Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Oh Ex-Girlfriend Where Art Thou? - Part 2

At Monoprix.

In the same elevator as moi, the French Fries, and my teenage nephew.

I keep running into George's ex French gal pal in my neighborhood. Yesterday, I was buying fromage for the French Fries and had to take the elevator down a floor to pick up toothpaste. As the door closes, someone starts franctically trying to push their shopping cart into the elevator with us.

Et voila! - it's Celine....with her boyfriend. He's dark and handsome, though not very tall. Not as hot as George is either. Maybe that's why she had such a pissy look on her face. It's gotta suck to be constantly reminded that you're the ex-girlfriend of a major Hollywood movie star who's on the cover of magazines, tabloid papers, and movie posters as you walk the streets of Paris.

Even when shopping at Monoprix she's reminded of it. All over the store, there are life size cardboard cut-outs of George with his sexy bedroom eyes seducing the female shoppers. It's as if he's saying to us, "Voulez-vous café avec moi ce soir?" as he advertises why we should all be drinking Nespresso coffee - what else?

(Sidebar message from La Mom to George: I'll "coffee" with you anytime cutie!)

Warning: La Mom is going to get catty here. Ex-GF is "good from far, but far from good" as we used to say in high school. I was able to get a close up view of Ex-GF and her skin is horrible. She's only 35 and she looks like she's smoked the beauty right out of her complexion! My nephew (who's only 14) said to me later that my skin was prettier and I looked a lot younger than Ex-GF. I told him he was my favorite nephew - even if he was kissing up to me a year in advance for a great Christmas present next year!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Complèxe Napoléon

Looks like Daddy Sarkozy is compensating for something these days.

Check out these photos of him en pointe like a ballerina at the Bastille Opera!



Daddy Sarko: Hey babe, could you scootch down just a little?



Carla: Chéri, don't be such a coq -- I'm already wearing flats!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Noël from Hell

Over the river and through the woods, to Grandmère’s house we go…

Actually, more like onto the jam-packed Périphérique ring road circling Paris to join the thousands of other Parisians going to their ancestral country homes for the holidays.

On one hand, I love French Christmases – they celebrate with an enourmous five-course gourmet meal on Christmas Eve and sleep it all off on the 25th. On the other hand, it’s always a bit stressful going to the famille-in-law’s house. While any self-respecting American family is vegging out in front of the Star Wars marathon, in France the holidays call for a whole lotta togetherness. Big Cheese’s parents are très old-school and I’m always worried me or my half-American kids are going to bring shame upon La Famille Fromage.

Well, this year it’s pretty much a given – I don’t have a boule de neige’s chance in hell.

The thing is, Big Fry has picked up a whole new vocabulary at his nursery school. Since September, my little angel talks like a pint-sized French trucker. Big Fry’s latest is a non-stop mantra of pipi-caca-pipi-caca. Based on the advice of all the American toddler taming books out there, I do my best to ignore it, hoping that the novelty will wear off sooner rather than later.

But wouldn’t you know that Big Fry decided to show off during the Christmas Eve cocktail hour chez Famille Fromage.

(Sidebar: No matter how long I live here, I will never get over how the French serve the best champagne money can buy with a bowlful of Bugles – you know, the kind sold in high school vending machines. Why not break out the Funyuns, too? Now that’s a real party.)

As Grandmère passed the Bugles, Big Fry sweetly said, “Merci, Madame Caca Moudin.”

“It’s caca boudin, honey,” I corrected him absentmindedly.

Grandmère shot both of us a frosty look that said “I’ll deal with you later”, but was too polite to take it further in front of the extended family.

Note to self
: Don’t correct your child’s French when he’s calling his grandma a sausage poop.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Nanny Diaries


La Mom is now accepting applications for the position of NANNY!

Please send your resumé to lamom.paris@gmail.com if interested.

===============================================================

Imagine my perfect day:

1/ French Fries home with the French speaking nanny ALL DAY
2/ Morning spent shopping
3/ Lunch with L'Amie
4/ Afternoon @ Starbucks with L'Amie (I know...so American when there are so many wonderful cafés in this city!)

Then...

My fab day gets cut short as I start feeling sick at Starbucks. Could it have been the grande crême brulée latte and the deux pain au chocolats I wolfed down? Quite possibly.

In any case, I boogied home (2 hours early I might add) and let myself into the apartment. When, what to my wondering eyes should appear? A miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer? Not exactly...

My nanny was dressed in my clothes! Specifically, my favorite Zadig & Voltaire Elvis sweater, Seven skinny jeans, and Repetto ballerinas. Oh la la! was an understatement!

As she profusely apologized and scurried to the bathroom to take off my clothes, I ran back to my bathroom to make sure she hadn't swiped my jewelry. I realized my shower towel was soaking wet and my bathtub was full of fresh suds.

Are you as grossed out as I was? Eh oui, my nanny took a shower and used my towel to dry off with! I don't mind her showering while the French Fries are sleeping, but I certainly draw the line at her using my towel.

What is nastier? Stepping in Paris dog poop on an almost daily basis or having your nanny use your bath towel? Help me decide because I'm stuck on this one!

Something obviously got lost in translation. What I said when I left was "help yourself in the kitchen", NOT "help yourself in my closet".
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Frenchy Friday


Only in France can you find a dog hanging out in a grocery store, clothing boutique, café or restaurant. The French worship at the altar of dogs.

La Mom took this picture at her local Monoprix store. I was très surprised to see the dog attatched to the pole and not wandering around with his owner!

Big Cheese used to dine with clients at a posh little resto called Le Matisse where he saw on several occasionsYves Saint Laurent at a table with a very special guest - his dog! A dish of food was even laid out for the chien too.

That's sooo French, n'est-ce pas?

