Last night I heard Pamela Druckerman (author of my fav book, Bringing Up Bebe) talk at Barnes & Nobles. Pamela spent three years researching/writing her book while raising three children in Paris. She never expected all the controversy or enormous interest it's aroused. She thought perhaps only new moms or grandmothers would read it. In fact there is interest world-wide. A French edition will be coming out. The French want to know what their doing right!
Reading BUB as an aunt/grand-aunt, there are many things I would do over given the chance. But mostly I find Pamela's book full of clues to what makes the French tick. My copy is a wreck of notes and yellow underlinings.
French enfants are nudged onto 4-X-a-day set feedings exactly when the whole family eats. Is it any wonder the French have low obesity (8%)?
No snacking in between.
French children learn to wait for mealtime.
Isn't 'La Formule' (entree+plat+dessert) served in French restaurants at noon a continuation of the 4-course lunches children eat at la creche?
The French Paradox may be more about eating in moderation at set times than drinking wine.
French enfants are given their first doudou at la creche. Is it any wonder they remain attached to stuffed animals? Where are the cashmere bears at Donna Karan's?
Cashmere for him, for her and a giant panda too. Childish playfulness is ongoing for the French in my opinion.
Everyone, young and old, loves nounours/chocolate marshmallow bears.
Why is there no serious museum in NYC with ongoing + new toy exhibitions like Musee des arts Decoratifs?
A French passion for the things of childhood (including La vache qui rie cheese)...
Creates an inherent playfulness in French culture as I see it. Spritz yourself in Bloomingdales with perfume and you'll be set upon by staff. In Printemps/Galeries Lafayette it's a free-for all. Spritz and play as much as you want. No one cares or expects you to buy.
If you want to see French parenting in action take a stroll down rue Vavin, 75006 - a pedestrian street. Or read Pamela's book if France is not on your menu.
(Just two weeks to go!)
I plan to eat a lot more fruit compote (merci Pamela) this time in Paris...
And less peche mignon(forbidden pleasures).
And only at set meal times! So that's my take away from Bringing Up Bebe.
I'd love to hear yours.