Friday, July 3, 2009

Frenchy Friday - Au Revoir Michel

La Mom took this picture of Michel Jackson and Bubbles when they were on display at the Jeff Koons exhibit at the Chateau de Versailles back in January. As of June 25th, I wish I'd taken more pictures of Michel and his chimp.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Safe and Secure French Field Trip

You know you live in France when....

Your kid's school plans a field trip and informs you two days before the trip.

Inform being the key word here, because the field trip flyer was short on information.

Dear Parents,

Madame Barnier's class will be going on an end-of-the-school-year boat trip on Thursday from 9:30 - 2:30. Please make sure your child brings a picnic lunch. For more information, please contact Madame Barnier at

Hmmm, a detail-poor note like that didn't make La Mom feel good about letting her Big Fry go on this trip. Then again, I couldn't keep him home and have him miss out on all the fun.

So I'm sure I was tagged Paranoid Mommy when I asked Madame Barnier:

-Where is the boat trip going to be? (The Seine? Bois de Boulogne lake?)
-How long will the kids be on the boat?
-What's the name of the boat excursion company?
-Are there life jackets on the boat?
-How will the kids get there? (Bus? Metro? RER commuter train?)
-Is lunch on the boat?

The life jacket question really threw her. The answer Madame Barnier gave me was, "But the boat is made for kids - it's safe and secure." Translation: no life jackets. OK, that would never fly in the U.S.

So the day of the field trip I was on pins & needles hoping Big Fry didn't somehow fall off the "safe & secure boat" without a lifejacket.

Oh, and it turns out Big Fry's class had their picnic under the Eiffel Tower. How charming is that? My only question is why Big Fry had to tell me that one instead of Madame Barnier's flyer?

Photo via Bateaux Parisien

Monday, June 29, 2009

Flash in the Pan

I’ve discovered there’s more than one way to be the most popular mom at the school fair.

Some mamans slave over homemade madeleines, some donate bottles of Château Margaux wine to the raffle, and then there’s my tactic.

Flash the dads.

OK, so it wasn’t a part of the original plan. Last Friday was our first-ever school fair – and I was feeling the pressure. I knew I’d see Arabelle, the snooty Alpha-Maman who somehow managed four small children, ran the PTA with an iron fist, and baked the perfect quiche – all in peep-toe high heels. Her son Paul is pals with Big Fry, and I always dread her cold once-over glance as she looks at me like I’m a ver de terre that she inadvertently squashed with her 4-inch stilettos.

This time I was determined that there was no way Arabelle could accuse me of slacking off on my motherly duties. Armed with a homemade tarte aux abricots and my new violet linen wrap dress, I immediately signed up to man the pêche aux canards booth for the kiddies.

How hard could it be, right?

I wasn’t prepared for the onslaught of 80 French kids hopped up on bonbons and let loose for the evening. The next 30 minutes was a blur of accepting tokens and pushing fishing poles into grabbing hands eager to fish for plastic ducks in an inflatable swimming pool.

Paul and his dad elbowed through the crowd for his turn. “Bonjour, Paul,” I said sweetly I handed him his fishing pole – just as the hook of an overexcited four-year-old caught on the hem of my dress.

The eyebrows of Paul’s papa shot up so far on his forehead that they almost went into orbit as he was treated to a full-frontal of my see-through fuschia lace bikini.

I told you that I dressed for the occasion.

It’s the French twist on your mother’s insistence on clean underwear:

Always wear pretty panties – you never know who’s going to see them.

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