LibertÃ©, EgalitÃ©, FertilitÃ©!Jane Roper
When you read this, I will be (barring disaster or computer glitches) in Paris, avec my husband and NO CHILDREN! They’ll be home, with the grandparents in charge, while we cavort in the cafes and museums in the City of Lights.
It’s not purely a vacation: Alastair will be doing series of shows and house concerts. We’re actually only staying in Paris proper one night. After that, we head out to the ‘burbs, but we’ll still have our days free to go into the city and stuff ourselves with croissants and cafe crème and various foodstuffs rife with butter and then walk it off. Or at least tell ourselves we did.
Although both of us have been to Paris before, we’ve never been there together. This will also be the first time we’ll have been away from the girls together for more than one night. Will I miss them? Yeah, maybe a little. They have been awfully sweet lately. Lots of cuddling and hugs. They’re also being weirdly affectionate and demonstrative with me. Every once in a while, Elsa will, apropos of nothing, say “Do you know how much I love you, mommy?” and spread her arms wide. Just this morning — I mean, a few mornings ago — on the way to preschool, Clio said “You know who’s the best mom? You are!” Lovely, but a little suspicious. (Does this have something to do with the fact that Christmas is around the corner?)
But back to Paris. Where I am. Right now. Probably not missing the girls too much yet.
No doubt, we’ll end up talking about them plenty, as we always, inevitably do, even when we’re trying to have a “date night” or the like. And since we’ll be in several French homes when Alastair plays house concerts, and since we will probably end up chatting with folks — my French is pretty decent, and I’m going to use it, dammit! Don’t answer me back in English! — I assume the topic of our kids may come up. Les jumelles. (= Female twins).
I wonder if twins are as increasingly common in France as they are here in the US? And I wonder if I’ll get the usual series of questions: are they identical or fraternal? Do they have very different personalities? Are they natural? (The typical dialogue about twins with curious and occasionally obnoxious strangers is summed up perfectly and hilariously here. All mothers of twins MUST check it out.)
Or perhaps I’ll be too busy discussing art and books and politics and Jean Renoir films, and it just won’t come up. Or, more likely, I will be so nervous trying to speak French with real live French people that I will end up resorting to phrases from my eighth grade French textbooks: “J’aime le skiing!” and “Je n’aime pas le disco!” And they’ll subtly excuse themselves, saying they have to go get some more brie or wash their poodle or something.
But I’ll be in France, enjoying a mini-honeymoon with mon amour, so who the hell cares!
A bientôt, mes amis! Back in a few days….