Here I am, six months along with this growing bump, and only a few more to go before I meet my petit garçon. So far, life has felt like an ongoing Barbara Walters special. Never have I attracted such attention- so many questions, so many opinions. All of which are well-intention certainly, but my brain, seemingly on sabbatical since the nano-second I heard garçon’s teensy heart patter, is having a rough time processing and organizing it all. The methods. The products. My body. The baby’s not born yet, so I don’t know how sleep training will go. I don’t think he even knows. Some carriages have cup-holders and a storage tray, but they aren’t easy to maneuver. Then, there’s that aerodynamic NASA carriage, with all the goodies a parent could need, but it costs eight-thousand dollars and a second mortgage. Lest I forget to mention that every infant product seems to have the –oopie, -oppy, -ippy sounding suffix. They all sound uniformly ridiculous. I am mixing my Boppys, Snoogles, and Tommee Tippies. Right now, my registry reads like a Dr. Seuss book, but only if Dr. Seuss speed-guzzled about six consecutive bottles of Bordeaux on an empty stomach. Yikes. There is so much… stuff… out there for such a tiny being. As long as his pacifiers aren’t covered in razor blades, I’m going to simply try to go with the flow on this. My petit garçon just needs to be healthy, and we’ll go from there.
That being said, the one prospect of parenthood that has stubbornly occupied my thoughts since day one is how I’m going to raise a decent human being. I’m going through that phase of anxiety where I question whether or not skipping a family game night of Chutes and Ladders will turn my child into a sociopath adult who enjoys robbing banks in clown suits. That kind of thing. Realistically, I know that won’t happen.
…It won’t… right?!?
After some thought, the solution was clear- introduce him to global concepts and cultures as soon as possible. What I really mean here is that there is no time better than infancy to turn your child into a francophile. Perhaps the petit garçon won’t be as diehard as his maman, and that’s okay, but the benefits of promoting an appreciation for cultural diversity will, if anything, make him a more tolerant human being. I hope. That’s the basic goal here.
Then, I started shopping…
Surround him with French things! Bien sûr! Onesies with phrases. Language skills… check! Stories based abroad. Curiosity… check! Authentic toys. Sensory stimulation… check! This is all a great start, and I’m proud to call it my own personal Bébé Francophile Starter Kit:
- Mon Petit Chou Onesie: As a traditional french term of endearment that literally translates to ‘my little cabbage’, I know I’ll be calling my little guy ‘mon petit chou’ religiously. The Etsy shop, LucyandEvelyn, created and managed by a francophile-anglophile duo, produces precious fair-trade organic onesies based on their own cultural passions. This onesie is so soft to the touch, I’m tempted to request one for adults! Currently, the Mon Petit Chou onesie seems to be sold out, but that doesn’t mean there’s a shortage of other delightful infant francophile attire. Just see for yourself!
- Sophie la Girafe: Sophie is everywhere. She’s a celebrity among les petits worldwide. Children love her for soothing their teething woes. Choose any major U.S. retailer such as Target, Wal-Mart, Babies-R-Us, etc., and chances are you’ve seen her hanging out on a shelf. Did you know her origins actually begin France? She’s been around since 1961 in her original form of 100% natural rubber. Click on the link for Sophie’s full story.
- Jacadi Swaddle Blankets: Jacadi is an upscale Parisian children’s clothing retailer; however, you will find them dispersed across major cities the United States. I was happy to learn that a Jacadi exists on Newbury Street in Boston, a mere fifteen-minute walk from my office. This could be potentially dangerous, as their soft-palette clothing is not typically for the frugal spender. Jacadi is more expensive than the average children’s clothing store; however, if you sign-up for their emails, you’ll notice they frequently have great sales and coupons. The blankets shown above are different from the link provided. I couldn’t seem to find the Petit Garçon blankets in the online shop. If you’re looking for a nice and enchanting gift for an expecting loved one, these will do the trick. Worry not- we’re going to discuss Jacadi more in a later post. Stay tuned!
- Paris Up, Up and Away: If you plan on gifting your favorite francophile child a book other than Le Petit Prince, this is THE book. Not only is it a wonderfully visual way to introduce children to Paris, but it’s also a captivating work of art. By Hélène Druvert, a French illustrator and paper-cutter, this stunning story follows the Eiffel Tower around iconic Parisian neighborhoods.
- Jacadi Rattle: This is the second cameo that Jacadi makes in this starter kit simply because I couldn’t contain myself while in the store. Soft and sweet, this little pup will make a precious keepsake. That spot around his eye could melt a deep frost! All together now, “Awww”.
Et voila! This is just the beginning. Will the baby understand any of this? Probably not. However, I do believe that this subtle introduction will make a profound difference somewhere, somehow. I do. That’s the only element of certainty I have on this new journey. I may not have the faintest idea of what a Bumbo actually does, but I’m confident that Petit Garçon will maintain a worldly appreciation.
What are your thoughts? How would you begin to integrate a child into different cultures? Do you think it makes a difference? Feel free to comment below.
À la prochaine.