Parenting Stories (à la Française): Le Canicule

paris_tour_eiffel_bwEveryone here is talking about le canicule, the heatwave that is upon us and apparently most of France at the moment. Although I refuse to complain (a heatwave in Seattle = 3 days of above 75-degree temps), it is damn hot here. So hot, that we’ve shelved all plans and hit the beach until it cools down.

A few beach observations:

1. Large, blatantly fake boobs exist en France as well, and many of their owners consider it part of their national service to flaunt them openly. Some of them are pretty bad, and I am not speaking out of envy, at least not entirely. One woman looked as though some plastic surgeon had put his mouth on her nipple and inflated. Fiona took it upon herself to do what she does when she sees any well-endowed topless woman: she went as close to her as she could with me watching and hollered "booooob laaadyyyyyy!" I swear I saw the woman smile in appreciation.

2. Fifty Shades of Filth has been translated into every European language. I think I even saw an Esperanto copy.

3. European babies do not wear swim diapers. Even though most American pools won’t let a baby within 2 miles if she is not in one of those giant disposable swim diapers, the babies and toddlers here go either naked or in a bikini bottom; no diaper. How come they aren’t having episodes of explosive diarrhea? (thank God for spellcheck because I may never learn how to spell that word.) The sand has given poor Sidney an angry rash, so I have decided to go native and let her swim diaperless. No more episodes for us, but watch this space….

4. The heat has turned my boys into wild animals. Believe it or not, even though they’ve had bouts of atrocious and embarrassing behavior, the boys have gotten along famously here. But things have been so bad the past 48 hours that when the Bennett threw sand at Efram and Efram then leaped on him, beat him to the ground and then held his face in the sand, I was frozen to the spot — call it exhaustion, complacency … But when I noticed a crowd of onlookers I yelled “LOOK AWAY FRENCH PEOPLE!!” and ran over to break the boys up. It took a while and I eventually pulled them off the beach by the hair, one in each hand, like the dogs they were emulating. Despite my pleas, there were even more spectators by that point … and I fought the urge to bow as we left.

M arrives in a day or so to spend a whopping five and half days with us before we wrap this trip up. And no, that’s not bitterness you detect. I have big plans for the next few days and they all involve a healthy dose of solitude.

Bonne nuit!

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lea_geller1About Lea Geller
I’m a part-time lawyer, full time mother of five (ages 9 and down)… Currently in sunny Seattle. People ask how I manage it all, and I like to say that I do lots of things, but none of them very well. That’s my secret…. In a house of seven strong, distinct personalities, I always seem to have a story to tell. I suppose I got tired of people telling me, ‘You have to write this down!” So, I finally did, and blogging about our large mishaps, small triumphs, and other adventures, has helped hold my sanity together, albeit loosely.

Check out the rest of Lea's family's adventures on her blog, This Is the Corner We Pee In.

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