Bringing Up Bébé by Pamela Druckerman
I enjoyed this book. I enjoyed it quite a lot really. Perhaps it was because it told much about French culture or because of the author's candor. Either way, I liked it. My school philosophy and certain parenting ideas are far from hers, but I enjoyed her telling of her journey. Pam talked about French day care, public school, eating out, having twins, infertility, and being a woman. I found her refreshing.
We live in a society in America that seems to cripple our children from growing up. We do everything for them, over praise, micro-manage, put them in every activity, and never say no. In France, Pam noticed a remarkable difference in the polite behavior of the children there. She took note of so many things. The French never yell at their children. They are stern with saying no and do not answer every whim that their children have. They teach them to play and entertain themselves. They give them some autonomy. They learn how to be adults.
Her talk about being afraid to talk about God because she thought it might confuse her children and how French parents let their kids have a private sex life blew my mind. I wasn't reading a Bible-based parenting book here. It was just one honest woman's journey. She wasn't out to impress me, her reader, with her high moral standards. I appreciated her truth.
There were things in the book I adored that had nothing to do with parenting as well. She talked about how well French women cared for themselves, even after having children. They ate well. They made time as couples to enjoy their spouses. Their world didn't revolve around their children where they spent their lives running back and forth to their children's activities. They may be in one activity. There was a balance. They made time for amoré. They remembered that they were still women.
One of my favorite parts of the book was when Pam tells us that French women never complain about their husbands. This delighted my soul. I think we have it so good and yet women incessantly complain about their spouses. She tells a story of being away with some friends. The other woman's husband arose early and went to get pastries. As the wife came down and sat at the table, she proclaimed, "J’adore cette baguette!” (I adore this baguette!) Pam later relayed the story to her husband and he said that they needed more of that. Enjoy your man. Delight in his kindness.