Wednesday, June 28, 2006

French Women Don't Get Fat II (a.k.a. The Sweet Life)

The other reason I disagree with researchers regarding the lack of French obesity is that the French do eat more! The French tend to eat all three meals (unlike Americans) and also tend to eat three courses at mealtime—the entrée, main course and dessert. American meals always, naturally, have a main course, but the entrée is optional and dessert is almost, ironically perhaps, a faux pas.

When a group of Americans are out to dinner, it is becoming more and more popular for people to decline dessert. In fact, it is quickly approaching a peer pressure phenomenon. I fail to understand it— is the crème brulee just not good enough? Does the chocolate mousse give them nightmares? Do they not know that declining dessert makes everyone else think they should decline, as well? Even I (a dessert gourmande perhaps) find myself occassionally declining profiteroles at the end of a lovely meal.

Perhaps this is our answer to the lack of walking; perhaps it is because dessert is inefficient or perhaps it is simply because we are so eager to get to the next thing. For myself, however, I plan to keep ordering those profiteroles— maybe I’ll walk home to even the score.

French Women Don't Get Fat

I recently read an advertisement for the book “French Women Don’t Get Fat.” It said (loosely translated):

Yes; yes. They are talking about us. You didn’t know it, but the French have a reputation for staying thin.

Seriously, they didn’t know it? The whole world knows it— how could the French be the ones who were in the dark? Even academia has gotten in on it— I recently read the results of a research study that studied the same topic for several years. Their conclusion, surprisingly, is that the French simply don’t eat as much.

After having spent a number of months here, however, I have to at least partially disagree. The French don’t eat less and they don’t necessarily exercise more (at least not in the American sense)— they simply spend all day walking!

Life in the U.S. runs on a foundation of “time is money,” which means one must live rather efficiently to survive— we work efficiently, play efficiently and travel efficiently. And the most efficient means of transport is almost never your own two feet. As a result, Americans simply don’t walk! There are noted exceptions to this theory, of course, the most obvious being New York City, but if you think about it, New Yorkers walk because it is more efficient than taking a car!

The French, on the other hand, seem to function on a foundation of “quality over quantity.” It doesn’t stand in direct opposition to the “time is money” concept, of course, but it isn’t always compatible, either. The most “quality” way to get from point A to point B generally is your own two feet.

For myself, I currently spend a minimum of 2 hours per day walking (a total of 1/4 of the average American workday!). My son’s school is a mere 15 minutes on foot, but that is one half hour round-trip and I make the trip four times a day (drop off in the morning, pick up for lunch, drop off in the afternoon and pick up at the end of the day). I know it sounds a bit excessive and I would have complained bitterly, but it is what all the French parents do and I couldn’t really complain just because my American legs weren’t used to walking!

Now, after a few months, it all seems rather natural. In fact, I rather miss the walk on Wednesdays and Sundays when he doesn’t have school. I do believe there are two parents who (more true to the American tradition) drive their cars to pick up their children, but I have to believe that they work far away. Perhaps those French Moms actually will get fat... inquiring researchers want to know.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The City of Love

I wonder what I'll remember about today 20 years from now. Will it be the look on her face when we bought her first necklace, or watching her mouth contort at lunch as she tried to eat the large penne noodles? Perhaps I will remember watching the ice cream drip down her hand as she gleefully ate a single scoop of real French Vanilla. The thing I know I'll never forget, though, is the sensation of falling in love with her. It was magical- almost palpable. Paris does that to you.

Kate is the second, my baby, though she is quick to remind all she is a "big girl." She is exuberant, beautiful and passionate. When she is happy, her laughter is contagious; when she is not, the world seems to melt with her tears.

Kate and I spent the last few days having a mother-daughter weekend in Paris. It was perfect, if not a bit indulgent. It never occurred to me before, but the City of Love isn't only for lovers; it is truly the perfect place to bring anyone you love. Here are some of our highlights:

Eating perfect, warm croissants and drinking fresh-squeezed orange juice / coffee as we watched the world go by on the famous Champs Elysees. It was a wonderful breakfast accompanied by great, classy service, in an outstanding location.

All mother-daughter weekends simply must include tea—whether the Plaza Hotel’s High Tea in New York or a visit to Angelina’s 19th century tearoom in Paris. At Angelina’s, however, it is the hot chocolate (not the tea) that is the drink of necessity. Picture a melted chocolate bar with whipped cream to lighten it up. Watch out for the hot chocolate “mustache” that can sometimes follow.

