Monday, June 05, 2006

What's your wild card?

Last week was the best and the worst. The best because my big brother and his wife were here for a visit. We talked, drank lots of wine and played lots of canasta. It was great. The worst because Boy2 had the worst case of chicken pox EVER seen by the human eye. Really. And having the chicken pox did NOT bring out the best in Boy2. At all. It was horrible.

In canasta, jokers and 2s are wild cards. They can be whatever you need them to be.

In France, being an American is my wild card. I don't use it that often, and (as in canasta) a natural is worth more. But it does come in handy sometimes. For example.

Many French mothers breastfeed. Something like 60% of newborns are breastfed and then it drops off dramatically, first at 1 month and then again at 3 months, when maternity leave ends. A few stay-at-home moms persist, most stopping by 6 months. I breastfed both of my kids until they were 2 1/2 and I did so without discretion. I didn't walk around topless, but I didn't hide their heads or my breasts with tea towels or strange clothing either. You can go topless on beaches anywhere here, there are topless women in commercials selling everything from shower gel (I get it) to yogurt (huh?), so I really didn't see the point. Occasionally I got comments. Mostly along the lines of, "Wow, you're still breastfeeding?" Or another favorite, "Don't his teeth hurt?" In the beginning, I used to launch into a lengthy explanation about WHO recommendations and statistical evidence supporting longterm breastfeeding. But that got boring (mostly for them). Finally, I just played the wild card. "I'm American." "OOOOh." Somehow, that explained it all.

11 comments:

christi said...

haha... i remember some of the looks you would get. too funny. are my parents in paris now? good visit?

beth said...

I hope your little one is feeling better. I live in an "earthy" part of the country and yet my fellow Americans thought I was crazy because I nursed until she was 2yrs old. Most of my friends drop off at 6 months and the few remaining (even if they are stay at home moms) are done by 9 mths to 1 year. So I guess I was the wild card by going so long, but I kept reminding myself of the benefits of it, but I never did it in public after 6mths because the comments I received and the looks I received were very, very negative. Even one of my OB/GYNs (who is female) told me that I needed to stop breastfeeding when my daughter was 12 mths. So, it sounds like the French were more understanding than the Americans.

charlie said...

The thought that anybody would have an opinion about a woman breastfeeding her child in public is another sign that humans are nuts. No wonder kids get neuroses.

beth said...

Charlie - You wouldn't believe the comments and the looks - especially from older ladies. No matter how covered up I was (nothing was ever exposed) one even told me it was "vulgar" to do such a thing in public and I was in a park.

Lorraine said...

Glad you had a good time and B2 is recovering. (I assume he's recovering?)

Now button up.

charlie said...

beth - old ladies are just about the nuttiest variety of nutty humans it's possible to meet. I presume old ladies never had breasts or that their own children had to be blindfolded before suckling? There are many things more vulgar and uglier than the human body - most of them associated with the human mind. How can anybody in their right mind associate the suckling of infants with notions of vulgarity. Pitiful!

Grish said...

Glad you had a buncha canasta fun. By the way, what's canasta? jk :P

zeb said...

this was easier than email-having a good time in paris. Starbucks are everywhere including across the street-even I had one.

Love to all

Nicole said...

Christi - Your p's are in Paris, excellent visit.

Beth - He's better but very scabby.

Charlie - You'd be surprised. Or not. Beth's right though, it's actually much better here, at least as a foreigner.

Lorraine - I'll never unbutton again.

Grish - maybe we should play on line?

Zeb - Did you get the restaurant info on your work email? Don't talk to me about coffee or gelato.

Bad Alice said...

I nursed my oldest until she was nearly 4, and the short answer to "Don't her teeth hurt" would have been "Yep, sure do!" Ouch.

zeb said...

I am not using my work email over here either use this or my zeb33