Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Bull in a China Shop or How my American Kid Stands Out in a Crowd

The Baby is starting mother's day out. Except in France it's called creche or garderie and is affiliated with the ville we live in. It is essentially free and if you live in the town the have to let your baby attend. Now when I say 'baby'  you know I mean my 2 year-old. He's been with me non-stop until now but he's the third child and therefore very 'thirdish'--independent, physical, dare I say it?, spoiled.

As is the way of living a life abroad, especially in another language that you have only a finger-hold grasp on, all of these daily things take on a different hue. I just put myself out there, find the information and act on it; swallowing my fear, insecurities and confusion. So, I do what I'm told and try to roll with it. Yesterday was his first day and I was to come with him, stay for an hour for 'adaptation' and then we would both leave. We weren't the only mother and child team being groomed for creche yesterday but we were the only American duo.

Off to a great start, he played with the cars, climbed on the jungle gym and loved on a baby doll. Well-rounded. Then it was singing time and he was supposed to sit in a tiny chair arranged in a circle and calmly listen to French songs, dutifully placid and properly tranquil. The one moment of energy and chaos akin to what most KinderMusic groups I've been in was when three of the children spontaneously stood up and began dancing. 'Ah, danse, danse!', clapped the teachers. And it has to be said, they looked uncomfortable about it.
This is where it went wrong. Where my little American baby shone. Where the other mothers and teachers tut-tutted, smiled tentatively, shared dismayed glances, 'Why won't this child sit quietly like the others?'. And this is where I worried that they might not have to let us in after all. Maybe there's some French loophole that says if the child won't calmly listen to les chansons then he's out of there.
Intensely Calm

The interesting thing, on a sociological level, is that my child, while being legally an American, has never lived in the US. He's only ever spent 2 weeks there. He's lived all his life abroad. Yet, he is different. He is American. Because we are.

Thankfully we were invited back. We went this morning and he was the same during song time, only today he was more vocal, 'NOOOO!!!', when I tried (cringe) to make him sit still and listen. I hopelessly tried to channel a message to him, 'play the game man, be cool and act calm...it's only for a few minutes!'

Tomorrow I'm supposed to bring him back for half an hour. On his own. What will he do? I feel sick just thinking about him let loose on all those docile, petite, French kids. Dial down the American would you, please, please for the love.

1 comment:

  1. All is forgiven when he wears that casquette. Hook em!


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