Friday, January 15, 2010

The Tooth Souris

So when you lose a tooth in France, it's not the tooth fairy who comes, but a tooth mouse; definitely sounds better in French as "Tooth Souris" (Oliver suggested "Mouth Mouse" but I find that oddly disturbing). So the Tooth Souris will be paying Iris a visit tonight! She's excited that the Tooth Souris will be paying it out in Euros, as my savvy girl has already figured out that Euros are worth way more than puny dollars (sigh). She's now lost enough teeth to perform this neat trick!

I woke up thinking about the Grand Débat d'Identité Nationale, and how on earth it might be resolved. The talk show last night was a disappointment in that the Socialist Party speaker was a no-show (refused to be on the same show with Marine LePen - I'm not going to go there!). The most striking things that Eric Besson said concerned the responsibility that France had to the Francophonie - it's a chapter of post-colonialism that is being written live, and along some principles that are articulated if not as universal, then as principles which should be universal. And indeed, how can you argue with the benefits of "liberté, fraternité, égalité?" I am keenly curious to know, and will find out, how "fraternité" is understood. Can't translate it as "fraternity" (ha!), "brotherhood" is pretty good - but what does it mean? Does it necessarily entail homogeneity? What is the diversity of "brotherhood"? And what is the French word for "diversity" the way it's used in American political discourse? To ponder. One last thing about Eric Besson - check out his title: Ministre de l'Immigration, de l'Intégration, de l'Identité nationale et du Développement solidaire (Minister of Immigration, Integration, National Identity, and Solidarity Development) - that's either a title, or four profound politico-philosophical precepts - no pressure! (I'm sure that the Aristotle I was reading today on "practical philosophy" deals with these precepts somewhere!).

Meanwhile, at school today, the restaurant served red cabbage for the hors d'oeuvre, fish and couscous for the plat de resistance, cheese course, and a fruit tart for dessert. Yes, I am obsessed with the school lunch; no, I can't quit anytime I want. But lest you think I'm nuts, you should take a glance at the "Restauration à l'école" web page from the marvelous Ministry of Education web site. They're talking lipids here, people! I just admire the meticulousness of it all. So here the kids are right outside their school (not sure why they're striking a Charlie's Angels pose, but they're always giddy when we pick them up) at the end of their school day.

This morning was tough - it started out fine with a great breakfast (with a really cool Breton fairy tale to tell - it ends with the young boy transforming himself from a grain into a fox so as to eat the devil who had become a rooster), but then at the last minute, as we were walking in to school, all three kids balked. It took some doing, but in the end, nothing that the promise of a KinderSurprise Egg couldn't fix (forbidden in the U.S. because of the small parts of the toys magically contained within the chocolate egg). Still, my heart ached and I had to do a lot of thinking about the resilience of children. I had a whole speech prepared about how we understand that it's hard some days, but that it's worth it, and that the language will come, but by the time we picked them up, they were brushing off every comment - "Yea, yea, Mom, we know - hey! we had couscous for lunch today!" (Post-colonial restaurant?)

I leave you today with an image of Eleanor and Iris on Eleanor's beloved green couch. She's talked about that couch from day one, of its silkiness (its naugahyde silkiness, I think) and so wanted a picture of herself on it. She's holding the "Notebook of Correspondence" through which the teachers and we communicate about her progress - and there's my sweet Iris with her missing tooth. After the girls went to sleep tonight, Oliver and I snuggled under a blanket on the couch and he read Harry Potter and I read The Breton Wench - a perfect evening. Ooo! I think I head the Tooth Souris!

1 comment:

  1. If it makes you feel any better, the kids are balking at school here too...not the same, I know, but nonetheless...
    Missing you and happily dreaming of the real life adventure you are all playing in...fairy tale indeed.