I took this picture at the Galeries Lafayette Home store. Leave it to the French to dedicate a holiday display widow to dogs. Chic!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Love Bombed

Back in November, La Mom was snubbed by someone she thought was her friend. I bumped into Madame J at our local Monoprix store (Monoprix is France's equivalent to Target - although sadly, it's not even a close comparison).

La Mom: Hey! Madame J, it's been ages since I've seen you! How were your October holidays? Are you going back to the US for Thanksgiving?

Madame J: Oh, hi.

She looked at me like I was as stinky as French cheese and turned around and walked off!

Fast forward to December. La Mom is at the American Embassy's Christmas party enjoying Americana to the fullest: loud Texan accents, Peppermint Candy Cane & Peanut Butter Cup Hot Chocolate, Dr. Pepper Root Beer, Holiday Mincemeat Bars, Brownies...

(Sidebar: By the way, a big rodeo-size MERCI Y'ALL goes to Ambassador Stapelton and his wife (who happens to be a Walker, cousin to 43, as in George WALKER Bush - our President) for the fabuleuse fête you threw. I bet your cowboy hats you're gonna miss Paris when Obama takes over and appoints a new Ambassador!)

...when Madame J shows up at the party and proceeds to Love Bomb moi!

She couldn't stop touching my shoulder, patting my arm, hanging on every word I had to say all night! Suddenly, I had become the next best thing since sliced bread. For months, she had been giving me a bit of the cold shoulder, but the stinky cheese encounter at Monoprix left me speechless.

So why's she Love Bombing me? I can only come up with 3 reasons:

1/ My husband's cheese is bigger than her husband's cheese.

2/ A year ago I moved into an FOB (f*** off building) around the corner from her. The building is stately and gorgeous. Plus, we're on the top floor with a fab view of the Eiffel Tower. Jealous un petit peu?

3/ Her group of friends wants to include me in things they do. Does she think I'm stealing them? (I'm not). Is she jealous un petit peu? Maybe. But last time I checked, we weren't in high school anymore. Well actually, maybe we are. The expat Paris mommy track is a bit cliquish.

As I was nursing my Love Bomb injuries the next morning (sore shoulder, bruised arm), it occured to me that Madame J should have Love Bombed my kids instead. Then at least I would have had another reason to go back to the American Hospital in Paris to have the French Fries checked by my favorite pediatrician - Dr. Hot!
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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas for the Mistress


‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through Paris, men made their lists and checked them twice.

Cartier pour Carole…

Boucheron for Brigitte…

And last but not least, a little Van Cleef and Arpels for Valérie.

Yes, Christmas is usually when the Other Women make out like bandits.

But not this year.

According to an article in Point de Vue, the recession will penalize multi-millionaires – and in particular their mistresses.

A study recently done by a consulting firm in France (they don't say which one) states that 12% of those surveyed will end their affairs for financial reasons. And a whopping 82% of men envisage a reduction in their mistresses' expenses.

So maybe it wasn’t so much of a shocker to the salesperson at the ultra-chic Maison du Chocolat that I was planning on giving upscale candy bars to the mistresses for Christmas.

Wait, let me back up a minute. Last Saturday Big Cheese and I were running errands with the French Fries getting some gift shopping done. Since I didn’t pitch in for the Chloé bag for Big Fry’s teacher (see I’m (not) Dreaming of a Handbag Christmas) I needed a little something to show my appreciation. Hence, the stop by Maison du Chocolat.

As I was perusing the pricey assorted boxes and Big Cheese was wrangling the Fries, I asked the assistant if he could recommend a gift for a “maîtresse”. Well, that’s what Big Fry calls his teacher.

All I got was one raised eyebrow.

Les maîtresses de l’école,” Big Cheese added drily as I turned beet red. “I thought Madame was very, uh, open,” said Monsieur Maison du Chocolat.

Open, schmopen – in our house, there better not be anyone on the receiving end of luxury gifts but moi!
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Monday, December 8, 2008

Jolly Old St. Nicolas Sarkozy

Christmas came early to La Mom’s house this year. We’ve been reading a frayed copy of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas since sometime in July and I’ve been fielding Big Fry’s questions about Santa Claus ever since.

The other day, though, he floored me:

Big Fry: “Mommy, I want St. Nicolas Sarkozy to bring me a jump rope for Christmas.”

La Mom: Saint who?

Big Fry: St. Nicolas Sarkozy – like in the Christmas book!

Luckily, St. Sarko generously subsidized my pelvic floor physical therapy sessions after the French Fries were born, or I would have wet myself laughing.

But this got me thinking: what would my Christmas letter to St. Sarko look like?

Dear St. Nicolas Sarkozy,

I’ve been a very good girl this year. I paid all of my taxes on time and I even learned three new irregular verbs! Here’s what I’d like for Noël:

A raise.

Yeah, yeah, I know I already get 650 € ($ 825) per month for staying home with 2 kids. But if I were paying a nanny, she’d be getting a whopping 1200 € ($ 1525) per month in take-home pay! The way I see it, the government owes me an extra 550 € every 30 days (not to mention back-pay). As much as I love my French Fries, trust me, staying home with young kids is definitely a full-time job.

Bigger parking spaces.

You know what sucks? Having to back all the way out of a sardine-sized parking space just to be able to squeeze your kid into his car seat. People start honking and making rude gestures, then you’re forced to bust out the emergency French cuss words that you don’t want your kids repeating…not a pretty picture.

Stroller-friendly Métro stations.

Actually, I’d drive a lot less if I could just get a stroller through the stupid Métro turnstiles. Or get someone to help me carry a MacLaren down the stairs without resorting to begging or bribery. (How much you wanna bet that Frenchmen would respond to flashing? But I’m not that desperate – yet.)

Sunday store openings.

It’s nice that Sunday is still a day of rest in France. But La Mom never stops going! There’s no way I can get things crossed off my to-do list in six days and pretty much everything is closed on Sunday. Or, if by some miracle a store is open on Sunday morning, it’ll definitely be closed on Monday and Tuesday to make up for it. How about you boost the economy by letting me squeeze some grocery shopping in at the end of the weekend? It’s a win-win situation!

