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Joyeux Noel, kiddies

I have this friend here in Paris who had a baby a few months ago. Seeing how difficult it is to be just one American in Paris, I asked her how tricky it must be to bring another American into this crazy Parisian world. Besides the obvious social benefits that the French government provides new mums, there is a totally different approach to child rearing here that is a little more pro-mommy. She said french mothers don’t tolerate “le petit roi” or the little king. In the states many parents let their kids do whatever they want at the dinner table, like interrupt guests, get fussy over food, and generally demand all their parents’ attention all the time. Apparently that just doesn’t fly in french households, where meals are still sacred and children are expected to be seen but not heard. Perhaps it’s that inherent sense of self-restraint that keeps them in line, and let’s be honest, all Parisians possess this quality (if you don’t believe me just read about “stuff parisians like”, in particular their affinity for moderation and you will be convinced). Of course if that doesn’t work then parents can always threaten to take their kids to the local Père Noël and instill some god-fearing (or in this case Santa-fearing) sense in them:

Christmas window at Citadium near Les Halles, Paris

Citadium is a generally insupportable “concept” store, but they get major props for their Christmas window!

Haven’t yet figured out the word play Noyeux Joel, but when I google it dirty pictures of couples in matching christmas thongs come up, so there’s that.

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