Tuileries Gardens
This picture-perfect garden located between the Champs Elysees and the Louvre is a wonderful mid-day break. It has a wonderful children’s area including jumping mats (trampolines for toddlers) and a carrousel, as well as stands with a fantastic assortment of ice cream. We tried—and thoroughly enjoyed—them all.

Pet Stores or Animaleries
I never knew they existed in Paris, but leave it to a toddler to find them. Along the river on the right bank, there is a row of pet stores- five or six of them- featuring everything from traditional kittens and goldfish to more exotic roosters and ferrets.

Luxembourg Gardens
While elegant and open, this garden is also very user-friendly. It is one of the few parks in Paris where you can walk on the grass (if accompanied by a child) and the children’s area is second to none. Take a pony ride and swing in the double swings. Watch your daughter glow with happiness.

The most well known of the mother-daughter pastimes, shopping in Paris just can’t be beat. Kate and I found some pretty (and inexpensive) necklaces in the Latin Quarter, as well as lip glosses at Sephora and a Cinderella doll at the Disney Store. Ooh la la!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Through the Looking Glass

I recently attended a lecture by Adam Gopnik, a New Yorker staff member who writes about Paris. He published the New York Times Bestseller Paris to the Moon a few years ago and his lecture, entitled "Americans in Paris," focused on the love affair Amerians have with the city.

In short, he believes Americans are not in love with the city of Paris, but rather an illusion of Paris. He also believes a sense of illusion is a healthy- and even necessary- part of any romance (including romantic love, hmmm...). Following the lecture, as I walked down the Champs Elysees, I tried to see things as they truly are, without the looking glass of my own illusions.

It occurred to me that when I am in Paris, I always live well. I am in lovely, manicured gardens with blooming flowers and flowing fountains; I am in shops where shopkeepers take great pride in knowing their merchandise and helping you find what you need; I am in restaurants where chefs prepare culinary works of art. In short, life in Paris is always filled with beauty, elegance and peace. Ironically, perhaps, life in Paris is not filled with balanced and I believe that is the basis for the illusion.

Life in the U.S. tends to be all work, punctuated by brief moments of play. One might imagine that in the U.S., the opposite of an efficient, productive life is a lazy life. Yet the opposite of productive seems to be anything that doesn't directly relate to productivity. As a result, anything one does to slow life down a bit is seen as counterproductive. Think about it- if someone wants to take the afternoon off to attend their daughter's school concert, go to a museum or get a massage does anyone applaud them? Not really. In the end, however, these very things could actually help productivity (albeit in a roundabout way) by making the individual happier, more balanced and ready to work.

So, how does one live an efficient, productive life AND find balance WITHOUT feeling like life is a constant tug-of-war? I don't know. It isn't a very good answer, but it is because I believe the answer is different for everyone. For myself, I become balanced by experiencing life in France.

Tomorrow morning, my 2 year old daughter and I will take a train to Paris for a few days "just the girls." I can't wait to take her on our first mother-daughter trip even though she certainly won't remember any of it ten years from now. The memories of playing in the gardens, eating breakfast on the Champs Elysees and having wonderful hot chocolate at my favorite tea house, will all be my memories. Perhaps, if I weave the stories carefully enough, though, I can start to teach her about the beauty of Paris, of the importance of balance and of life through the looking glass.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

A Word about Wine

I am not a wine connoisseur by any extent of the imagination, but I feel like I know my way around a wine list with some sense of dignity. I was rather humbled, however, when I recently read a description of wines so informative and yet so obvious, I was left scrambling.

In short it stated that American wines are generally classified by the grape (such as Chardonnay or Pinot Noir), whereas French wines are classified by the region in which they’re grown (such as Champagne or Bordeaux).

While an extremely straight-forward description, it rather confused me because for the first time I realized ordering a red Bordeaux was a rather generic request, asking for something from that area of France, without knowing the taste or grape that was used. Simply stated, you would never buy caviar without knowing the type of fish from which it came (just for the record, I have never bought caviar myself- it was just the best, high ticket price example I could come up with).