A private serenade by Carla Bruni.

How did you guess this one came from Big Cheese? Actually, his word-for-word request also mentioned a certain high-end brand of lingerie. Anyway, don’t bother with this one – I guarantee that Big Cheese was nowhere near good enough to get a gift-wrapped Carla under the tree!
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Friday, December 5, 2008

Frenchy Friday


Only in France can you see an ad like this and nobody bats an eye.

I found this poster in the metro advertising the Louvre Museum youth pass. The painting is from the Louvre collection and the ad says, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder."

American readers: Would this offend you if you saw it in a public place?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Love In A Box

Can you imagine how it must feel not to receive a Christmas present this year? For many children in France and throughout the world this is the sad truth.

For 19 years the LOVE IN A BOX and LOVE IN A BOX PARIS programs have provided holiday gifts to thousands of needy children. This year they will distribute presents to children in Paris, Strasbourg, Mulhouse, and Bulgaria. The charities include:

-Paris Tout-Petits, a charity for underprivileged children in Paris.
-Salvation Army Paris who warms the hearts of about 400 people on Christmas Eve.
-Les Restos du Coeur a Paris soup kitchen.
-Salvation Army Strasbourg and Mulhouse whose 'Action Quartier' programs target children/youth in marginalized areas with academic help, musical fellowship and other activities aimed at social integration
-Centre Flora Tristan a refuge for families from homes plagued by domestic violence.
-Avec Elles in Vincennes, fellowship group for women and children (aged 6 months to 18 years).
-Bonne Mine a charity that supports 12 orphanages in Bulgaria.

HOW TO PREPARE YOUR LOVE IN A BOX
1. Take an empty shoebox.
2. Wrap your shoebox in colourful paper. Wrap the lid and box separately.
3. Pack your box. Use this list to decide what to put in.
4. Use an elastic band or ribbon to keep the lid on. Do not tape it closed.
5. Place a label on the end of the box, marked girl or boy, and the age.

1. YOUR BOX MUST INCLUDE: (Everything should be new with the exception of used toys, books in very good condition, please.)

TOOTHPASTE AND A TOOTHBRUSH
SOAP
CRAYONS, PENS, MARKERS OR COLORED PENCILS
A NOTEBOOK, PAPER OR COLORING BOOK
SOMETHING WARM TO WEAR: GLOVES, SCARF, HAT, SOCKS
SWEETS, CHOCOLATES
BOOK IN FRENCH

2. YOU MAY ALSO INCLUDE SOME OF THE FOLLOWING: (Please no battery-operated toys)

SMALL, GOOD QUALITY TOYS GAMES, BALLS, MARBLES, BALLOONS
DOLLS, STUFFED ANIMALS, TOY CARS, DOMINOS, HARMONICAS
HAIR ACCESSORIES, JEWLERY, BANDANAS, BELTS, WALLETS, WATCHES
PENCIL CASES, HANDBAGS, MAGAZINES, QUIZ/ACTIVITY BOOKS

3. WHAT NOT TO INCLUDE:

LIQUIDS, PERISHABLE FOODS, TOY GUNS, KNIVES OR SHARP ITEMS, MEDICINE


FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Jill Cameron: jillnchris@hotmail.com, Francie Seder: frp@noos.fr and
Betsi Dwyer: ecdwyer@aol.com

Please bring your gift boxes to American Cathedral, 23 ave George V, 75008 before December 14th, 2008.

Merci Organizing Mama

Wonder what La Mom and the French Fries look like? What my real name is? Point Monsieur Mouse over to Stacey Crew The Organizing Mama to find out. But sshhh! Don't tell the Paris moms OK?

Thanks Stacey for La Mom's one minute of fame via MomMinute Monday!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

An Afternoon with Dr. Hot


Another winter, another cough for Big Fry, another afternoon at the American Hospital in Paris.

The downside was the waiting room was full of moms and kids which meant our scheduled appointment was late. The upside was that I got to gaze at Dr. Hot - my fave pediatrician at the American Hospital, but sadly not Big Fry's pediatrician.

He was in and out of the waiting room at least 5 times yesterday. Each time he walked by my eyes were glued to him and now I realize what it is that I appreciate about him so much:

1/ His looks are all-American - strong, healthy, handsome
2/ He's got straight, clean teeth (French teeth can get a bit nasty with nicotine and caffeine stains)
3/ He smiles at people (the French don't)

When I saw Big Fry's doctor come out of his office I knew we were next. So I said, "C'mon Big Fry, were up next with Dr. Hot." I hadn't realized what I said until Dr. Hot, who was standing near the secretary's desk said to me, "Excuse me, do I know you?"

La Mom: Uhh, not really, we met at a CPR training recently.
Dr. Hot: That's nice. Have a good day.

Not that I was trying to, but I obviously hadn't made an impression on him at the CPR training. What Dr. Hot doesn't know is that he made a huge impression on moi and all the other moms who were at that training!

Monday, November 24, 2008

These Should Be Illegal in France




The Urban Dictionary says it best:

A men's style of undergarment that holds the genitalia in a sling-like hammock apparatus, allowing IT to protrude offensively. Favored by greasy Europeans at the beach, and even greasier weightlifters during competition and posedown sessions.

Banana Hammocks (aka Speedos) should be outlawed here. After more than a decade vacationing on French Riviera beaches, I still can't get my head around the fact that they are the bathing garment of choice for toddlers, little boys, dads, and grandpas. In fact, I'm doing you a favor by posting a picture of a very handsome mec in one. Take my word for it, I've never seen anyone look that good in a Speedo on the beach here!

Over the weekend Banana Hammocks came a little to close for comfort in my perfect little world.

