Several months ago when the book “Bringing Up Bebe” by Pamela Dunkerman came out, I admit, I rushed out to buy it. After all, it was a new book about successful parenting and I wanted to be a successful parent. I didn’t get very far (only because I’m a new parent and have no time to read) but I did wonder if it really works. So why not go to someone who might know. My new friend and neighbor Lydie is french, she’s a parent and she likes to write. In fact she has her own website, Le Bulletin Des Gaulois, written in french. So she gave me her take on the book “Bringing Up Bebe”!
“Frog Eater vs. Burger Eater”
by Lydie Kaplan
According to the misconception that people hold against Frenchies, I am a hairy woman under my arm pit, my breath of stinks cheese and some others things that I can't even remember (more likely is that I choose not too!).
Anyway, I do not hold a grudge against anyone, I am still married to hubby who is one of yours! Believe me, when it is his turn and I want to get on his case, I ™m there! I can find as many prejudices against Americans as I want.
It's now more than ten years since I have been living in France, but sometimes I am wondering if I am on the same page that my contemporaries. Does means I am getting old, or have things really changed?. As an example, I am pretty sure you heard about the Pamela Duckerman book Bringing Up Baby , where she idealizes our method of education, us, The Frenchies. Let me tell you, I was floored. I could not believe it! Even though I should be delighted about it, I am not, why, I will tell you..
I am sure you are astonished on this one, aren't you? The major thing is that I am not agreeing with her at all. Nada, nyet, not a bit! To be honest I did not even read the book. I saw her on TV on the French channel, read some papers, went on forums ¦Most of the people seem totally ecstatic about it, me, not so much! As I said before, I am French and I can tell you this is not true. Sorry if I am going to shock you but it is more about an unrealistic vision of French education and making money. It is a total fantasy. What she said I already read in some books here in the US. In France we have L ™Enfant Roi literally meaning the child king. If you don't believe me, go online, type L ™Enfant Roi and you will find a bunch of books from famous child pediatrician telling you that nowadays, French kids are spoiled rotten little monsters, and that we parents are letting it go and don't stand up anymore, to our so called little angels because we do not want them to have low self-esteem issues. Bottom line – they are in charge, not us, the grown-ups who are supposed to be!
I am a bit disappointed with this kind of book. An American woman writer is selling books big time, telling she discovered the “French way” of raising children! Here we are, big publishing shot and that’s it! I really do not understand or approve of the fact that on a lot of blogs and newspapers, we read about this. Now I just learned that she wrote the second tome, BÃ©bÃ© Day by Day. To my own judgment, what she is saying in her book makes sense, a lot of sense. She has a fun, witty way of writing, it is very light and easy to read and that's it.
Do I look an old grumpy French woman because I said what I think? Hopefully not (oh, and for the record, I am not that old!) I think that there is no right or wrong way of raising a child as long as it gives a healthy, caring and emotionally stable environment for a child and his family. It's the same everywhere. I am sure that there are as many very bratty kids in US as there are in France, or Japan, or wherever else. I read in an American paper lately that some parents are afraid of theirs teenage kids. Guess what, so are parents in France.
Why am I so annoyed about it? It's that nowadays education seems to be more of a trend that something else. When I had my son 6 years ago, there was so much pressure to breastfeed. My girlfriend in France, who was pregnant at the same time as me, met the same exact tribulations as me; pressure to go without an epidural which may be dangerous (meaning if you could not use it and suffer it would be much better), eating organic, and this and that ¦I can tell you, I did everything in the wrong order. I did not breastfeed (no desire at all), I had two epidurals and ended up having a c-section. Guess what? If I have another child I will have request a c-section right away, which I find quicker, easier and much more ¦neat? The thing is that now, everyone is an expert on everything just because they read something on the internet and it goes with their philosophy or matches their expectations. What about trusting a little bit more your doctor or to simply not rejecting something who does not goes with your ideals?
She enjoys writing on her blog under the pseudonym of Victoire Dumas and is currently working on her first novel, a thriller. An animal lover, she is a volunteer shelter coordinator for NorCal Boxer Rescue, Texas location.
The family has 2 boxer dogs named Ruppert, and Patchie, who was recently adopted, previously their foster dog.