Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Difference Between French and American Kids


French kids don't cut cheese (even though they eat a ton of the stuff!), American kids do.

At least, that's how the French moms acted over the weekend.

On Saturday, I took Small Fry to her music class. It's a fun class where the kids and moms get to sing nursery rhymes in French and English together. Most kids in my class are Anglophone, but there are about five French kids too. I’ve noticed that the French moms just sit there and don’t really look like they are enjoying the class while the Anglophone moms are having a ball and are more involved in the class than their kids are.

Halfway through the class, it fell silent as the instructor took a break to take off her sweater. That was the moment Small Fry decided to get musical in her diaper. Oui oui, she ripped a man-fart that echoed throughout the room and awed everyone.

By the looks on the French mom's faces, you would have thought Small Fry had farted in their Chanel handbags (OK, that would be gross). They were so disgusted and stared at me with contempt. All I could do along with the other Anglophone moms was burst out laughing. Her cheese cutting was so big some of the moms and the class instructor looked over at us and one mom even said, “Was that you or your kid?!”

It must have been contagious because the little boy sitting next to Small Fry farted too and all the Anglo moms laughed and joked while the French moms sat there horrified to be in the same room with us and looking quite arrogant in the way that only the Parisians know how to do. I knew exactly what they were thinking, "French kids are behaved enough not to fart! American kids are savages!"

What those arrogant French moms didn't know is that musical farts have French origins!

In the 1800s, Frenchman Joseph Pujol apparently became so adept at controlling his flatulence flow he could sound musical notes. Called "le Petomane'' - the fartiste - he was reputedly the highest paid performer in France at his prime.

Wish I had known this little factoid in music class because I definitely would have used it to wipe those smug looks off the French moms' faces. There's always next week.


Maria said...

Hi there!

I am a Portuguese living in (and adapting to...) Norway and I just found your blog out.

Yes, I know how French people (not all of them thank God) can get... but I just couldn't stop laughing after reading this post!!

I will come back for more reading. Until then, all the best for your family and especially for your Fries ;-)


Marianne said...

I have to stop reading your blog because it's hard not to laugh next to my sleeping 1.5 year old.

I haven't found the post (if it exists) of how you met the Big Cheese or if you are in France temporarily. I always wonder if Americans overseas like me (in Sydney, AU for 5 years with South African husband and 2 toddlers) complain about where they are but may be disappointed if they move back to the USA (if that is in the plans at all).
Keep up the entertaining writing!


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