Thursday, June 14, 2012

Basic French Bebe Training

 Yesterday's post on 'Stripe Training' got me thinking about Basic French Training in general. Most French cultural ways are instilled in infancy if not sooner IMHO. Like the essential wearing of trench coats for example.
 The bow too is a key to unlock the secrets of French je ne sait quoi
 The fine tuning of the famous French taste buds begins with a vast variety of penny candy. Wearing it on your Anne Maisonneuve T-shirt doesn't hurt a bit in developing one's connoisseurship from the get-go. It's never too early to start. Haribo here I come!
 The fine arts of pastry indoctrination begins as soon as little hands can grasp a crayon.
 As explained in Bringing Up Bebe, French children bake every weekend. I tried this in hopes of a bit of regression therapy, but my cake was a mess and I did NOT wait to eat it at 'gouter'/snack time (4:30 PM). So both the arte of waiting and baking were completely lost on moi. 'You can't go home again' as Thomas Wolfe said, especially if France wasn't your home to begin with.
Lecon learned - no more weekend baking for me.
 Let's hope I do a better job of it and can catch up to this savvy kidlets.
 On to more serious training like the wearing of the French scarf. You can pick up a lot about what makes the French tick if you just lower your eyes to 3-foot level in my opinion.
 Since everyone desperately wants to be French (or at least 95% of us) consider looking down at the French kiddies instead of running off to Ave. Montagne and Dior.
 Why Don't French Women get fat?
They start wearing horizontal stripes early.
 VERY early.
 Even French dogs get stripe training.
 Developing the senses early is de rigueur.
At a recent book fair an editor told me she'd just spent 6 months in Paris and French moms did NOT participate in sandbox activities at all. Instead they were off on a bench chatting. Clearly she had not read Bringing Up Bebe nor had her child had 'sand training' to develope the sense of touch and taste.
Clearly I won't be getting any review copies from her in the near future either, ahem.

May I suggest a visit to Il Etait Une Fois..5, rue Casette 75006 or any other any other kid's toy or clothing store. Rue Vavin is another good place to get your Basic French Training.
Bear, being French, agrees completely!


  1. Maybe I should get Harry The Cat one of those stripey jacket things...

    I finally finished Bringing Up Bebe. Very interesting. I'm going to share it with my mother, who has been an early childhood educator for her entire career.

    I even made the French Yogurt cake. It's the best recipe for it so far...but still not perfect. Or it could be the "technique" of the baker...

    1. THIS baker flunked.
      will come to Minnesota for lecons!!

  2. Have fun at tea:) Certainly served in a Downton Abbey fashion:)Elle est mignonne ta petite:)~

    I really love everything you show us:) You must have scads of photos(guilty here too..but so..too many flowers:) )..

    Have a great day!

  3. Anonymous1:13 PM

    Wonderful post today! Merci! I am getting quite a full book case ,everytime you name a book,I have to have it. I have loved all of them. Re; weekend baking,I finally tried my hand at making Macarons!!! The first was a disaster because the powdered sugar I borrowed from a neighbor was BAD!!! Living rural is funny that way, no stores are open at night. 14 mile round trip to get sugar and Igrabbed the wrong box. (granulated) haha. SO with my son helping & doing all the clean up I now understand how large a kitchen one needs to spread out & do all the steps. 2nd time we did better. yum! I will never have macs that look like Lauduree.They almost all cracked but the taste was Great.Maybe we need to stripe them? Thanks for the inspiration.xo fan from Rural Oregon

    1. the way to go is bi-colored Oregon...
      so that means TWO perfect macarons of different colors - not an easy solution IMHO
      Bon Courage!

  4. Anonymous2:28 PM

    sounds a lot like Basic Training in the Army with pastries thrown in..

  5. I love the cute pastry cook kit !! far better for little girls than the usual cleaning lady kit :)

    1. Cleaning Lady Kits?!
      I've heard of Doctor/Nurse kits but not for cleaning...though I did have dollhouse size AJAX come to think of it and maybe a tiny mop...

  6. I like Anon's comment :)
    Some great shots, Carol, I especially like the kid riding on dad's shoulders and the pooch..

  7. Norma8:23 PM

    The watercolors have arrived. Think they are fabulous!!!!
    I couldn't be happier. Was going to save them for Christmas-but I can't
    Possibly. Just love them! Thank you so much. Love William and Lillie on
    your sight on Etsy.
    You are a very tAlented lady-and super efficient.
    Love my babies in Carol Gillott watercolors.
    Thanks so much/

  8. this is such a great post! it has humor and an educational side on ways that are french. i like your feature on the kids also. :)

  9. I LOVE the little French dog with the striped sweater.. adorable..oh and your painting is even more adorable. Another fun post.

