The French don’t go in for the gee-gaws and huge play apparatuses that North American parents seem to feel obliged to litter their house with once Baby arrives on the scene.
Not only do the French object to how the clutter clashes with the carefully chosen décor of one’s interior, but they believe that little children aren’t that interested in toys when it comes right down to it. Rather, babies tend to be drawn to things they see the bigger people “playing” with. In our house this translates into the measuring spoons, the big girls’ dolls, and my magazines. I’m also deeply troubled and ashamed to admit that Clem has an obsession with the TV clicker.
In Canada, I had an obscene amount of brightly coloured plastic crapola for Charlotte and Camille, and the truth was that they played with it very little.
For Clémentine, however, I find myself doing the baby stuff in a far more minimalist, French style. For one thing, we have a relatively small house for a five person family, as is the case with many French people. I have learned that the smallest babies really only need clean diapers, soft clothes against their skin, someone to give them a bottle, a squeezy teething giraffe named Sophie, and a comfortable place to sleep to be content.
In this light, I had a lot of fun adding a “French Baby Essentials” section to our “French Favorites Store” on Amazon. To have a boo, just click here;
She has a drawer in the living room she knows is hers filled with books and the odd piece of Tupperware. Clem’s most prized possession, the one she covets above all else, is a broken old TV clicker she keeps secreted away in her drawer. She shrieks when anyone gets too close to her TV clicker, like a mother bear over her cub.
I have bought her a Fisher Price telephone from us, and a gold bracelet with her name engraved on it (called a “gourmette” here in France) from Santa with some of the money that I would have, when Charlotte and Camille were babies, spent on space-consuming “educational” toys that we would have tripped over for two years and then ended up chucking in the dumpster.
And c’est tout! Ho, Ho, Ho. Joyeux Noël!
**Frenchitude Fridays (French + Attitude = Frenchitude) give ideas for injecting a bit of frenchness into your life, whether you live in Annecy or Atlanta.