I went to sign up Big Fry for swim lessons and THE FIRST rule of participation in the class was that Big Cheese and Big Fry must wear Speedos. According to the French, these nifty little pieces of fabric are "more hygenic" than swim shorts. I can't get my head around that one either. If anything, they are less hygenic, because, well, just because!
(Sidebar: Since when are the French experts in hygiene? Not that long ago they were barely showering once a day, using deodorant, and removing armpit hair. Their stinky reputation came from somewhere because, well, where there's smoke, there's fire right? Although I must admit, in my experience this is not true anymore except on the metro in the summertime.)

Imagining myself shopping for Banana Hammocks for my boys and their boy's just wasn't working. So the swim lessons just aren't happening. I refuse to let my boys look like the men I see on the beach every summer. I guess we'll just have to take Big Fry back to the US this summer where thankfully, at least where I come from, nobody dares to wear those things!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

La Mom’s New Game



Remember that game Bulls**t Bingo? You know, the one you play in boring meetings where people throw around words like “synergy”? Back in the day when La Mom was La Career Femme, I introduced this game to my French colleagues, which translated surprisingly well.

Now that I’ve traded the boardroom for the jungle gym, I’ve made up a new game to play:

Snob Sabotage!

I don’t get stuck in dull-as-dishwater meetings anymore, but I do have to attend a lot of swanky soirées for Big Cheese’s work.

These events are always the same – couture cocktail dresses, a spectacular address (although I’m not complaining about the VIP treatment we received for Bastille Day as we watched the Eiffel Tower fireworks display from the terrace of the ultra-chic Musée de Quai Branly).

And last but not least, a bunch of uptight, snobby Parisienne mamans.

Why would I want to sabotage these Frenchwomen? Because they treat me like I’m a piece of furniture! Frenchwomen at parties only care about two things: their husbands and the circle of friends they’ve known since birth. The only way I could ever grab their attention is if I pretended to be hired help and passed them a caviar canapé.

So I've decided to hit them where it hurts.

Here are the rules:

1) Select a nice-looking Frenchman.

2) Ask him a question, preferably about politics or the state of the world economy (Frenchmen like their women smart).

3) Lightly touch his sleeve and flash that big American smile.

4) Totally ignore his wife.

5) Stand back and watch the smoke start spiraling out of her ears.

Amusez-vous bien! (Have fun!)
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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Carla Bruni on David Letterman



Check out France's fabuleuse First Lady on Dave yesterday.

Carla & Dave

Then check Carla Sings to hear her sing songs featured in La Mom's Musique Bar.

As Carla tells Dave, she lives part time at the Presidential Palace and part time here in the 16th arrondissement (5 minutes away from moi!) The neighborhood traffic jams up when Daddy Sarkozy comes to visit with his entourage of 10 cars. I wonder which multi-million euro house is hers?

Monday, November 17, 2008

La Mom’s ABC’s



As glamorous as my Parisian world seems, it’s not all about croissants and Cristal 24/7. Let’s face it, at some point you need to wake up, smell the French-roast café, and get yourself a whole new vocabulary.

Bienvenue to La Mom’s ABC’s – French lessons for any maman looking for a touch of Paris in her own life!

A comme "Accouchement"

No, this is not the “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir” of Lady Marmalade fame. Unless Lady Marmalade was hitting those high notes during contractions.

Yep, you guessed it, we're talking labor and delivery here.

In Paris, your husband isn’t the first to know you saw the little blue line on the stick – you speed-dial the most chic hospital in town! As the zip code goes down on your precious progeny’s certificat de naissance, it only makes sense that little Hugo or Mathilde comes into the world under the best possible circumstances – preferably with room service that includes a wine list.

La Mom confession: I’m outing L’Amie, my BFF in the Paris ‘burbs for doing exactly that. When given a choice between her babies being born at the public hospitals of working-class Poissy or ultra-chic Neuilly-sur-Seine, she naturally opted for Neuilly, even if it meant that she might be stuck in a massive traffic jam en train d’accoucher!

What’s a little discomfort if you can get a snooty address on your kid’s birth certificate?
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Saturday, November 15, 2008

La Mom’s Dirty Little Secret




I have a little confession to make. I don’t wash my hair.

Ever.

OK, just to clarify, I haven’t gone totally Frenchy. I do bathe once, if not twice, a day. And when I lived in the States, I absolutely had to wash, condition, and blow-dry my hair on a daily basis, come hell or high water. So what happened to this former Breck girl?

It’s simple. Kids.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not too keen on getting up at 5:30 a.m. before the morning madness begins just to make sure I have squeaky-clean cheveux. Anyway, given Paris’ cold, humid winters, it’s inevitable that my hair will end up in a fuzzy aura around my face as soon as I walk out the door. In fact, there’s no better frizz fighter than a little French grime. I’ve discovered that the longer I go between washes, the smoother my hair looks.

For all you moms who cut corners like me, I can assure you that Paris’ top hairdressers agree there is such a thing as too-clean hair. Sometime around 2000 B.C. (Before Children) I actually prepped to get a trim at my fancy-schmancy salon. I’d been submerged at work and hadn’t washed my hair in ages. I was terrified to show up with nasty hair and two-month-old roots, so I grabbed a box of L’Oréal and made a beeline for the shower.

When Frank, my fab stylist, examined my tresses, he was totally confused. “Mais vos cheveux sont tellement propres,” he said with a disgusted grimace.

Leave it to the French to turn clean into a dirty word.
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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Some Days You're the Dog, Some Days You're the Hydrant



Well, in this case, you're the pooper scooper, if not actually the hydrant.

Yes, it looks like the mayor's "Clean Up the Crap" ad campaign (see post: Clean Up the Crap from September) isn't working très bien. In fact, the city has recently put these nifty signs up in my neighborhood which read "I love my neighborhood, I scoop."