What I discovered is that there are rather strict laws on many French products including, of course, wine. It seems there are only a few grapes that can be used in a given region, so there shouldn’t be great variance in the taste. In other words, in order to be a white Bordeaux, the winemaker must have a combination of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle grapes, though the specific amount of each varies. And, to that end, ordering a Napa Valley Bordeaux means all bets are off because Bordeaux should identify where it was grown (and Bordeaux is, naturally, a region in France).

As I said, I am not an expert (though I am thoroughly enjoying improving my palate while I’m here), so this is all at a rather basic level. If you want a more detailed description, I found a website that was rather helpful in sifting through all this.

In the end, of course, it is always about what you like. And to that I say cheers!

The World without Sippy Cups (and other happy conveniences)

Sippy cups are, at least to my way of thinking, one of the finest inventions of the past century. They are durable, efficient and user-friendly, and they save me from an almost inevitable daily disaster in my home.

It is amazing to me then, that France—a country whose homes are filled with beautiful wood floors and priceless antiques- does not have them. I have asked multiple people in various ways (which coincidentally, isn’t as easy as it sounds. Think about it- how would you describe a sippy cup to someone who has never seen one?), but always received the same response: "That doesn't exist here." It absolutely confounds me that I am living in France- a rather sophisticated Western country- where one simply accepts the fact that something doesn't exist. Here are some other items that "don't exist:"

White eggs. Someone actually told me that I should try going to Italy for white eggs. It doesn't matter, of course, except when you’re trying to dye them for Easter.

Swiffer. My self-wringing mop hands could use a night off. See “DIY Girl” blog.

Pepsi. Poor Coca-Cola doesn’t have anyone to fight with. I actually prefer a Coke, but I also believe in healthy competition.

A bag of ice. How are you supposed to keep drinks cold at a party? I actually went to the local Indian Restaurant and begged for a bag. I’m sure they thought I was crazy.

Easy Mac. I know Easy Mac is perhaps one of the most cheesy (pardon the pun) American products on the planet, but don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it. My kids love it and, therefore, so do I.

Bleach & Stain Removal Pens. Given that there is chocolate ice cream on every corner in this country, you might think that they would be interested in removing it from their children’s clothes. Apparently not- I’ve imported it with every relative that visits.

Crayola ColorWonder. Crayola exists here, so why not their ColorWonder line? It only colors on the special paper with which it comes- no “tomato red” on our teal velvet sofa.

Thomas the Tank Engine. Thomas originated just on the other side of the English Channel. If High speed trains can make the trip why can't this enduring little steam engine?

Ranch dressing. I finally understand the name Hidden Valley.

A good martini. When all is said and done, one martini perfectly chilled and shaken martini goes a long way in diplomacy.

At the end of a day without cheap, modern conveniences like sippy cups, Easy Mac, ColorWonder and bleach pens, you would think everyone would appreciate a really good martini. Oh well, what’s a girl to do? Perhaps a glass of Bordeaux will suffice.

P.S.- This list is based on results achieved by asking five or more people where to find the items mentioned. If you know that these items can be found here, PLEASE let me know.

UPDATE: After three years back in the US, I have returned to France to discover the following:

- Swiffer has now fully installed itself in France. From the dry and wet mops to the glove-style dusters, cleaning has become quite a bit easier!

- Pepsi has also started making it's way into the world of Coke! Diet Pepsi is still nowhere to be seen, but you can't have everything.

- A good martini-- even a great one-- can be had in Paris, but for a price. If you're in search, try the Hemingway Bar at the Ritz. It will cost a pretty centime, but be worth every one.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Cinderella's Night at the Embassy

One of my favorite walks in Paris is from the Louvre to Le Madrigal, a café on the Champs Elysees. It begins at the Louvre’s glass pyramid (recently of Da Vinci Code fame), passes through the Tuileries Gardens, past the Hotel de Crillon and the Palais d’Elysees (the French White House). There are beautiful gardens, sidewalk crepe stands and several amazing buildings. The one that has always intrigued me the most, however, is the American Embassy. Perhaps I’m intrigued because I think I have a right to it as an American citizen or perhaps it is because it always seems so forbidden behind the guards and gates. Regardless, I’ve always wanted to find a reason to go inside. Yesterday, I had one.

