Thursday, May 28, 2009

Parisian Playgroup Protocol


Are you following your spouse to Paris for a three year expat gig?

Wondering how on earth you're going to make new female French friends to have long sisterly chats with? Someone who will tell you the ins and outs of living in Paris? Share their secrets with you and become your best friend?

Ha! It's never going to happen with a French woman, so don't even waste your time. Just join an expat playgroup to meet women. And to that end, here are a few tips from La Mom to make your playgroup integration a success!

Rule #1: DRINK CHAMPAGNE

The most successful playdates I've ever hosted and attended are the ones where the champagne is flowing before noon (accompanied by a colorful plate of fresh fruit and macarons from Ladurée.) Champagne somehow gets the moms in a great mood and we all agree that the kids play better once we've had a glass or two!

Most of the time.

You see, the new expat arrivals are a bit shocked at this little custom. It's not taboo in France to have a glass mid-day. Embrace it and don't roll your eyes when the hostess brings out the bubbly! After all, when you move back to wherever you came from, won't it be fun to say that you attended playdates in Paris where all the moms sat around drinking champagne?

What's the worst thing that can happen? You walk home with your stroller a bit tipsy and step in dog crotte?

Rule #2: NO SHOES!

Remove your shoes and those of your children as soon as you step into an apartment. No exceptions!

Have you seen the streets in this city? It's a horror show! Some of the moms in my neighborhood have even begun issuing Sidewalk Security Advisory Alerts the night before they host a playgroup so the guests know whether to expect a clear path or not to the hostess's apartment. Dodging doggy bombs with the stoller can be very diffucult. Either the mom or the stroller ends up with a little brownie on 'em.

So save yourself the embarassment of being the new playgroup mom who shows up with dirty shoes and remove them toute de suite as you enter the apartment.

Rule #3: MATCH YOUR SOCKS

Make a heroic effort to wear nice socks. Nothing clears a group of moms chatting in the salon faster than having to talk to one who's got her big toe sticking out of the nasty hole in her mismatched socks.

Rule #4: JUST SAY NON TO THE ANTI-SUGAR JIHAD

Freshly baked mini croissants, pain au raisin, and pain au chocolat are the snacks of choice for Paris playgroup toddlers. Lighten up and let yours happily devour one instead of whispering to other moms, "Why do La Mom & Miami Mom give our kids this stuff? Don't they know that toddlers + sugar = trouble?"

We know, but hey, it's playgroup. It's fun, it's once a week for 2 hours, it's no big deal.

It's Paris.

25 comments:

ModernMom said...

I have to say I love the idea of champagne with playgroups. A little vino instead of coffee might make some of the Mom's I've met here in Sububia a little more..um...tolerable?

LOL
Great post as always:)

a H.I.T. said...

Once I have kids, I'm totally integrating these rules into my playgroups. Especially champagne.

Margarita said...

I love this post. I would totally feel at home at a Parisian play group - I adore champagne for breakfast, I have very fancy socks, and I give my child sugar cubes for breakfast! Ooh la la! I've arrived ;)
http://fabbrunette.com

Under the Influence said...

MMMM...I was in a playgroup where the Mojitos were out by noon. It was wonderful.

vicki archer said...

Champagne would have livened up my dull old play groups from memory, xv.

Pure Poser said...

Sugar's good for kids anyway. Gets them going and gets them tired when you want to put them to bed.

I always give a my cousins a bar of chocolate when they arrive so they have energy for a walk then collapse and give me peace as soon as we get home. :D

GutsyWriter said...

Although I don't live in Paris now, I am surprised to hear that French moms drink champagne before noon. I thought they were very particular about not drinking too much--weight gain?
Also, I thought most moms worked and put their kids in daycare. Am I wrong?

Joanna Jenkins said...

Champagne at playdates. Now your talking! Thanks for the pointers!

parlezvouskiwi said...

Hahahahha that is hilarious. I am totally prepared to be girlfriend-less in France when I move there. I might have to adopt some local expats for my girlie time!! And I am totally cool with champagne. :-)

Paris Atelier said...

Hi LA Mom,
I'm going to have to start serving champagne at my play dates here!!! This idea should be global! :)As a matter of fact, I think I'll go have a glass now! Thanks for the inspiration (I'll just tell my husband I am pretending to be in Paris).
xoxo
Judith~

Betsy said...

Do I have to come to Paris to get Champagne at a playgroup or does this go on in the country. Sign me up.

Ms. K @ Write On Thyme said...

Love the advice! Champagne makes everything magical! AFter years of trying to make French friends in Paris, my sister now has found most of hers at expat groups~ and some fabulous American women they are! I will tell her about your blog!
Kirsten

ivanohe said...

PARIS n'est pas la FRANCE. Heureusement , ou malheureusement ...
Je suis une ex-parisienne, qui habite le sud de la France depuis 34 ans, la vie y est plus douce, moins stressante et superficielle. Mais j'adore revenir à PARIS pour les sorties, ballades et retrouver mes racines . Passez du bon temps chez nous, et oubliez les clichés, comme nous devons oublier les nôtres sur les américains. Martine

Dumbwit Tellher ♥ said...

Hi La Mom; I had only wished for play date champagne in order to endure the other boring moms. You ladies truly have the right & fun idea. Hey, it's only once a wk!

Kat said...

Love your playlist, btw! The other day I left your blog up and just turned off the screen & up the music instead of radio (My French mother was over)...Funny seeing her singalong to Madame Arthur!

parisapartment said...

Sounds like a good reason to splurge on cashmere socks and good champagne!

Simply Mel said...

Champagne and playdates - the perfect combination! When I was in pregnant in Paris, I sometimes had a glass of champagne at lunch, one particular server said, "your baby is going to be so bubbly and happy!" He was right, she is the happiest kid ever!

Cheers!

Kelli said...

I think I will start this as well once we are old enough to join play dates.
And the other women need to just "chill out" as we say in California!
:)

kate said...

Lovin the Parisian protocol, now I've gotta get the champagne flowing the next time we host a play date. I'm looking forward to the expressions on their faces!

Ms. Bar B: said...

Damn, why am I NOT in Paris?? LOL.

Little Miss Cupcake said...

Ha ha! Touche! Though the one rule you forgot was to make nice with the (usually crotchety) gardien who will yell after you to put the kids's stroller somewhere other than blocking the service door.

~SarahInParis said...

I can't believe I have missed your Champagne & Ladurée macaroon playdates. Ladurée macaroons are my fave!!!

Guillaume said...

Hi La Mom,
I am a French mom back from 3.5 years in north america where I have done many playdates, and now I wonder : why the hell haven't I stayed in Paris !!! And when is the next playdate ?... of course !

Now seriously, I am looking for playdates for my toddlers and baby and to meet american or canadian mom's in the west suburd of paris. I surfed the web but did not find much (except your hilarious blog of course !). Event meetup did not bring out much. The only thing I found is an association called message.org. Could you tell me where to look to find the american community of Paris ? Tks a lot ! Jenny

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