Yeah right, like these signs are going to make Parisians scoop up the poop?!

Oh wait, if you read closely, you'll see that dog owners are threatened with a 457 EURO fine (that's about $600). Maybe the city thinks the fine will scare everyone into poop scooping?

Guess again.

I calculated that the city of Paris could have made at least 2285 EUROS from the five dogs who pooped next to the lamp post in front of my building this morning between 8am and 8:40am. That's 57 euros/minute! Too bad the mayor of Paris doesn't have the smarts to send the Poop Police to my block. If you think about it, they could make at least 6855 EUROS per day if the Poop Police patrolled after breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Hey wait, I may be onto something here...this blog pays nothing! It would be much more financially beneficial to pretend to be a city employee (or the police) and fine these offenders myself!

Some days you're La Mom, some days you're the Poop Police!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Oh Ex-Girlfriend, Where Art Thou?


In Paris.

On my street.

It hit me like a ton of briques the first time I walked past her in front of my apartment building. The beautiful, blonde, young 30-something, Parisian babe walking towards me was George Clooney's ex-girlfriend!

C'mon, you remember her, don't you? Her name is Celine. She's the French barmaid who George plucked from the Barfly restaurant about ten years ago and brought back to L.A. to live with him and his pig.

In Paris a barmaid one day, hitting the red carpet with the cutest actor in Hollywood the next day! Not bad for la petite parisienne!

Very bad for me though as I've become a stalker mommy.

My mission after spotting her was to figure out what building she was visiting and whether she lived there or if she was rendez-vousing with someone famous. I figured out which car she drove (a Smart) and I even peeked inside (spotless).

How sad is that?

But it got worse.

I was walking next to her with the French Fries one day (she was literally arm's length from me) and I said to Big Fry (in English and a bit louder than normal), "So are you excited to take the airplane to America tomorrow? We're going to visit Grandma in Malibu."

As I slyly looked at her from behind my sunglasses to see if it registered that we were going to her old haunt, she continued walking looking dazed and confused.
I am SO lame, je sais!

Once I knew which building she was visiting (the beautiful and very bourgeois one) I had to know who lived there. So I thought it would be easy to walk up to the front door and look at the names posted on the interphone. Well, not so easy. Either the concierge was polishing the door knobs or one of the couple of mommies from Big Fry's school who live in the building would be coming or going. I didn't want them to think I was a weird American mommy stalker (which of course I am).

So what's a stalker mom to do?

Well, I got my confidence together one day (helped by a very cute outfit, a blowout, and a shopping bag from Dior) and sauntered up to the door as if I lived there myself. I slowly read the names on the interphone and had the biggest let down because I thought I was on to a scoop and I was ready to call the French gossip mags (except they probably wouldn't have taken my call because George's ex is a Z-list celebrity in France)....

Her parents Monsieur & Madame live in the building!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Who's Your Daddy?



Who's your daddy?

Mine is Nico, as in Sarko, as in Daddy (aka President Nicolas) Sarkozy.

Why?

Because he's helping fund the health care system in France.

It's great!

Last night I had to call SOS Doctors at 5am to come to our apartment because Big Fry was sick. This service is so convenient. In fact, I've called SOS Doctors to our place four times in the last three weeks in the middle of the night because one of the French Fries was sick. I've quickly become an SOS Doctors hussy!

The average price of a middle-of-the-night visit in the comfort of my own apartment costs about 60 euros (Wow, this IS starting to sound a bit promiscuous -- ssshhh... don't tell Big Cheese!).

Big Fry was diagnosed with an ear infection and today when I went to the pharmacy to get the prescription drugs...they were free!

I find most of the time when I have to fill a prescription for one of the French Fries it costs me very little or nothing at all.

Merci Daddy!

Hugs and Kisses (on each cheek - just like the French!)
Hope I'm not breaking protocol...
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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

My First Blogging Award



Was I surprised and flattered to receive my very first(and hopefully not my last) Kreativ Blogger Award. A big thanks to Catherine over at Evolving Mommy who gave it to me.

The requirement for receiving this award is to share six things I love and then share six blogs I love. On y va:


1. I love The Wiggles

2. I love our Sunday morning ritual: croissants, pain au chocolat, coffee, and reading Le Journal du Dimanche at our favorite cafe

3. I love Dr. Hot at the American Hospital in Paris (see post "Hot For Teacher")

4. I love my phlebologist Dr. Vein (see post "La Mom Loves...")

5. I love Daddy(aka President)Sarkozy and the fact that he's placed SEVEN women in high-level positions in his government.
6. I love Paris in the springtime



Six blogs that j'aime:

1. Anne Sinclair - "2 or 3 Things From the US" (It's so interesting to read her views on the US election from her front-row seat in Washington DC. She's a French journalist and wife of the International Monetary Fund president). Anne Sinclair

2. Canela & Comino for great Peruvian recipes Canela & Comino

3. The Organizing Mama

4. The Bon Bon Gazette

5. Hip Mamas Place

6. Kim & Company


Voila!

One Happy Obama Mama



My blog is not the place to get political, but I just have to comment on the fact that as of today, I am proud to be American. The last 8 years as an American abroad has been made very difficult thanks to George Bush (imagine 7 years ago riding alone at night in a taxi from the airport with a taxi driver telling me off about GB's politics). Up until Monday, depending on who asked me, I shyly whispered "American" and sometimes outright lied and said "Canadian." Today I am proud to be American again.

As one French friend put it, "Tout le monde se sent américain aujourd’hui!", translation: "Everyone feels American today!"

Monday, November 3, 2008

La Mom's Musique



Notice the new music bar? Some of my favorite music compiled for your enjoyment! I must give credit where credit is due. It's Jen over at Cheaper Than Therapy Musings of a Mom of 3, who inspired me with her playlist. I just had to go and create one too, but with a Paris/Kid theme.
Special Thanks To:

Jeff - my Go-To-Guy for providing tech support and helping me get this up!

