Saturday, 30 November 2013

The French Girl and the Pancake Maker, a sort of Christmas story

Once upon a time there was a pancake maker machine, who waited on the shelves of a department store to be chosen and brought back into a home.

The day came when he was taken off the shelves, wrapped up and placed in a cupboard...

More waiting occurred but this time the Pancake Maker had a more acute sense of anticipation. Somehow he knew that something momentous was going to take place. And indeed, only a few days later, he was offered to a French girl for her 28th birthday.

The French Girl loved the Pancake Maker and often entertained friends with his help. Together they held joyous parties where everyone talked and laughed and ate.
Sometimes the French Girl was quieter than the other ones, conversing only with a French Boy as if they shared a secret... But after the parties the girl always took good care of the Pancake Maker, cleaning him with a soft cloth and putting him back in his box, until the next time.

But one day, when the French Girl took the Pancake Maker from his place in the kitchen, instead of taking him out of the box to go on the table, she put him in a bigger box. Then the Pancake Maker was moved and taken away.

When he finally came out of the big box, the Pancake Maker went on the shelves of a new house where the French Girl and the French Boy lived together. They didn't seem to have as many friends anymore because, when they made pancakes on the Pancake Maker, it was only for the two of them. They didn't even use all of the little hot plates but, in spite of this, the French Girl looked like she was eating far too much as her belly became very, very big.

None of this mattered much to the Pancake Maker. The French Girl and the French Boy still talked and laughed and ate.

But things changed again. The French Girl lost her very, very big belly. When she and the French Boy made pancakes they ate but they didn't talk nor laughed. They watched television. Sometimes the French Girl would see something that made her cry. She was sad and tired always.

Time passed... The French Girl's belly became very, very big again. People kept telling her "You must be so happy!" She answered "Yes." But she didn't sound really happy, more... guarded.

Until one day, the French Girl and the French Boy took the Pancake Maker out and it felt almost like before, when they were talking together among other people, as if they shared a secret. They talked about something that was going to happen... After eating they didn't put the Pancake Maker away but left the house.

The following day, the last day of Christmas, or Epiphany, the French Girl gave birth to a baby girl. From that day on the Pancake Make understood that, one day, the French Girl and the French Boy would use all his hot plates again, for their own family. And they would talk, and laugh and eat.

“This blog post is my  entry into the Tots100/PartSelect ’Love Your Appliance’ competition.”

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Hugs : a national treasure!

I had never truly experienced the wonder of hugs before we came to live in England.

The French do hug between parents and children but that's about it. We seem to find better to leave saliva on each other cheeks... A gesture both incredibly intimate and yet more than often completely devoid of any meaning.

Now the English hugs, that's something! The first time I experienced the full power of the hug I badly needed it. Just that. The hug. The warmth. The conveying so much in so little.
We had just lost our first baby, our first boy. We had not long moved in England. We didn't know anybody.
So there we were, me even afraid of leaving the house most of the time.
It was Sunday and we were going to church, to a community we were just starting to know. K., who later became a dear, dear friend, didn't say anything but just hugged me, with tears in her eyes. One of these fierce, tender hugs, that aim to envelop you totally in love and comfort.

A hug is both deeply meaningful and physically comforting. Hugging releases oxytocin, the love hormon, which makes you feel good, helps you to relax and numbs pain too. That's why a hug is the best thing to give to anyone in general and to children in particular. When they're hurt, when they're upset, when they're frustrated, when they're cross, when you're cross. I don't think that to ignore a child who's having a tantrum is the best way to deal with the situation. Ignore the cause of the tantrum maybe, but hug the child!

Come on, you, give me a hug!!!

Friday, 8 November 2013

Letter to Nestlé

I confess that I have been complacent, trying to avoid buying Nestlé but making exceptions, like Smarties for the children. I didn't look into products which they partly own but that don't carry their name, like Garnier for example, Rowntree or Wonka bars.

But I have decided to stop being complacent, say bye bye to my Elvive conditioner and Fructis styling mousse (and with my frizzy, unruly hair, believe me it's not a small concession!) and the rest, Smarties and all.
This is the letter I've sent to Nestlé to tell them exactly why I won't buy their products any more.

Sent to on 8/11/2013

"Once-dear Nestlé,

Where did our relationship go wrong? Why did you have to go and spoil everything?

In days of old I harboured tender feelings for you. The tubes of Smarties were our red roses, Nesquik our daily display of affection. I have sweet memories of that yellow plastic box which was the base for a cheap hiding device for my radio and tape player when I got my first car.

Even before that, when I was only a child I knew you from afar. In France Gros Quik and his énorme envie of hot chocolate must have been a regular companion of my favourite tv programs.
Little did I know that it would be this aspect of you, your marketing *said in a sneery, bitter tone*, that would be the pitfall of our relationship.

I must make amends though. I doubted you, you the king of formula. I didn't believe that formula is the best, 'natural start' for babies and I breastfed my children. And then, yes, I was unfaithful, I went to a non-profit organisation and... trained as a breastfeeding counsellor with them!

That's how I learned about your cheating, your betrayals. Why, Nestlé, why did you break our agreement? Why did you break our code* ???

Maybe I could have forgiven you if you had changed your ways, if you had realised the damage you where doing. But no, people have kept telling you over and over again, and you're still putting profit before health.

And the thing is, Nestlé, babies are dying because of what you're doing, and that I can never forgive you. So I'm sorry, Nestlé, but it's good bye for ever. I won't have anything to do with you anymore..."

*Code of marketing of breastmilk substitutes

To know more about the Nestlé boycott :