Thursday, May 31, 2007

French Fashion

Yesterday, we wrapped up the the twins' long weekend with a trip to the pediatrician in Beziers. One of those rare, normal looking family moments, bio-dad and bio-mom, each with an armful of squirming apprehensive child, arriving at doctor’s office for a 34 month check-up and a couple of shots.

Upon arriving in the room filled with the very coolest toys, all apprehension melts away. Boy is a little surly but cooperative except for removing socks. “Why would the doctor want to see my feet. They are just feet.” Girl happily sheds the dress and lounges on the examination table with a demure smile, eyes rolled slightly into her eyebrows, in as much to say “get a load of this, am I delectable or what?” Or, one could imagine in a gravelly Marlene Dietrich voice, “go ahead, Doctor, whatever you need to do, I am all yours.”

Measure, weigh, poke, peek, and stick. All perfectly normal. Everything within the norm. Actually, not just within the norm, but exactly on the nose, to the centimeter, to the kilo, to the wiggle of the toes. So what is wrong with this picture? Nothing of course. It is just, well, how does such a “special” family end up with such “normal” offspring. She is so “girly” he is so “boyish”. We, who are so well prepared to deal with any hint of uniqueness... no one to profit from all those years of dealing with our own experiences of being different. Sigh. The crosses we have to bear; it just never ends.

Nevertheless we are surviving and they are apparently prospering, at least mentally and physically. Alas, normal or not, growing up in a “special” family with Dads who are supposed to have strong decorative instincts obviously doesn’t guarantee that you are going to be on the cutting edge of fashion.

I design homes fashions, not clothing. You see the evidence photographed during the highpoint of the weekend. An outing at a farm designed to delight the child in all of us.

You will note the adult, funky hat, flowered shirt and geeky glasses. Moving on to the boy child in two-sizes too small small polo shirt over mid-calf jeans, and clear blue Crocs with socks. Ouch. Mademoiselle is more conservatively dressed in the classic “little black dress” (perfect for a barnyard outing), over a similarly sized, chicly “patinated” long-sleeve “T”, and finished off with the same demure Crocs in rose.

This belated invasion of the dreaded Croc has been much commented on by the more fashionable Americans in France. To which I respond, one must bear in mind that World War II set Europe back by a few years, and it hasn’t quite caught up. (This of course ignores the principal fashion trends that spread in the opposite direction, and does not even consider all the fake YSL bags wagging their way across all 50 states.)

Fashion faux pas or not, any shoe that you can stick in a bucket of disinfectant is OK by me. In fact I am thinking of designing a disinfectant walk-thru outside the apartment. But I want it to wash hands and faces as well as feet, and if it can wipe a butt, all the better. Certain jobs being eliminated by computerized robotics wouldn’t bother my left-leaning politics in the least.

Which brings me to my most impressive revelation of late to conclude these brief comments on the homo-parental experience. This is a confession. Not just any confession. For a professional arbiter of taste (ok, home fashions, not clothing), born and reared in the finest Puritan tradition, he who cannot curse in print... will aid and abet his children to urinate in public without the slightest nod towards propriety and little if any privacy.

I am being punished for every unkind thought I have ever had towards anyone acting less than correct in public. Do the math, one man out and about with newly potty-trained twins - read as tiny inexperienced bladders - who insist on doing everything at the same instant. In the park, on the street, behind trees, next to telephone poles, mailboxes. Anything remotely considered a visual shield from at least a portion of the passers-by. We are there. The dogs and the street-folk got nothin’ on us. For some of us, that is truly a life changing experience. For the rest, I guess it is just one more puddle to cross. Yuck.

PS: No, I am not completely handicapped. I can use the word pee in print. Pee, pee, pee, my children pee in public. And now it is out there for the whole world to find. And step in.


Jayne said...

I have very mixed opinions on the Crocs. I own a pair of bright pink ones and my almost 4 year old loves his yellow ones. Without a doubt, they are the most comfortable things in the world to wear. I have close to a hundred pair of shoes... and I do a cull every year and donate very nice shoes to women's shelters... and then I add new recruits to my cupboard. So I know shoes. And I know that those Crocs are by far the fugliest things that have ever been on my feet. What is a girl to do? The Dutchies seem to like them so I'm not too embarrassed to wear them in public here. But I try not to.

And with regards to peeing in public... (another thing that the Dutchies do ALL the time no matter how old they are) I think you're doing the right thing. Parenthood, by definition, is doing things you never thought you'd EVER do. Now lean over here, you've got some Nutella on your cheek, lemme just spit on this Kleenex and wipe that off for you.

Penny said...

I have a very vivid memory of a "street kid" I had befriended in Romania stopping to pee when we were in route to her community Kid's Club.

Not ever having laid eyes on a decent public toilet in the country up to that point, I longed for her carefree attitude about it. But I was also quite aware that being arrested for indecency would not be a good start to embracing the culture.

wcs said...

Ok, I wondered where the kleenex comments were coming from in Jayne's recent post. I re-read everything and couldn't figure it out. Turns out I should have read this comment first. Who knew ?

And peeing on the side of the road is very fran├žais, at least for men.

Antipodeesse said...

Dear, Kind Sir,

Thank you for your flattery and kind comments on my blog today. I have duly noted your drugs knowledge, and may call upon you for advice in the future.

I am delighted to discover your entertaining writing style and look forward to reading more!

Doc said...

see I was thinking about maybe asking for your advice when I get to the point of decorating our horrible house from hell, but seeing as how you dress your kids in the exact same way as my husband dresses ours I'm afraid I'd end up with something more to his taste (and lack thereof) than mine. Sad really. But I do like your hat better than his.

And in our personal experience, the weirder the parents, the more normal the kids. Funny that.