The invitation arrived two weeks ago. It was on beautiful stationery with the governmental seal embossed in gold and, in French, an invitation to a party at the Embassy Residence, hosted by the Ambassador and his wife. I was thrilled and called to R.S.V.P. before even mentioning it to my husband. I “Googled” the Ambassador to learn more about his situation, looked up the appropriate protocol in Emily Post and then raided my closet to see if there was something appropriate to wear. We made train reservations, hotel reservations, babysitter arrangements and bought my husband a new suit.
On the day of the party, we boarded the train for Paris and found ourselves, for the first time in a long time, without kids (thanks to his parents who graciously offered to care for their grandchildren on their vacation). My husband and I talked, we rested, we laughed and then we were there. We took a taxi to the hotel, freshened up and set out. Dressed to the 7s (not quite the 9s—it wasn’t black tie, after all), we decided to absorb as much of Paris as we could and walked to the party.

We arrived exactly on time and, after a few security screenings, made our way into the Residence. The ceilings were high, the walls were gold-gilded and the chandeliers sparkled. It was perfect. In the parlor, we found a lovely assortment of hors d’oeuvres and and drinks. I commented to the garcon that all the products were French and he smiled, “But of course. They are the best after all.” It’s true—and only the best was on display that night.

As the other guests filed in, I was amazed at the diversity. They spanned 60 years of academic exchange between the two countries in everything from music to mathematics. There were artists, historians, and chemical engineers—and nearly all of them spoke both fluent French and English. I felt like Cinderella in my dress and pearls, spending an evening without the children, mingling with lawyers and opera singers alike. Eventually, however, the proverbial clock always strikes midnight. We said goodnight to everyone and bid the embassy adieu.

I walked home feeling like the world was mine (being a mother of two toddlers, it isn’t a feeling I have often, so I treasured it enormously). And in the morning, I woke up in a lovely hotel before catching a train back to Strasbourg. Unlike Cinderella, however, I woke up with my Prince at my side. Sometimes fairytales are even better in real life.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Art of Persuasion

I have just committed one of the most grave sins a daughter-in-law can commit. I screwed up my in-laws’ hotel reservation for their upcoming visit. I didn’t do it on purpose, of course, and it wasn’t even subconscious (I really like my in-laws), but nonetheless, the deed was done.

I informed them by email (sin #2) because of the time change and the fact that they were leaving for France shortly after I discovered it. I don’t think this was wise as it was a lengthy email and apparently they didn’t read it in its entirety.

So, I did what any scared, loving, moderately attractive daughter-in-law would do. I put on my most pathetic face, prepared to shed a few tears and went to the hotel to beg. The French are rather susceptible to this type of persuasion, I’ve found. In fact, I once used it to get into the country without a passport, but that’s another story.

In the end, it worked. They arrived at the hotel none the wiser and frankly, I’m a little flattered that I still have what it takes. I am happy to report that the art of persuasion is alive and well in this country. So is my ego.

Monday, June 12, 2006

The Rules of Having Fun

My husband and I wanted to throw a party—a nice, simple garden party for a few friends. I was rather uncomfortable when he first mentioned the idea. For a while in our “bachelor” days (that is to say our child-free days), we hosted a monthly party. We actually got pretty good at it, but neither of us had ever thrown a party in France, and throwing a party where your guests are experts on a few of the main party ingredients (wine and cheese) was a bit intimidating. Nevertheless, we decided to go for it.

Since I needed to at least please the experts, I knew I needed some experts of my own. I went to the local fromagerie and the woman there kindly helped me decide on a selection of cheeses. I then went to the wine shop where the man helped me select key bottles of wine. After adding olives, crackers, nuts and a few other morsels, my confidence had returned.

Perhaps I got too confident. Perhaps I was making the party too American. Perhaps I forgot I was in France. I was about to be humbled.

Standing in front of my shabby chic garden tables, on a perfect summer evening, I have to admit I felt a sense of accomplishment. The tables looked lovely, inviting and, more importantly, delicious. I was, therefore, dumbfounded and confused when I later realized that none of my guests were eating. When I say “no one” I don’t mean they were just nibbling, I mean there were now 30 people in my garden and NO ONE was going near the food. I couldn’t imagine what I’d forgotten—surely they were hungry. I started reviewing my mental checklist one last time when someone whispered, “You must cut the cheese before they will eat.” I had actually wanted to cut the cheeses, but realized I didn't know how they were to be cut- surely the guests could cut them better than I- but she proceeded to slice each of the ten cheeses. I walked over to the wine table to help myself.

When I turned around, I couldn’t believe my eyes. The guests had descended upon the table like ravaged beasts. They were devouring the cheeses, the breads, the olives—the whole table, in fact, and I couldn’t have been happier. The party was, once again, a success. And so, therefore, was I.