  10. Hello
    This is my 1st comment. (I've been enjoying your blog for a long time though)
    Have you read "French Kids Eat Everything" by Karen Le Billon? It's similar to Bebe (which is titled "French Children Don't Throw Food" here in the UK, btw)and a pleasure to read for non-mothers too.

  11. Thanks Tomokot
    I've looked it over and found it interesting indeed.
    I find 'French Kids Don't...' reaches a more overall clarification of the whys and ways of French culture in general for me at least. It changed my experiences in France because I became more aware of the nuances of French politesse perhaps.

  12. Germaine11:01 AM

    I really like the colors you use in your watercolors.
    They are so " macarons and gelato" and love the bebes.
    Would you please share the watercolor paints you use in your palette, and the brand ( Winsor Newton, Daniel Smith ????).
    If you don't wish to, I understand.

    In the fall I'll be in Paris and will check out the art supply shops there and, most likely, will purchase something (many things).

    By the way, due to your Paris Breakfast's recommendaiton, I'm reading and thoroughly enjoying "Tout Sweet".

    1. Hi Germaine,
      I use Winsor & Newton like everyone else.
      Nothing fancy - mostly your basic colors from my teacher, David Dewey's book, THE WATERCOLOR BOOK.
      Brt Sienna, Yell ochre, brt umber cobalt blue cerulean French blue etc.
      I've been painting 20 years, so it has more to do with experience than a particular color palette.
      Everyone should find their own colors IMHO that suit them best.

  13. Anonymous11:27 AM

    Always a pleasure to read and LOOK.For food France is truly amazing but French dressing is chic? I don't see it on the street so much; I see much more style on the streets of Rome. It's 'leçon' I think. The cedilla under the c changes the sound from c = cat to s = silly. I just noted in a French novel I am reading the word 'les sons' = the sounds. I'll bet that's where we get our word 'lessons' from. Thanks for your great items of interest and entertainment. Gwendoline. Australia.

  14. Dianne5:51 PM

    I received your wonderful baby watercolors and am thrilled!
    Love each one!
    Your style and talent are in perfect unison with each painting!
    Thank you so much!

  15. Hello Carol,

    I found this article in the papers today:

    If we ask nicely, maybe Bear could do the walking tour of these very elegant arcades and report back to us? :)

  16. Those tea-partying kidlets are just adorable in their boots, legs crossed and the lot!

  17. Anonymous3:53 AM

    I love your drawing style and how you use the colors on your drawing. I also love your blog, you showed us how an artist notice things differently then the rest of us, lovely!


  18. The book 'Tout Sweet' arrived and now I'm back from holiday:(

    I love that maybe french women don't get fat because they were stripes from an early age... priceless!!

    Now I want to check out David Dewey's book, THE WATERCOLOR BOOK....

    Have a nice week:)

  19. no matter how hard I try, I can never get my scarf to have that "I just threw this on and it looks perfect je ne sais quoi" thing. I guess it's my moms fault for not starting me of at age two.

    1. Yes yell at yr mother
      How come my mother didn't take me to Fauchon for elairs instead of making home-made oatmeal cookies?

  20. I'm getting some good basic training myself from your posts, sharply observant as always. Also I'm in deep envy of the woman striding past Il était une fois - I want her legs!

  21. I really liked you explanation why French ladies don't get fat! :-)

  22. Not having read the book, I am a little confused about "sand training" - are French moms supposed to play "in the box"? (I confess that all I ever did on the playground was pushing the little ones on the swing, sitting in the sandbox never even crossed my mind.)

    1. It implies letting kids play by themselves, amuse themselves with simple things developing independence.
      In the book the author goes to the playground loaded with a bag of toys and books. The Fr moms bring a ball or less and leave the kiddies to figure it out and socialize with the other moms.
      c'est comme ca
      Read the book - very interesting on manny issues IMHO

    2. Thank you, Carol, that is wonderful news:
      I AM A FRENCH MOM! Yoohoo! :-)
      The only thing I ever did on the playground was pushing my sweet little ones on the swing. My kids would have been aghast if I had tried to join them in the sandbox! ;-)

  23. You are the funniest and witty beyond words! xo Z


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