When I told people my plan for winter break was to take a week-long trip to France with my husband and our 5-month-old baby girl, the facial expressions I received from them in response were complex. They were a mix of envy (after all, who doesn’t want to go to France?), skepticism (but who would want to go to France–or even to get on an airplane–with a 5-month-old baby?), and something I’d characterize as a raised eyebrow, “Huh! Well, good luck with that.”
Well, not only did I return to tell the tale, but also, I am here to recount that we had an amazing time–even better than we expected. Baby G, aka Wonder Baby, really knocked our socks off with her general awesomeness. And France wasn’t bad either. This vacation worked beautifully for a few simple reasons, listed below.
1. French People Love Babies.
I suppose that people all over the world love babies. But the French have a particular baby-fetish going on. Perhaps it’s their aesthetic sense of everything being perfect and “just so,” or the fact that their adorable clothes look even cuter in small sizes. Who knows?
The point is that a baby is apparently the accoutrement of choice this season in France. Any snooty anti-Americanism that might have been there otherwise flew out the window when the locals caught sight of our daughter’s gummy smile. Everywhere we went, people smiled, cooed, and fluttered all over our baby… and were genuinely thoughtful. Air France’s baby bassinet let her sleep the whole night–and though I was a little bitter that the baby got the flatbed arrangement rather than me, the entire plane and I appreciated it. A waiter at breakfast saw her attempting to play with my coffee cup, and dashed over to provide a little box of cereal as a makeshift rattle. Read the rest of this entry →