Last night I started Bringing Up Bébé, not out of anticipation of anything (or anyone) but out of curiosity. I’ve found the author makes some large generalizations (and admits as much), but overall is rather insightful. At a cafe this morning I read about The Pause, the five-to-ten minutes a French parent allows a child, including infants, to cry before they interfere. This break supposedly allows a parent to determine the child’s true needs. Instead of rushing to the crib immediately only to discover the child is simply moving between sleep cycles, most French parents, Pamela Druckerman says, let their child work out their needs and find solace and comfort in their aloneness. This, Druckerman posits, is directly counterpoint to much American parental behavior and practice–helicopter- or attachment-parenting.
While reading about this intriguing difference I was privy to, if not French, then a similar kind of hands-off approach to parenting. A father and his young daughter entered the cafe and took up at the table next to mine. He proceeded to order a tea and settle into the booth while his daughter, about eighteen-months-old, happily explored the entire cafe. She kindly waited by the front door greeting customers with a gummy smile. She visited patrons at their table, examined scarves, rested her hands on nearly every surface, and generally delighted everyone.
Her insatiable curiosity was encouraged not stifled like I so often saw back in the States. No one seemed bothered that she was given free reign, not even the servers bustling around with hot cappuccinos and the best croissants you have ever tasted. She was essentially allowed to toddle around unaccompanied, intruding on others’ quiet time with a newspaper. Equally, her father didn’t appear compelled to jump up and follow her every move, furiously apologizing for her. There seemed to be a mutual understanding that the baby was allowed to explore.
I’m not sure I would have reached the same conclusions had I not been so immersed in my book, but I found it interesting nonetheless. I’m not sure who is right and who is wrong, or that labels such as those are even worth mentioning anymore. I did find it intriguing that a little bit of observation can go quite a long way toward opening one’s eyes to new and perhaps better alternatives to parenting.
On a completely unrelated note, I am currently looking out the window to find my neighbor vacuuming his outdoor balcony. Is this a thing?
Further unrelated, a few links for the weekend:
Holiday parties are on the horizon: Thoughtful gifts for the hostess.
Bravo was my guilty pleasure in the States. His show was one of my favorites.
Speaking of slightly shameful anecdotes, I have a teal velvet scrunchie that I use on the regular. Now I can make my own! (I actually used to have a scrunchie-maker when I was younger #noshame)
We had shaved brussels sprouts with avocado alongside grilled chicken for dinner last night. Please do not forget to add goat cheese. And more goat cheese.
New party pants.
What are you up to this weekend? Tonight, my friend Nancy and I are going to an American women’s meet-up. My latest attempts to make friends have not gone so well so, despite common sense and indicating patterns, I have high hopes. The rest of the weekend looks relatively relaxed, as we’ve been pretty busy the last few. Have a good one!