By now I am sure you’ve heard of this book. It’s been all over the talk shows and blogosphere. Being a lover of all things French, I was first in line at the library to get it. I was hooked by the first page when she recounts her experience with her 18 month old at a seaside cafe where her child screamed and tossed food for the duration of the meal. My now 20 month old does the exact same thing. I break out in hives at the mere thought of dining out with him since our family was almost ousted from a low end Mexican restaurant due to his outbursts.
I have read some reviews of this book where they say the French way of parenting stifles the child’s creativity but, according to Druckerman, there are not many French children who play the role of l’enfant roi (child king.) I see plenty of demanding, screeching children everyday at the playground, on play dates, and at the store (mine included.) Perhaps we American parents could learn a thing or two about parenting – even if it means stifling our kids a bit.
Yesterday I attempted to use some of these common sense French techniques such as telling the child the rules, using a firm no, and setting a framework of rules while allowing for some freedom within the framwork. My daughter had soccer practice. I took my 20 month to the playground across from the fields and at first, he obeyed my firm no’s and seemed to understand the rules I was laying down. After a while though, he got bored and began to test me by running directly towards the busy parking lot. He would look back at me with a mischievous grin and run like mad. I abandoned my experiment and spent the rest of practice chasing my son from the playground to the parking lot and upon catching him, having him fall on the ground screaming. We made quite the spectacle. I was exhausted and frazzled!
I guess next time I try to be a French maman, I’ll do it in safer place, like a fenced in yard that has been completely baby proofed. And until I master it, my family will just keep ordering take out and steer clear of restaurants (except on date night.)
Have you read it? What did you think of the book?