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The Birthday Bash

June 1, 2010

Went off quite well.  It was kind of a buffet style.  We drank some really nice pink sparkling wine from Italy, had some really good food including verrines, a tajine style plat, and some yummy creme brulee for a desert.  We danced to Abba (the French seem to love that), and chatted until the wee hours of the morning.

It is always a little strange to see people in a context where you are not used to seeing them.  Starting off with MrB.  I know his as a funny, silly guy, who laughs a lot, always makes jokes and loves me and his baby girl to the moon and back.  At this party I was able to see him in a different light.  There were mainly collegues invited, and it was fun and interesting to see them mingle, and how MrB was appreciated among them.  I was always nice and courteous while I was at work, but I can’t imagine going to a party with my work collegues.  Well, scratch that.  There are a few with people who I liked, and a few I would rather eat fire then do anything outside of the absolute necessary with!  But back to my point of it was really interesting to see people outside of the context within which you know them.  The work people at this party were all either his current bosses, or one of his ex-bosses (the birthday boy), and all the other work related people were in different departments at work ect.  So I was proud of my husband, that he is deemed a person that people would want present at their birthday party.

Also present was the family of the birthday boy/man.  And that was also very interesting.  We’ve eaten several times at this person’s home, and even had them over to our tiny, stone, house and they’ve always seemed so normal, and rather conservative.  His father is more or less what I expected of an older Frenchman, he was happy that he got to see the rugby game on the TV (with no sound as we had the music going at the same time).  But his mother and sister were nothing at all like what I would have imagined.  His mother was wearing stilleto, spiked, heels and a short dress, with bordeaux colored hair styled in a really sharp bob.  And his sister was rather brazen, wearing a ton of make-up and also a really short dress, that was white-ish and a black thong.  They were all nice people, just not at all what I was expecting and it took me a little while to get over that shock.

In the end it was a really good thing we had such a good present.  Because the Birthday Boy’s parents and everyone else kind of feel down on the gift giving part.  Besides his wife and daughter who wrote out a really good riddle to tell him that they were taking him to Marrakesh for 5 days.  It was so cute.  And our Mont Blanc made his eyes water up with tears, so I assume that was a success as well.

There was also a woman collegue of MrB’s who was giving me a really hard time about how I parent, but whatever, we are all allowed to make our own choices.  Although it got to the point of really frustrating…  We didn’t bring the baby-phone (which was an error on my part, but I tend to forget that parties in France last FOREVER, and I forgot how big of a house we were going to…  usually I am able to hear her wherever she is at our friends homes), and so I wasn’t really keen on putting MissL to sleep upstairs in the, rather cold, office.  There were about 10 other kids running around and all of the rooms led to one-another, so I doubt she would have really slept anyways.  I just put her, already asleep, in her stroller and parked it in the kitchen, and she slept really well for a few hours.  Around 2am she woke up though and was ready to go home, so was I though, so it worked out fine.  But that one lady just couldn’t stop telling me that “No-one is going to steal her upstairs you know!”, or “If you don’t start toughening her up she is going to use you!”.  I mean come on lady, she is still a baby, we aren’t at home and why say those things?  Not to mention that I need to wean her asap…  Ugh.  I don’t care how other people parent their children, why do they feel the need to comment how I parent mine!?

After these past few experiences I realize that the French are perhaps less tolerant then I thought.  As soon as you don’t fit into the mold of what is considered normal, people out here feel that they have the right to question and comment.  Sigh.  I guess I will just be the crazy, hippy, American mom from now on.  Which is fine with me.  I actually find it quite fitting.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 1, 2010 4:03 pm

    Your baby is all of seven months old and you need to wean her?! What a nutcase!
    I know what you’re going through, though. I breastfed all my children until they were a year and a half old. You can just imagine the comments. sigh.

    You stay just the way you are and tell the nosy folks to “s’occuper de leurs oignons”!

    People like that are just SO annoying.

    • ashleyenfrance permalink*
      June 1, 2010 4:15 pm

      Oh my, yes I can imagine the comments! And since it doesn’t look like we will be stopping anytime soon, I am working on growing a thicker skin, because I think that they are going to be coming my way as well soon! Sigh. I never thought of the French as being such a judging group of people before this experience of breastfeeding. Everyone seems to have something to say about it.

      I am working on my ‘leave me alone’ speech… I am thinking it is going to be something along the lines of ‘We are happy with the way things are going, thank you for your concern/opinion’. They do seem supportive of me speaking English to her though. Although one person did ask how she would deal with going to la maternelle if she only spoke English. ?!? Um, what!? She is exposed to French all the time by 60 million Frenchmen. Sigh.

  2. June 1, 2010 7:45 pm

    It sounds like you had a great time, and I love how his daughter and wife wrote him a riddle to help him figure out his gift! That is too cute. I can’t get over how many people you have run into who feel the “need” to tell you advice about parenting. Family is one thing, but strangers? I think it’s great that you’re working on your “thanks but no thanks” speech. The best way to deal with those kind of people (and ironically, here I am giving unsolicited advice as well!) is to call them out on their opinions. When you say something like, “Oh, I should stop breastfeeding at 7 months? I didn’t realize that. What’s the literature on that?” the criticizer will often stutter and give a fake answer like, “That’s just how things are,” which opens the door for you to call them on their ignorance. Though maybe I do things like that because I’m a jerk. 😉 However, you can accomplish the same thing by speaking politely, I’m sure. I’m always a fan of backing judgmental people into a metaphoric corner through logic!

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