Friday, March 13, 2009

Playgroup Detective Work

L'Amie has been doing a bit of detective work for La Mom.

Actually, she attended a playgroup and all the expat moms were dishing about a very handsome doctor at a certain English speaking hospital in Paris.

She delivered the most delightful news that I'll be spreading vite with all of the DEMs (Desperate Expat Moms) in my part of Paris.

Dr. Hot - THE. Hottest. Doctor. At The American Hospital in Paris. Is. Single!

But I, alas, am not. And neither are my friends, but as I mentioned above, they are all desperate.

So I can only assume that news of Dr. Hot's bachelorhood will bring an increased demand for his CPR training services. This means the lucky expat moms who have large enough apartments will be hosting CPR/Playgroup mornings as an excuse to spend time with him. Everyone will show up in the most appropriate playgroup mommy clothes: Louis Vuitton mules, skinny jeans, and low cut tops that reveals just enough néné to give our favorite pediatrican a heart attack. I can see it now - all the DEMs fighting over who gives Dr. Hot mouth-to-mouth.

Of course, La Mom will be attending every CPR training possible - you never know when you're gonna need to "Call - Blow - Pump" someone right?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

It's Story Time!

The French Fries have a very politically correct book called Daisy the Doctor. It's about a female doctor in England who has co-workers and patients representing all the colors in a rainbow.

As I was reading it, it struck me how I've never seen a book like this in France and probably never will.

(Sidebar: If anyone out there can prove me wrong and find a nice politically correct kid's book that represents the melting pot of France, I will gladly eat my words - or a bag of warm, buttery croissants.)

So what would the French version of Daisy the Doctor be like if it existed?

Let's get ready to have STORY TIME WITH LA MOM and find out!

See if you can spot the differences between the English & French versions.
Pierre the(male)Doctor would drive to work in a Citroen, not a Mini.

Pierre works at the Medical Centre in Clichy-Sous-Bois. These are the people Pierre works with:
Sylvie the Receptionist
Moleka the Nurse (she's female of course)
Doctor Rachid Faudel

The waiting room is packed when Pierre arrives. "Good morning," says Sylvie cheerfully.

Pierre's first patient arrives. His name is Mustapha Ben Amara.

"Poor little Mustapha's been up all night with an earache," says his maman Hakima. "Big owie!" cries Mustapha.

Next, in comes a maman with Medina bin Abdullah,a tiny baby, and a small boy called Farid.

Medina bin Abdullah's doing just fine," says Pierre. Just then, Sylvie knocks and opens the door. "Someone's had an accident," she says.

(Sidebar: Warning: La Mom is going to vent.
Notice how in the English version Alice is in a wheelchair? Her handicap is there for everyone to see. Here the disabled seem to be hidden. Or they've been moved out of Paris like the immigrants. Oh, and public transportation and public places are not exactly handicap-friendly (nor stroller-friendly for that matter.)

Alexandre stops crying. Moleka the female nurse treats the cut.

Pierre the Doctor is running late and has a lot more patients to see. (Sidebar: See how the English patients represent different ethnicities and colors? They'd all be lilly white with names like Faustine, Dauphine, Jean-Louis & Charles-Antoine in the French version).

At last it's time to go home. "I'm exhausted and have a headache," says Pierre the Doctor to Sylvie. "Maybe you should see a doctor!" says Sylvie as she rolls her wheelchair out of the office and into the handicap friendly world of Paris, down 100 steps of the apartment building, down 200 steps to the metro station, on her way home from work.


Here are some New York Times links that show another side of France.
Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité? Not exactly.

Comedy film puts racism in spotlight

French film industry racist for barring black actors from dubbing white stars

Melting pot cracks as Muslims reject Christian names in France

Monday, March 9, 2009

Bank Loans for Birthday Parties

Jennifer is stresed out. She's throwing a birthday party for her 3 year old and just found out what's expected for the fête. In other words, if she wants to keep her cool maman reputation intact, she needs to get a bank loan to throw her kid a birthday party!

She found out that you can't just do a plain old birthday cake and pin-the-tail-on-the donkey. Maybe in Marseilles you can, but not in the 16th arrondisement of Paris!

It's a full-on fête for toddlers and their parents.

La Mom filled Jennifer in on how large the bank loan's gotta be. Here's an itemized loan listing for your reading pleasure. Feel free to modify as needed, but remember, you risk your reputation if you're caught skimping...


Guests: 10 toddlers + their younger siblings (10) + parents (20) = 40 people cramped into a small Parisisan apartment (even if it's a big apartment it still feels small with 40 people.)

Party duration: 2.5 hours

~1 organic, American style birthday cake (for 35 people/elaborate decoration - Dora & Diego) = 75 euros

~3 bottles of organic orange juice from Le Bon Marché = 12 euros

~Dora & Diego party decorations = 20 euros

~10 party bags (contents: one *hero* toy, in this case a stuffed animal from Bonpoint) = 10 euros + various goodies (budget another 5 euros/bag) = 150 euros

~entertainment (annoying animateur/master of toddler ceremonies who covers all the 16th arrondissement parties) = 2.5 hours @ 350 euros

~1 babysitter to look after the baby siblings = 3 hrs @10 euros/hr = 30 euros

~1 helper (to coat check/pass out food/tidy up/babysit/patrol the back of the apartment to make sure nobody's husband has gotten "lost" with one of your mommy friends and wound up in your bathroom "admiring" the imported Italian bath tiles) = 3 hrs @ 10 eur/hr = 30 euros

~6 bottles of Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin champagne = 222 euros

~6 bottles of wine (and a plug for Big Cheese's family): Chateau Bizard Cotes du Rhone = 60 euros

~1 six pack of Perrier sparkling water = 5 euros

~1 six pack of Evian water = 4.50 euros

~1 box of 59 La Durée macarons = 80 euros

~2 platters of petits fours from Le Notre (don't *gasp* go with frozen finger food from Picard!) = 100 euros

~10 mini bouquets of baby roses from the local market for the moms = 40 euros

Birthday Party Bank Loan Total = 1178.50 euros

By the way, if you don't go all out for your tot's party, you're secretly known as a Tulip Mom in certain expats circles of the 7th, 8th and 16th arrondissements.

Why a Tulip Mom? Here's a little quiz...

Where do tulips come from? Holland.

Who has the reputation of being the cheapest people in Europe? The Dutch.

Is there a secret message when an expat snob mom brings you a bouquet of tulips as a gift? Of course! She's not being nice, she's secretly telling you (and the other moms) that she thinks you're cheap.

So would you take out a bank loan for your kid's birthday party? Or would you prefer doing it your way at the risk of being branded a Tulip Mom?

PS- The French TV channel M6 just launched a new soap opera called "Paris 16th." Reviews say the soap is a total caricature of 16th arrondissement life (imagine Beverly Hills 90210.) La Mom's certainly not helping the 16th's reputation, is she? registered & protected

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