It Must Be So Easy to Raise French Children

Today, I asked my three year old to put away her bowl and spoon.

"No" is what I got in return. That and these gems: "I'm not gonna." "La la-la la-la la, you can't make me." "I hate you." Lots of these responses came from an upside-down mouth, as she repeatedly stood on her head (on the couch cushions), and bounced up and down like a crazed squirrel.

There must be very few vocations that require as much on your feet creativity as parenting does: I had to work hard to come up with new and effective ways to get her to carry her bowl and spoon into the kitchen that did not involve using a choke hold, damaging my vocal chords, or promising her a pony.

It was not easy. 15 minutes of my life are now a foggy, misty blur because I sacrificed them to the intense concentration necessary to get what I wanted from her while avoiding the aforementioned prohibitions.

The bowl and spoon ended up where they belong, and I lost minutes off of my total life span for the grief and suffering I endured along the way. I have no memory of what finally did it, what wore her down.

* * *

Cut to dinner time. Once again, dishes needed to be cleared away. It so happened that I served dinner to my three girls (it was a ladies night at our house) with a French accent. The three of them thought this was pretty funny, and kept asking for "That French Guy." Apparently, I can do french, but it's a masculine french.

Anyway, I braced myself for the clean up resistance, also known as the Toddler Liberation Front. But the most amazing thing happened. I made my request in a french accent -- "Pleeeeeze, put zee deeshes away in zee keetchin, mon chere!" -- and the previously recalcitrant three year old complied with glee. She even asked me to ask her to put something else away!

So I guess I will have to get used to sounding like a french dude, if I am to ever get what I want from her. Might be a little strange in public, but if we skirt the whole tantrum thing and I get to keep some of those bonus minutes at the end of my life, I'm all over it.

* * *


To think - I never tried this in 17 and a half years of parenting! Hmmm....
Beth said…
I'm the mother of four French children and I'm here to tell you that the French accent trick doesn't work on them. In fact, to get them to clear the table, I have to speak like an elderly Hungarian man.
(Not true, but it would be funny if it were. Actually, they are all great about doing their chores. No funny accent required)

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