Carla Bruni - France's Fabulous First Lady & Magnifique Super-Model Mom

Van Halen - "Hot For Teacher" honoring THE cutest pediatrician (and CPR teacher) in Paris (Merci to The Amercian Hospital for bringing him into my life and enriching the lives of so many moms in Paris)

The Wiggles
- It's sooo nasty to be 35 years old and crush on the Yellow One like I'm 15!

Louis Armstrong - "There is two kinds of music, the good and bad. I play the good kind."

Christina! L'il Kim! Pink! Sinatra! Barney!

Kevin - (Don't know who? The actor...as in Kline)

Chic - as in "Le Freak". You'll soon realize why as this blog post is coming....

Johnny Hallyday - He's France's equivalent to Elvis (with a bad face lift and an Americanized name)

And finally, let's reflect on what the famous French writer & poet Victor Hugo had to say about musique:

"Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent. "

Thursday, October 30, 2008

La Fashion Victime

This Mommy Profile was inspired by my mommy neighbor, the Logo Lolita.
Maman du Jour: La Fashion Victime
Natural habitat: American mom living in London, but gave up her 6-bedroom Mayfair digs to follow her banker husband running from the recession. Refers to self as “economic refugee”.
Hangouts: Starbucks, La Durée, and outdated Parisian hot spots from her junior year abroad.
Uniform: Blinged-out designer billboard. Handbag by Prada, sunglasses by Gucci, jeans by Dolce & Gabbana, ballerina flats by Chanel, T-shirt by Dior and underwear by La Perla. Pretension by fear of looking like an American soccer mom.
How to spot her: Besides the ginormous diamond solitaire ring and studs, necklace and tennis bracelet, she's got buttery blond hair, a personal-trainer toned bod, and at least 4 prominent designer logos visible at any given time. Oh, and don't forget the diamond encrusted Bulgari watch for Monday, Cartier Ballon Bleu for Tuesday,  Dior for Wednesday, diamond encrusted Rolex for Thursday. Rotate.
Raison dEtre: See and be seen.
Profession: Trophy wife.
Vacations: Palm Beach (a swank second home complete with year-round staff), and whatever hotspot is de riguer for keeping up with Monsieur et Madame Dupont (Capri, South Africa, Croatia...).

Children’s names: Boys – Philip Bowden Walker V (nickname: Trey), William, Alexander; Girls– Lulu, Eleanor, Isabel
myfreecopyright.com registered & protected

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Like La Mom's New Blog Banner?

It's so much better than the old one I was using.

Merci beaucoup to my BFF in Hometown, USA for designing La Mom's cool new blog banner! She gave my blog a new look & feel and I'm touched she helped me with this.
By the way, if you are ever in need of an event planner or custom made invites/announcements/etc, drop me an email at Lamom.paris@gmail.com and I'll give you her contact details. She does great work!

Monday, October 27, 2008

She Got Two Teef

Thank goodness Big Fry knows who he speaks English or French with otherwise Thursday afternoon could have been very embarrassing for moi!

We arrived at Big Fry's school and as we were waiting for the gates to open I struck up a conversation with the grandmotherly looking nanny of one of the boys. Big Fry starts staring at her face and then asks me loudly, "Mommy, why the lady got two teef (teeth)? She got two teef (teeth) like Small Fry."

Assuming the lady spoke only French, I broke out into a cold sweat anyway hoping she didn't understand what my son just said. Whew! Gotta be careful because you just never know who speaks English in this town. A lot of people do when you think they don't. For example...

A few days before Big Fry started his new Catholic school, I was there to buy him an art smock. One woman was trying to sell smocks to at least 50 parents. It was one big clusterf***.
(Sidebar: I love this word! It makes me feel so much lighter after I use it. In fact, if you ask me what word describes this stage in my life I'd have to say that word does. I can't go to the potty without the French Fries following me like they are missing a party in there and I can't take a shower without them peeping in on me either).

So I muttered under my breath, "What a clusterf***" (I know, I know, La MOM should go straight to the naughty corner for using this naughty word in a Catholic school). The dad next to me said, "Oh, so you're American too."

How embarrassing! I learned my lesson though.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Organizing Mama

I just discovered a great blog to help moms get organized. Even if you are super organized, you can always improve. At least in France you can - nobody is perfect here. Especially in school. But that's another blog post for another time.



The blog is called The Organizing Mama (there's a link to it on my sidebar). For all the moms who follow this blog and live in small Parisian apartments, you'll probably find the closet organization post useful. I like the "Magazine Holders Have Many Uses" post - never thought of that before. Check it out!

This Mamá is Muy Caliente



How does the hot Spanish mom at the Park Monceau look consistently fabulous with two kids under three?


I'll admit it, when I see her at school every morning at 8am looking serene, beautiful, and totally put together, I always ask myself how the heck she manages to look so perfect and get the kids ready and out the door by 8am? It's something I can rarely do myself.


Well...it seems her nanny had diarrhea of the mouth the other day and let it slip to my friend's nanny, who told my friend, who told moi her little secret.


I may have to take a few notes.


Hot Spanish Mom, who I'll call Alicia Consuela Barcelona, has her nanny live with them in a chambre de bonne, or a shoebox size apartment on the top floor of her apartment building. ACB makes her start work at 6am. Why? It's actually very cleverly thought out.


Alicia Consuela Barcelona starts her day at 6:30am and claims that her kids stress her out in the morning. She doesn't want to deal with them in case they wake up early or even when they wake up on time so the nanny is on-call from 6am so ACB can focus on herself.


If the kids don't wake up before 7, the nanny irons. Then at 7am she gets the kids dressed and ready for the day. She feeds them breakfast, grooms them, etc. while ACB does yoga in her bedroom for 45 minutes then showers and applies a ton of makeup to make it look like she's not made up at all. In fact, the kids and nanny don't see Mamá until she's ready to take them to school.


