface during each meal. He is always ready to get out of the high chair and onto more interesting activities, but hubby and I are planning ahead and practicing having sane and dignified meals at home. The hope is that when we take this show public, it does not result in a screaming child being carried out to the car mid-meal.
This practice of ours is also an underlying French habit. I recently finished reading "Bringing up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting."
This is a really enjoyable book. Not only did I find help for raising a well-behaved child, I also found tips on eating healthy and raising a child who will enjoy all the tastes of field, farm and stream.
I am now making hubby read it as well. It is not just a parenting guide for moms: I really think dads would benefit as well.
Author Pamela Druckerman talks about teaching patience, which is one of the best lessons parents can teach children, in my opinion. Patience allows every person to relax while waiting. It teaches that instant gratification isn't always necessary.
Waiting in lines, waiting for a table and waiting for food are very common, every-day occurrences that everyone must deal with, and patience teaches us all that we can deal with it civilly.
The book isn't written necessarily as a how-to; it lays out anecdotes about Druckerman's own experiences living in France and raising children. She talks about topics from choosing childcare to deciding what food to put in their little mouths.
Besides teaching patience, Druckerman also talks about creating an individual. She tells a story of French children who at ages of four go off on excursions without their parents to awake and discover nature.
Even now, I shudder to think of sending such a small child off into nature without me or a parent.
But, in France, this is normal. They want their children to discover the world around them. This awakening is considered more important that learning the alphabet or reading, which are sought-after skills in America, often from a very early age.
The French want their children to become individuals - to become content with themselves first. The school education comes later.
In the end, I really enjoyed the book and would recommend it to any parent. It's an easy read that entertains and educates, and I will likely read it again when my new French-ness gets rusty.
For more information on Druckerman or the book, go to www.pameladruckerman.com.
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