Tuesday, August 14, 2012

a review of sorts.." Bringing up Bebe"

I've been trying to read at least a book a week and had completely forgotten to check out " Bringing up Bebe" from the library.
I FINALLY got my hands on it and I have some thoughts on it.

Being that this is my first time being a parent, I felt like I was reading a manual on how bring my child up like a Parisian.
I feel almost stuck in a complicated situation. I was brought up 100% ecuadorian perhaps south american style parenting. So much different than American parenting and almost way different than French Parenting.
Pamela Druckerman writes this book while her and her husband live in Paris and are astonished on how well behaved a small child is at a restaurant while her child same age is running all over the place.
This is way to familiar to me.
Most of any outings with our 2 year old is, "eat fast and hurry" which is never fun when you want to digest your food.
Obviously I am intrigued because the way Pamela is saying  18 mo old French children can stay still at a table for longer than 30 min, eat their vegetables, and entertain themselves well sign me up!

Druckerman talks a lot about how American moms feel major guilt about typical things that French mothers do not consider a big deal.
Take for example nursing.
If you live in America you KNOW this is a HUGE hot topic amongst us moms. HUGE.
For expample the recent TIME magazine article about attachment parenting.
I personally nursed my child 13 months. I wanted to go longer but I was extremely ill and meds that could be dangerous were involved,and well... I stopped. Not without feeling major guilt even though I had been an "over achiever" like my pediatrician called me ( which was totally rude and uncalled for)
I wore my child in a moby practically every outing till he was 9 months.
I was fortuante enough to be a stay at home mom and I still have a hard time leaving my son with strangers, or day cares. I haven't done both yet, and sometimes I wish I would have taken the help when offered.
But thats what Pamela says we American moms are. The more sacrafcing the "better" moms we are. I don't think that at all, but I just felt that this is my child and I need to do what I can for him. But the guilt... oh the "mom guilt"
Meanwhile on the other side of the world, French moms are basically not encouraged to nurse. Druckerman writes that its actually weird to see a mom past 3 months nursing. Most French moms are using formula practically since birth, and that is just so normal. One mom Druckerman writes went to her doctor and she was still nursing at 15 months and her doctor said "what does your husband think?". Apparently its crucial to be sexy and slim right away.
She writes that French moms don't understand why make your life more difficult pumping, cracked nipples, bleeding, when you can just use formula.
Another thing is losing the baby weight.
Commonly in American that's a great excuse to why we still are a little chunky, hello we just had a baby.
In her book she says that most french moms lose the weight in 3 months. In mom circles here in America its probably really rude to ask another mom " what are you doing to lose the baby weight" but not in france.

Sleeping through the night, which is most french families happens the latest at 4 months old is something that I was shocked. This is just normal, and if your child is not " doing his nights" Druckerman says moms usually ask you why? Like your not doing something right.
Mine didn't "do his nights" till he was 12 months old.

Next comes Day care.
This is much different in France than in the U.S. Day cares here have a bad rep for being a place you abandon your child and they are probably left crying and screaming. Which I know isn't true since I worked at a day care myself for a bit, and I was a nanny most of my summers in college.
But in France you are HOPING you get a spot in the free day cares. You need to start applying while your still pregnant. The good thing about these places is that everyone working there has to go though some sort of schooling, its not like you can love children and get a job.
Druckerman talked about how her daughter learned manners and how to be patient and wait.
When I read how "day cares" in France are, I probably wouldn't have such a huge hesitation as I do living in America ( that and the cost of a good day care).

It seems like I have written a bunch of things i disagree with French parenting but I have also learned from it.
I love how its BEYOND important that children say hello, goodbye, thank you, and please. Of course the magic words "please and thank you" are common in american children but saying hello is not.
This is one of the commonalities that Ecuadorian parenting and French Parenting have in common, that was shocking for me in America ( and my parents).
Saying hello to adults is a must. period.
Kids will get punished if they refuse to say hello.
Out of my own personal expereince if i didn't say hello to everyone in the room I would be considered extremely rude and "malcriada" which means in spanish raised bad, and to my amusment the french has a similar saying to kids who do not say hello.
I remember my parents being shocked my grade school friends did not say hello to them when they came over. They eventually told me I had to inform my friends if they come over they have to say hello.
Which was weird for my American raised friends,which I'm sure greetings were taught in their homes but it wasn't of such HIGH importance as it was in my home and apparently, as druckerman writes, in all french homes.

1 comment:

  1. That book does sound really interesting. It's pretty amazing all the different philosophies on child rearing. I know one thing I noticed after moving here just from Calgary, Canada was the emphasis on preschool here. People start their kids at 2-3 years old. I don't think there's anything wrong with that or anything it's just that until I moved here, I'd never even know anyone who went to preschool. They just aren't as prevalent there.

    I totally agree with you about the pressure moms here put on themselves and oh the guilt. It's like this big 'who's the best mommy contest' when we really should just all be supporting and helping each other to just make the best decisions for our kids and ourselves instead of constantly worrying about what everyone else is doing, what's the 'in' thing now, and if all the other moms are going to judge us for each and every decision we make.

    I think I may have to check out that book. Thanks for the review. =)

    PS Missed you 8o)