At 8am ACB is out the door and on the way to school looking like she's super-Mamá and a supermodel. She makes small talk with the other moms at school. Here's what she told us today:


  • "Javier didn't want to eat his breakfast and had a tantrum. He is sooo difficult right now." (Yeah right, apparently you don't deal with tantrums while doing the Downward Dog).
  • "Tia threw up all over the Persian rug. I barely had time to clean it up and get to school on time." (Truth is you left the baby throw up for the nanny to clean up).

And how did she get her tummy so toned three months after giving birth? Well, she spends her mornings at the Power Plate boutique.

(Sidebar: I can't really make fun of this. In fact, I'm jealous. Maybe I should give the Power Plate a try to get rid of my spare tire. It'll take a lot less time and give me faster results than jogging around the Park Monceau).

Why does ACB's hair always look so incredible? Because she never does it herself (even though she tells us moms at the park that she curls her own hair). She goes to the coiffeur for a style twice a week. I knew something was fishy!

So now I know Alicia Consuela Barcelona's secrets and it makes me feel better about not looking so great every day at 8am. I live a real life and take care of my kids - tantrums, baby barf, and eveything else.

Olé Olé!

Mommy Playdate at IKEA


If I could send a love letter to IKEA, here's what I'd write:

My Dearest IKEA,


Merci! Merci! You've kept me sane this week. It's been one of the most difficult weeks in recent history dealing with the French Fries. First, they were sick for two days. Then today, Big & Small Fry cried all morning before school and on the way to school. Imagine dragging Big Fry to school while he screams, "School isn't fun, I hate the cafeteria..." and having all the parents stare at you in the courtyard. Of course, Small Fry freaks out at least ten times a day because she's two and therefore in the middle of temper tantrum season. Then my apartment cleaner called in sick this morning. Last, but not least, my scale says I've gained two pounds! Oh la la.

You have kept me sane, IKEA, because this whole week I've been doing nothing but focusing on our little rendez-vous planned for Saturday morning. I can't wait to hop into the Range Rover (all by myself!!) at 9am, blast the music, and arrive chez toi at 9:45am for your very hearty 1 EURO breakfast. I plan on reading the paper (something I never get to do at home) and sipping café au lait while munching on a pain au chocolat and a baguette covered in jam. Maybe eating this isn't the best idea if I want to lose the two pounds I just gained!

Then I will shop till I drop, and when I drop, I won't go home to reality, I will go back to the IKEA café and hang out for another hour and read my book while I eat lunch. Then, maybe, I'll entertain the thought of going home.

It's been one of those weeks. A big merci for helping me get through it. I couldn't have done it with out you!

Love and bisous,

La MOM

You know you're at a low point when you get your kicks out of a mommy playdate at IKEA.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Wheels On The Bus Go Round and Round


Sex And The City quote:

"Don't worry, sweetie, don't worry! Nobody in New York notices a bus until it's about to hit them! [Samantha]

In NYC you may get hit by buses, but in Paris you and your kids get yelled at on them!

Today, I took the kids to the Park Monceau on the bus. Big Fry loves it because he's big enough for his own seat at the window and I like it because I get to people watch. Today was also the day that Small Fry decided to melt down on La Mom while on the bus.

Small Fry didn't want to sit in her stroller and threw a fit - crying, yelling, screaming, wailing, "Up Mommy, Up Up!" was all she repeated for the 15 minute ride to the park. I started sweating like a little piggy from embarrassment and Big Fry growled at her like a lion thinking he might scare her into quieting down. Of course this only made her cry harder.

So what's a mom to do?

I kept my eyes averted from the other passengers (read: glued to the floor) while simultaneously telling Small Fry she could have any sugary snack she wanted once we got to the park if she could just be quiet. It was then that a voice yelled out from the back of the bus, "Putain, calmez votre enfant! C'est insupportable!" or, "Calm your f***ing kid down! It's unbearable!"

Question: How do you get 20 Parisians on a bus to smile at you?

Answer: You don't. Parisians don't smile. But, SURPRISE... they smiled at me today!

I was getting ready to rip the old man who yelled at me a new one when I realized that everyone was looking at me with sympathetic smiles and not annoyance. One woman even whispered to me that everything would be all right. You couldn't wipe that smile off her face for all the cheese in France!

(Sidebar: OK, since when are Parisians, much less Parisians on a bus, nice? It just doesn't happen).

The old man must have been pretty annoyed because a few minutes later he got up from his seat. Part of me breathed a sigh of relief thinking he would be getting off at the next stop, but another part of me was scared that he would come yell at me again.

He came over to Small Fry, bent down and ......started singing to her!

It was the sweetest thing. This man went from grumpy to adorable in zero to ten! Somehow his singing had the desired effect because Small Fry calmed down and was an angel for the rest of the bus ride to the park!

The passengers and I just stared at each other and the old man in amazement.

Vive la France: Liberté, Egalité, Séniorité!


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

La Mom Is Sick

and won't be blogging for a few days.
Please check back soon!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Why I Love Being La Mom in France




It may seem like most of my blogging has to do with dog doo. That's correct because, unfortunately, when you are mom in Paris dog doo is an ever present companion. Plus don't forget that I have two French Fries under the age of five so my world is filled with references to pee pee and caca everyday. That said, while I hate the dog doo part of Parisian life, there are several things that j'adore about being a mom in France. Et voila!:



Maternity Leave
The legal limit today is 16 weeks paid leave, but the European Commission is going to pass a pan-European law making the minimum paid leave 18 weeks long. That almost makes me want to go back to work and have another baby just to get paid to take time off! 18 weeks is a whole lot better than what moms get in the USA although it's not as generous as Ireland's 42 weeks, but hey, who's complaining?


