Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Exuberance is Good

Mom sent me an email today after reading my last post. She wondered if French kids are just really super well behaved or have I ruined her grandchildren. This is because I've mentioned that they always seem to be getting looks from French strangers.

It's not that they're not good kids. They're just American kids. They are loud. Very loud. But then so am I if I'm honest. They're giggly, happy, spirited, free…and they sometimes whine, fight, and do other things that kids do. It's just that they don't have a problem doing all of that in public.

And I'm probably a bit paranoid about standing out. I cringe when they're shushed or tssked for touching cheeses or staring deep into dead fish eyes. On Saturday I left them here and went to the grocery store on my own. As I swanned up and down the aisles, enjoying my free time, (I know, sad right?) I heard a child running in the next aisle. My ears perked up. Could it be a French child making all that noise?

And then I heard his mother calling, 'Ben!' in a very British accent. I was torn because part of me wanted so badly for it to be a French child behaving badly. The other part was delighted to be in company with another 'anglophone'.

I met up with them on the cereal aisle and gave her a smile. She looked at me with eyes that said, 'Oh, help! Why is my child doing this to me?' I told her I'd be in the same boat but for the fact that mine were at home with their dad. 'Lucky you', said she.

Today it was me again at the store, kids in tow. Before we went in we had the talk. 'Ok, listen. No embarrassing Mommy in the store.' I took a few deep breaths and decided to relax. Enjoy it and just chill out. They are good kids and I shouldn't worry if I get looks from strangers. Who knows, maybe they're reminiscing, thinking how cute and energetic my little boy is, how adorable my daughter is giggling and teasing her brother, how lovely my chubby little baby is as he stuffs his face with bananas and finally how patient and loving I am as I serenely glide through the aisles.

And they were good. Happy and silly yes, but still good. Exuberant good. Kid good.


  1. Exuberant *is* good. Don't let anyone else's looks keep you or your kids from being who they are. Easier said than done sometimes in France, but you have the right attitude. Nice post!

  2. Thanks Sion. I'm trying not to put out their fire! Luckily I think they have too much American/Texan in them to be too subdued!

  3. Yes, and the French do spank their children...



It makes my day to read your comments. They're an answer to my floating words in blogland.