I felt back in control when I later went to serve the cakes. I put them on the table and (now that I knew to pre-cut), began to slice into it when someone grabbed my arm mid-slice (the cheese slicing lady, of course). I was jolted and embarrassed, feeling like a novice and suddenly wishing the party was over. What could I have done, now? A cake, I was informed, was to be cut to the recipient’s preferences. All right, I can do that. Trying to pull my confidence out of my pocket, I turned and asked the most respected man at the party (I did know some level of protocol afterall), my husband’s boss per se, if he would like some cake.

He looked at me as though I had offered cream and sugar for his wine and I desperately wanted to sink into a hole. “But the women are always served first.” Honestly, I should have thought of that- and probably would have if I hadn't have been so flustered. Seriously, though, my self-confidence was on the line here. Couldn’t he give a girl a hand? So I proceeded to ask the most respected woman at the party (take 2, in case you're counting) if she would like some cake. She said, “But you must ask the invited guests first!” This was becoming ridiculous. I wanted to ask her what exactly she was, but thought better of it. Why hadn’t I come up with some kind of excuse when Paul first mentioned the party? Was it too late to feign a headache? I was quickly sinking into my proverbial hole when I reached out to one last woman (who turned out to be Russian—perhaps she didn’t know all the protocol rules, either) and she said yes. I was thrilled—I wanted to give her a hug, but realized I couldn’t even remember her name. Before I knew it, I had a line of about ten people waiting to be served.

I don’t think Emily Post ever covered French protocol, and I haven’t found anyone yet who can actually explain it, so I may never understand all the rules of having fun in this country, but it seems that there is one global party rule—good food and good wine always trump everything else. Bon Appetite!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Just in Time Life

Just in Time was intended, I believe, to be a manufacturing philosophy. In short it states that in order to save storage space and therefore money, one should buy basic supplies just before they are used.

Today, it is hard to envision modern life without Just in Time. I buy groceries online for delivery the following day. I glean parenting tips from the Internet only when a problem arises. And, in perhaps the most perfect fulfillment of this philosophy, I order Chinese food to be delivered not two minutes before dinnertime. At least, that was how I lived—when I lived in the U.S. I was curious to see whether Just in Time was an American idea, wrapped up in the whole “time is money” concept or if it could be more global.

I’ve discovered that life in France is very Just in Time, but for very different reasons. I buy a week’s worth of milk because (1) it doesn't have to stay in the refrigerator to stay good and (2) it is, quite literally, all my arms can carry. I buy bread at the bakery every day because if I try to feed my kids day-old bread, they may lose a tooth. I buy meat at the butcher shop the day I will cook it because I only have room in the refrigerator for one or two upcoming meals.

In the end it seems that the ability to have things just in time makes modern life livable. I simply don’t have a saltcellar with enough food to last the next ten years. Frankly, who cares about the next ten years, anyway? I can only think about getting through the next ten minutes—Just in Time to make lunch.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Translating "DIY girl" into French

I have to admit to being a “do it yourself” kind of girl. Thanks to Martha Stewart, Oprah, Home Depot and Nigella Lawson, I’ve found I can do almost anything. I rather enjoy getting my hands dirty—or, rather, I enjoyed getting my hands dirty.

Shortly after saying adieu to American life, I remembered why I like it so much; In the U.S., it's easy to keep my hands clean because everything is so automated. At home, DIY is a hobby, not a lifestyle. I push a button and my oven becomes a toasty 375 degrees. Another button and my dishwasher runs at “hum” level so as not to disturb my morning coffee and, speaking of coffee, it grinds its own beans, at 7 a.m. daily, without me pushing anything!

Living in France has reminded this happy, modern woman of what non-automated life is like. I live in a rather typical, French, non-bourgeoisie apartment. The oven is not self-cleaning, nor self-lighting. There is no dryer for the clothes and I am the in-house dishwasher. The mop drips until I personally, literally wring it out and the freezer (which is the size of shoebox) requires me to defrost it every 2 weeks or so.

The first few days here I tried to be the happy, 1950s homemaker. Since it would only be for a few months, I thought it might be fun. I was wrong. Once the initial novelty had passed, I found myself standing, mop in-hand, in utter denial that modern life could be so non-user-friendly. Shortly thereafter, however, I decided to figure out how to translate "DIY girl" into French. I set my browser to, turned on Peggy Lee, and rolled up my sleeves.

