Bringing Up Bebe?

It’s a good thing Pamela Druckerman, author of “Bringing Up BeBe”, included some references to real French authorities in a bibliography because, if you Google French parenting principles by French authorities, she’s all that comes up. No disrespect, but being married to a Frenchman and raising 3 kids born in France, does not make an American woman an authority. Yet, I’m sure even to her surprise, America has made her the latest guru on how to get your 3 year old to eat chevre and say a naughty word in French (caca boudin).
I know I’m a better mom than my mother was and not just because I didn’t continue what she thought was a healthy and tasty diet of sliced American cheese (sorry Kraft). My daughter did sign me up to take care of her children when she went back to work because I did a good job raising her and her older brother when they were young ( the teen years – I got divorced when she was 14- is another story, no, a book). She did this when she was in her early 20’s and upset over the latest lost love that she would never find again. Now, married over a yearand turning 33 in June, she still has me signed up for when she has children. I guess her recommendation and 35 years as an educator of 3 to 14 year olds and adults who teach them, or want to supervise those teachers, gives me some credibility.
Today, it seems that anyone who can blog or write a book in between chauffeuring kids to activities, watching the nanny cam at work or sitting at the computer while kids nap or watch TV, can get on TV themselves or be followed by hundreds or thousands of people on their blog, Facebook or Twitter. Okay, maybe I’m a little (I don’t think) jealous, but in wonderment how it all happened.
Ms. Druckerman says in an interview in New York Family Magazine, that the most important lesson she has learned from French parents is about food. Considering that 33 percent of American children are overweight, someone, or maybe I should say, many people are not doing their homework. Is learning to eat beets at the age of three going to make a real difference in a person’s diet? I was surrounded by borscht, which is a cold beet soup, all my childhood and hated beets. Yes, my mother said “Just taste it”. Yet when I went to college, the local pizza place had a wonderful cold beet salad, and I loved it. I still don’t like borscht.
Before everyone in the States starts trying to impose a French luncheon menu on nursery school children, let’s remember that there must be a genetic reason why the French are thin. It is impossible to leave a French restaurant without eating several days worth of calories on that one dinner. Cheese, bread and wine is not a low calorie lunch. Although I could eat this 3 times a day and be a very happy woman, I wouldn’t necessarily be a thinner one.
President Clinton and several top chefs are trying to change our school breakfasts and lunches so American children eat healthier. We also need to follow First Lady Obama’s lead and get moving.
As someone who has supervised hundreds of kids (yes, that is at one time) in a school cafeteria, I know we have to calm our lunch periods down. While we have varied the ethnicity of our food selection, it is still by far not the healthiest. While Mayor Bloomberg demands that restaurants post calorie counts, an examination of a month’s public school lunch menu reveals 6 lunches (slightly over 25%) of “crispy fried” something. Maybe he should post those calorie counts too. I guess not enough French enfants attend NYC public schools.
I enjoyed reading “Bring Up Bebe”. It was my first electronic read (new Nook). As a 64 year old, I was surprised at some of the things she was surprised at. Of course, French women make room for “couple time,” even though their husbands don’t share equally in household and child rearing duties. After all, what woman wouldn’t succumb to a man speaking French?


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