Tuesday, 24 January 2012

French Kids eat Pate!

Wow do they!  Following on from yesterday's food theme - I also read yesterday (but got distracted with my dinner lady and lateness rage) about how all French children are impeccably well mannered whilst eating out at restaurants and us Brits can't keep our little terrors under control. Oh,  by the way, the Parisian mums look effortlessly glamorous also.  So chew on that if you're currently sitting in your sweats and bending down to pick up the food that has been flung from the highchair by your little terror.

The article was in the Daily Mirror and was by an ex-pat who has moved to Paris with her husband with toddler in tow.  It was basically the French do it better. We are slack parents that give our kids too much freedom and "no" should mean no. And just to rub salt into the wounds she basically said most British mums are slummy mummies (my term not hers before she pinches it) rather than yummy mummies (someone else's worn out term).

I suspect this is another "what an earth can we write about now article" but this may well be very true - maybe the French and their children are quite happy to sit for 2 hours eating their dinner in a restaurant.  Maybe they all eat exceptionally well with not a chicken nugget in sight and the women are drop dead gorgeous.

Personally I can't think of anything worse than 'dining' out with children certainly under the age of 2.  Why should they be expected to sit for 2 hours 'enjoying' a meal?  A child of that age does not want to sit for 2 hours and nor should they have to.  They want to eat when they're hungry and that's it.  They don't want the experience. The parent does.  The parent wants to continue as they were before pre-children. Its the same parent that wants "me time" and "wants their old life back".  How enjoyable is it to dine out saying "careful" "you need to go now?" "nappy needs changing" "she's tired" "sit still" "it won't be much longer" .. .yes really enjoyable that.  Maybe the French child has accepted defeat and resigned itself (I'm not talking about older kids here) to 2 hours of hell and thinks it'll soon be over if I eat this pate!

I would much prefer my child to be running in the park, out and about, than to be confined to a room with a plate, knife and fork.

Now there are glamorous women in all the major capitals of the world. I have been to Paris many times and even honeymooned there. My most recent memory of this city then is 2009 where I observed women smoke like troopers, rough old diamonds some might say!  I rarely saw a Parisian woman break into a smile or a laugh for that matter. On one occasion whilst in a restaurant (with disruptive kids - of course probably foreigners) a woman sat opposite her husband whilst he tucked into burger, chips and large beer whilst she nursed a spud with salad and a glass of water. She barely touched it.

I always get the impression that French women are serious and of feminist persuasion but here they are nibbling away at salad, smoking like troopers to be thin for their men. The same men where its deemed acceptable to have an affair.  But possible the most annoying thing is their acceptance of those awful toilets that remain in public places where there is nothing more than a hole in the ground. Why are they not bothered about that?  Why are they not bothered about urinals on walls in public places for men to just stop and have a piss? Answer me that!

And if we are really going to get the brush out and tar everyone the same then, in the way that British mums are labelled as fat, I would have to say that French women are ugly (sorry if you are a beautiful French woman) and that maybe being slim is all they have to offer? Sweeping statements all round I think.

I find ex-pats do a lot of Brit bashing when they haven't been in the country for years. Most of their observations are not first hand at grass roots level but from Internet and newspaper articles.  There appears to be a lot of gloating and justification for the move.  Stuart Lee did a great routine where the person justifies the move by saying how big the prawns are in Australia compared to the UK.  Its very funny.

Moving on to dieting matters - I had a great day yesterday and am about to proceed with my wii dance and biggest loser. I was not blogging as frequently as I did when I started this blog in October. I update my weight loss on a baby site forum and I was flattered to hear that one member was disappointed it wasn't being written everyday. So thank you Gillian my favourite stalker for giving me a kick up my big fat arse!


  1. I read about this "controversy" a few weeks ago. Don't you just love it when cultures compare their differences and decide that ONE is better than the other? I too would rather ENJOY a meal WITH my children as opposed to sending them to the "Kiddie" table and expect them to be silent. I find the best conversations start from a 3 1/2 year old anyway! Take that & smoke it Frenchies! ;) (I love Paris too, by the way...one of my favourite cities in the world next to London. And I do speak French...fluently...voila!) ;)
    Karin @ Cafe Bebe

  2. I read that article too and then I read this one and felt much better! http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.guardian.co.uk%2Flifeandstyle%2F2012%2Fjan%2F19%2Fare-obedient-children-a-good-thing&h=qAQFQXqTuAQGvbvuYbxGr1m9mREebhe0EAEOKHTwQmju82w

  3. Actually don't think that link will work sorry new to this lol! I have posted it on my twitter instead lol!

  4. Sounds like the kind of article that would have me spitting feathers! Any article which is based on a holier than though attitude usually does!

    As an expat myself (Brit living in Germany, having just moved from two years in Copenhagen), I can confirm that bashing the country you are resident in seems quite common and I find it so depressing. I will never forget the sinking feeling I had when I met a group of expats in Denmark, all of whom had negative stuff to say, and I had only just moved to the place!

    Great post, and good luck with the dieting! Emma

  5. Thank you for your lovely comments. I also love Paris and France. My husband wants to move eventually so have been looking at ex-pat blogs and various sites. It does seem the Brits whilst living elsewhere like to slate their homeland some having not set foot for years!! The amount of articles about the violence, nhs, benefits etc etc. I love living in the UK and would be sorry to leave. I just think if you love where you are living what does it matter what people are doing back 'home'? Emma - I can also imagine that the same ex-pats being smug are the very ones that also moan about the country they live in! There's a wealth of blog posts on this one! Natashax

  6. The thing about this story is that French culture is really different and there is a lot more emphasis on long family meals, so maybe the kids are conditioned earlier to that. I have sometimes felt like an episode of Supernanny when eating our with my tribe, but they are not the sort of kids to sit for long periods of time, so we go for picnics now so it doesn't matter! Great post btw

  7. Nikki - picnics sound way better! Natashax

  8. As parents we are all doing the best we can! I would know, I am French. I wish we had parenting secrets but we don't. Sad but true!

  9. Indeed we try - I find Gin always helps - would like to do a wink thing but am 38 and can never quite work all those little things out!

  10. Excellent article. So agree with you on all counts!