Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Hubris Is A Beetch

La Mom was excited for Big Fry’s school talent show. His group was performing the only English song at the show: I’m A Little Teapot.

If you’d been a fly on the wall at playgroup the week before the show, here’s what you would have heard:

La Mom: The French moms at school don’t give me the time of day. I’m never going to make French maman friends.

Chicago Mom: Don’t they know that you speak French?

La Mom: Of course they do. I was the only mom asking a million questions, in French, at back-to-school night.

Brussels Mom: French women are hard to crack.

La Mom(cues Monsieur Hubris): Well, Big Fry’s going to have the best English accent on stage. He knows the words to the song by heart. The Frenchies will all be envious. They’re probably jealous, anyway, because I’ve got the only kid in class who’s truly bilingual.

Fast forward to the talent show. All the kids have one sentence to say before singing I’m a Little Teapot:

“Good morning Mister waiter, a cup of tea, please.”

One by one, the French kids repeated the sentence with the same accent, “Goowd morneeng meester wayteh, eh cup uf tee pleess.”

Here’s what the French mamans were proudly whispering in the audience (and what La Mom was thinking):

Paris Mom Un: Oh la la! What a great accent Ariane has!
(La Mom: You call that an English accent? Clean the wax out of your ears.)

Paris Mom Deux: Our Jules speaks English so well!
(La Mom: Not really. The only English word I recognized in that sentence was "cup.")

Paris Mom Trois: I didn’t know your Cédric was so fluent in English!
(La Mom: Fluent shmuent. Give the kid another twenty-five years and a few study abroad trips and maybe he’ll be half as fluent as Big Fry is. Maybe.)

La Mom sat there smugly waiting for Big Fry’s chance to show them all how it’s done.... We’ve been singing "I’m A Little Teapot" since he was a baby.

Big Fry: Uhhhh, uhhh, goowd morneeng meester wayteh, ay’d like eh cup uf tee pleess.

Mon Dieu! Was he kidding? My bilingual Big Fry made himself sound like his Frenchie classmates. He pretended that he couldn’t speak English because he didn’t want to be different from his friends.

Oh how Monsieur Hubris is a beetch. Here’s what the French mamans said to me after Big Fry’s stellar performance:

Paris Mom Un: La Mom, Big Fry has a French accent when he speaks English. Mais dis donc!

Paris Mom Deux: He’s not that bilingual after all. Heuresement. Mon Jules peut le rattraper.

Paris Mom Trois: I think his French is better than his English.

Ouch. Way to stick a knife in La Mom’s heart. Tell her Big Fry is more French than American.

Hubris - eet ees eh beetch.


The Armchair Parisian said...

That's too funny. I wonder why it is not a requirement here in the states as it seems to be in Europe that students learn another language (usually English) from a very early age. My only brush with a language class was Spanish in 9th grade and my teacher drank vodka out of her coffee mug and paid the class no attention at all.

Beadboard UpCountry said...

That was hysterical and I don't even have kids......Always a pleasure......Maryanne ;)

svenskaussie said...

Classic, I had such a giggle at your story, kids aye.

kiki said...

fantastic post. congrats to big fry on his performance. i find that some southern women, like french women, are hard to "crack." i've lived here for four years {have been in the south since '94} and my only friend is from the mid-west. i failed at making friends in playgroup. i make every effort to talk to moms at school functions, invite kids over for playdates, etc., but i'm the one-time-only mom. we get invited over for a playdate or lunch, but it only happens once. my kid is always on his best behavior and i'm always polite and funny. i try to talk to the queen-bee-moms at school and they ignore me. i sometimes get a "hi. how ya doin'?" but most of the time i get a smirk. no one ever remembers my name, too. am i that forgettable? i remember every name. even the names of the spouses and children and family pets. if you figure out how to "crack" these women, please let me know. take care, La Mom.

InParis said...

@kiki...the expat moms can be just as brutal

@LaMom....LOL! Kids!

Tanya said...

Absolutely hilarious! Thanks for the laughs as always!

Moon said...

Haha, Paris is a lovely city, but French people have a special way of, wel... being :)
I'm from Belgium and I visit Paris about once a year. I think it's one of the greatest cities in the world! Lucky you get to live there! Although I can guess you miss America? Can't compare, never been there :(
Anyway, like your blog, I'm definitely a follower (Love browsing around and bumping into great blogs like yours!)

ParisBreakfasts said...

Just wait until they grow up!
Some Brit ex-pat parents living in Provence, told me their two teen daughters refused to let them speak Fr. in the house!
It hurt THEIR ears!
The tyranny of language..
Or should I say just F R E N C H!!!

likeschocolate said...

OMG, That conversation makes me want to stick a knife in those woman's back and I am not a violent person. How mean!

à la parisienne said...

This is the first time that I have ever visited your blog and this post is hilarious! I remember reading a book about the French culture not too long ago and it very clearly pointed out how French women are very reluctant to "open up" to outsiders (les américaines, par exemple) Hang in there.

Virginia said...

Oh this one is one of your very best. I"m still laughing. Poor thing. It's hard trying to make it in Paris isn't it! Thanks could be worse, he could have an American grandmother like moi that speaks a very small amount of French with a SOUTHERN accent. It's a disgrace. I don't know why the French continue to let me come back! :HA

Karin (an alien parisienne) said...

Darnit!! Why did Big Fry have to cave in at the last moment to peer pressure, eh??? Oh yeah, that's right, he is in French school where the nail that sticks up gets pounded down pretty quickly. I can't blame him for doing what he did. *sigh*

And yanno -- it is not so much Monsieur Hubris that is the beetch, but those Frenchie mommies, IMHO. Heh!!

I don't know how you do it, La Mom. But I sure get a kick out of your writing about it all.

PigletinFrance said...

Poor kid! Speaking English with ze French accent! Your post has made me laugh so hard, I just wish it wasn't such a sad reality of peer pressure and probably French teachers telling him how to speak English...

I have to admit when I speak English with Frenchies I always put on a French accent otherwise they don't understand me...Maybe it is a similar case here?

Nathalie said...

Lesson of the day: Never underestimate our children's need to fit in.

Tall poppy syndrome. My daughter suffers from it too. She hates speaking much in English class for fear of appearing too clever. Consequence: this week her English teacher only gave her a 17/20 this term and said he doesn't believe she is truly bilingual. She could have wrung his neck.

Laura said...

Oh no! I worry this is in our future also. I already notice that my oldest sings happy birthday with a german accent like his classmates do.
What to do?!?
Laura in Ludwigsburg

print brochures said...

haha, I'm still giggling. Sounds like a great performance ;)

Busy as a Bee in Paris said...

a fellow american mom in paris ;) come & visit me at www.busyasabeeinparis.blogspot.com

zalapabelle said...

I guess I have the same accent than these kids. If only I were a parisian mum so that we could have conversation in bith French and English !

I'll sure come again to practice my English, reading your blog !

zalapabelle said...

Reading the others comments, just hoping your blog is not an "anti-french" blog by the way !

JouJou Loves You said...

Waahahaa!!!! I loved this!!! Love your blog. Stumbled upon it through twitter.

Those French women....oooph. Tell me about it. I must say though..that my first generation born in France (North African) girlfriends are AAAMAZING, kind, and a total blast.

Can't wait to continue reading your entries!!! They are wonderfully hilarious!!!!

kala said...

La Mom, I LOVE your blog. Absolutely, absolutely, absolutely adore it. I just moved from Paris to Saudi Arabia and your blog is keeping me sane (or insane - I'm laughing so much).

Keep it up!


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