To be fair, I still have many Sarah McLaughlin days when I simply refuse to spend time wringing out the mop (seriously, doesn’t Swiffer know there’s an entire world out there?). And after exhaustive research, I discovered a Domino’s Pizza just down the road. I’ve also found a great babysitter who speaks English AND does the dishes. Life here is still DIY, but it in a more occasional, modern, “me” kind of way.

I may have permanently said au revoir to the clothes drier, though. There’s something so quaint and carefree about watching your clothes blowing in the summer sun. I wonder what I’ll do come winter.

My Nightstand

Finding English reading material in France is sometimes easier said than done, so the books on my nightstand are actually being read (at least occassionally). Here they are, in no particular order:

1. French-English dictionary
2. Things I Want My Daughters to Know, by Alexandra Stoddard
3. Under the Tuscan Sun, by Frances Mayes
4. French Cheese
5. Essential Ayurveda, by S. Krishan
6. O Magazine’s Things I Know for Sure, by Oprah
7. Real Simple
8. What Color Is Your Parachute?, by R. Bolles
9. Holy Bible
10. The Martha Rules, by Martha Stewart

Sunny Strasbourg

We are spending most of our sabbatical in Strasbourg, a city about 4 hours east of Paris near the Swiss and German borders. It is a city with a fascinating history, a truly unique architecture and good public transit.

In the third week of our stay, on the twelfth consecutive cold and rainy day, I went online to the tourism office to try to figure out what people do in a city where you can never be outside and this is what I found:

“The reputation of Strasbourg as a cold and rainy region is totally unfounded. To convince you of it, just look at the pictures below…”

There was one picture below, and all it proved was that there was at least one sunny day in Strasbourg since the website was created in 2000. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, but it always catches me off-guard when organizations meant to help people so blatantly lie. Just for the record, it is now June. It snowed here yesterday.

Strasbourg Department of Tourism:

The Best Lie I Ever Told

To be fair, I don’t really know it was a lie—I’m just not sure it was the whole truth. It was Mother’s Day in France (which, coincidentally, is not the same day as Mother’s Day in the U.S.). My husband had organized a lovely day for me. Suddenly, my 3 year old sent forth a blood-curdling scream. I ran into his room to find him in bed, in obvious pain. It was his ear.

Of course it was his ear. His nose had been running for a week and the worse the cold got, the more he wanted his pacifier. Now I know that if you go to a doctor, they tell you that it is unrelated, but it simply isn’t true. Just like when they tell you that sugar intake has no effect on your child’s behavior. OK, doc, I’ll give you $1,000 to be a preschool teacher the day after Halloween.

We’re in France. We don’t have a pediatrician here, so I called our pediatrician in the U.S. Just when I was starting to think he was going to send a prescription, he said the dreaded words: “He really needs to be seen by somebody.” I tried to tell him that it was impossible, that France shuts down on each and every Sunday and this was Mother’s Day besides, but my son’s tearful plea confirmed that I had no choice.

Considering that I was trying to explain my son’s medical history—in French—to a doctor who was trying to lip-read over the sound of my (kicking and) screaming son, it went pretty well. He diagnosed an ear infection and gave us a prescription. Alex would shortly be on the mend, but I had had enough.

When we got back, I declared war. My children had loved their pacifiers from day 1. The pacifiers had saved me (a number of times), and that is why they were still welcome in my home, but it was over. I told my children that the pacifiers had hurt Alex’s ears and then I boldly cut the tip off each and every one of them.

I was scared. I had no idea if this was going to work. I had no idea if I was ever going to sleep through the night again. But, worse, it was Sunday and if it didn’t work, there would be no stores open to buy more.

I may have lied to my children, but we’ve had no ER visits since. Maybe, if you really believe it, it isn’t a lie after all… especially on Mother’s Day.

UPDATE: They say that fear is one of the best motivators (for better or worse) and, apprently, it is true. The fear of going back to the doctor, of extreme pain in the ear, and lots of really bad medicine was motivation enough. There was a logic to it, three year old logic that is, so he actually seems to have accepted it. Every once in a while Kate, my youngest, will ask for one but when she discovers the tip is gone, she gives it back and says "Mommy, you take it- it's broken." A month later, it is still the best lie I ever told.