Parental Leave of Absence
Once your maternity leave is finished, you can then take a parental leave of absence up until the third birthday of your child and be guaranteed to have a job waiting for you at your company when you come back. While the leave is unpaid, it sure is nice knowing you can stay home and enjoy those first wonderful years in your child's life and have a job to go back to (if you want).

If baby #2 comes along you can extend your parental leave for another three years and the government pays you around 650 euros a month to stay home with your kids. I have a few mommy friends who are on baby #3 and have been on leave for nine years with the safety net of knowing that they are always guaranteed a job if they want it.

All mothers are working mothers in my opinion. At least in France you get paid for staying home and doing the most important job ever!

Personal Trainer / Nutritionist
Feeling fat and out of shape? Need help getting on a diet to help lose the extra baby weight? Well live in France and get all the help you need for half the price! How? Well here's La MOM's petite secret that most moms don't know exist and therefore don't take advantage of... and it's completely legal!

Need to get back on the road to Mommy Maintenance? Well just invite a personal trainer into your home to help out. Pay your trainer with cheques emploi-service (service checks) and you get to deduct half of your trainer's fee from your taxes. So a session that costs 40 euros/hour actually costs only 20 euros! The key is having someone provide a service for you in your home and paying them with the checks. Everyone does this with apartment cleaners or babysitters, but nobody I know (besides moi!) has taken it a step further and extended this nice little tax benefit to exercise! My trainer stretches with me at home (therefore fulfilling the in-home service side of the deal) then we jog on over to the Park Monceau for a workout.


Same thing goes for eating right. Use a nutritionist (or a personal trainer who moonlights as a one) who makes house calls. Have them come over to clean out your fridge, counsel you on what to eat, then compile your food shopping list. Easy as pie (but don’t eat that pie!). You know the saying, “A minute on the lips a lifetime on the hips.” Well that’s definitely true in Paris with all the yummy pastries and pies seducing me from the boulangerie’s window display everyday. I would have serious weight problems if my personal trainer and nutritionist didn't keep me in line...for half price!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Inspiration For The Stay At Home Mom


Today I had another visit with my beloved Dr. Vein. I went into the appointment with my head in the clouds - tired from another almost sleepless night (Merci Small Fry). Getting my legs poked and prodded with her magic needle pretty much brought me back to earth, and boy, was I sure glad I was back! Dr. Vein inspired me to take charge of my mommy life. In fact, I'm sure lots of mommies feel the same way. It doesn't matter whether you live in Paris, London, Milan, or Chicago - there comes a time after sacrificing so much for your kids when you have to start focusing on you.



It all started with a small comment I made about her gorgeous and very sexy snake skin boots. Dr. Vein told me that I should spruce myself up instead of running around looking like an American all day. I was a bit offended by that comment - guess she made it because I arrived looking the opposite of chic Parisian - in big American running shoes.

I saw her eyeing my body, and well, the good news is that the extra baby fat around my belly isn't fatty! It's loose muscle according to Dr. Vein. The best way to put it back in place is with a bit of plastique surgery. Not lipo, but a petite procedure that will thread my tummy muscles back to where they were pre-pregnancies. Sounds good to me! I may just consider it since all the exercising, dieting, and stomach crunches seem to have zero impact.

I know what you must be thinking, "Why is La MOM taking plastic surgery advice from a phlebologist?" Well, it turns out she's had the procedure herself and after three kids her tummy is looking mighty fantastic.

Next was a lecture on body hair removal. Dr. Vein recommends that every mom should RUN, not walk, straight to the dermatologist and laser away body hair - specifically in the armpit and minou (Not gonna translate this one for you - hint: this animal says, "meow.") regions. She even showed me her minou! Dr. Vein pulled up her little black dress to reveal a very manicured ticket de metro (No joke, the French call this type of bikini wax a metro ticket...nice visual huh?). She said, and I quote word for word, " C'est lisse comme la peau d'un bebe" (translation: It's as smooth as a baby's skin). Well, I wasn't going to touch it to find out, but it looked great and she hasn't had to shave down there since she lasered it away EIGHT YEARS AGO.

Dr. Vein congratulated me on taking the first steps to maintaining moi by removing the unsightly spider veins from my legs and she made sure to stress that mommy maintenance doesn't stop there. At least not in Paris. Especially if you want to keep looking sexy for your man.

Now maybe Dr. Vein's mommy maintenance suggestions are a bit over the top and probably a wee bit expensive, but in principle she's right-on and totally inspiring. It's time to take care of me! That's what I'm going to start doing as of now.


Thank goodness Big Cheese agrees with the saying "Happy Wife Happy Life" - I may just get my tummy thread and laser procedures as Christmas gifts this year.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Merci Cherie et Jeff

Merci à Ma Petite Cherie et son franjin Jeff pour un super-support technique!


A big thanks goes out to Ma Petite Cherie and her brother Jeff for providing La MOM with technical support last week!

A Day In The Life of La MOM

What's my life like? Well, it's not all glamour all the time.



Keep in mind that for the first part of my life here, before I was La MOM, I was constantly looking up and admiring the beauty of this great city. Now that I'm La MOM, I am constantly looking down trying to keep myself and my French Fries from stepping in dog crap. For the last five years I've had a consistent neck ache - I guess I know why!



I thought it would be fun for you to walk a mile (or two) in my shoes and illustrate through pictures a day in my life.



Voila!




Morning bonjour...what the garbage men "forgot" to dump



Monday: No need to specify what this is



Big Fry's favorite toy store




Tuesday: Looks like someone slid in it



Beaucoup dog pee puddles to dodge around with the stroller



Wednesday: still there...gives new meaning to "Same Shit Different Day"



Our favorite hangout: Park Monceau's duck pond




Public toilettes at the Park Monceau



Cigarette butts litter the sidewalks




Checking my shoes for fecal matter before entering apartment




Ditto for Big Fry















 

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