Despite common belief, allowing your child to pee in the streets does not lead to police arrest. My mother has certainly tested the limits. Of course, one has to be strategic and pee discreetly rather than in front of Hermes. I have found that easing your crouched child in between parked cars works best but your toes then often get a bit splattered. I have seen endless moon-faces crouched under a tree in the park as the nou-nou or nanny gabbers on her telephone, tossing a packet of wet wipes in the direction of the two year old.
A double standard exists because dogs are allowed to do what they want, where they want, when they want and how they want. One becomes fairly agile when walking the streets and even Cedric (who is 2.5 years old) has noticed that it is necessary to dodge the presents left behind by people who cannot be bothered to clean up after their four-legged friends. Cedric, excitedly shouts, “mama, do a kangaroo jump so no dirty feets, there is many many poodle poop-poos!"
In addition to potty training, nursery school is a bit intimidating in Paris for both children and parents. The first teacher-parent conference was yesterday and, whilst entangled on a toddler-sized stool hoping that my left leg would eventually regain feeling and that nobody could see my knickers, I was trembling as the teacher lectured. Blah blah blah, children should do this, must do that, have to dress in this way, and cannot breathe-laugh-or-show-signs-of-anything-more-than-submission.
I have yet to see a family in my neighborhood with less than three children. It seems that the two extremes - posh and not posh - breed with determination. Let the truth be known that, although they procreate like bunnies, most Parisians do not actually like children. I have unfortunately, been the subject of attack on two occasions in the supermarket. Why the supermarket? I suppose because they overflow with grumpy-prim-and-proper-snobby-old-ladies who do not appreciate a toddler who is laughing and dancing in the cereal isle. The first time a woman scolded Cedric I was numb but when it happened again a few days ago and I saw my shocked and frightening toddler, my tiger-cougar-lion-bear instincts burst in full force. I realized, to my great joy, that I am quite competent in arguing in French and have the "bah" and dismissive hand wave mastered.
Due to their dislike for vertically challenged people, they tend to outsource child rearing. Perhaps I am wrong but I have a strong suspicion that the bosomed lady from Bamako is not related to the very Aryan children I see prancing about in high-couture outfits. So one might then ask where o where is dear maman? She is usually sitting at a cafe with a cigarette in one manicured hand and an espresso in the other.