Wednesday, April 6, 2011

My April Fool's Day in France

The chocolate fish that you can find in stores everywhere around April 1st

Real French Fact #12: The French call April Fool's Day Poisson d'Avril, or April Fish. That is because they're a little limited on the sorts of pranks they pull, and by "limited" I mean exactly one joke-- putting paper fish on people's backs. (One fellow English Assistant who didn't know about this tradition came home with her back covered in little fish that said "I love you," among other things.) Oh, the French. They certainly know how to run one single joke into the ground over, and over, and over. 

          Despite being seemingly unrelated, I assure you it is a relevant fact that I think babies are wonderful. I love watching them, playing with them, and "Awwww!"-ing over how ridiculously small their shoes are. But I'm literally the only person my age I know who enjoys their miniature presence. All of my friends are disgusted by them. In their eyes, the fact that I would be anything but indifferent to their adorable pudge makes me the Crazy Baby Lady. I think that this is a little unfair. I'm 22 and thus far have never had a baby-- this should be a factor in my favor. As should the fact that I plan on waiting a good, long time before ever popping one out, so to speak. Just because I enjoy babies doesn't make me crazy, but I'm always aware of how my friends perceive my adoration, so I try to hide it, to be normal. Or at least not relentlessly mocked. 

          This was especially difficult on April Fool's Day at a restaurant in Vieux Lyon with my boyfriend, the most important person to hide my babymania from. I was facing a baby at another table, and my boyfriend was across our table from me, back to it, oblivious to its existence. Silently, I absorbed the baby's saggy little jeans, his teeny sneakers, and his cute mini, button-up dress shirt. My eyes flickered towards him once and a while, as I also concentrated on listening to my boyfriend. I will not stare at the baby, I will not stare at the baby, I will not stare at the baby.

         "France has been really fun," Boyfriend was saying, and I nodded, acutely aware that Baby was wiggling off his chair with a ferocious determination and tottering around. "I really liked the museum too," continued Boyfriend. The baby fell on his butt, blinked in shock, and stood up again. I pressed my lips together to hold in the exclamations of cuteness. I WILL NOT STARE AT THE BABY.

          "Oh, I thought the Roman ruins were the best," I added, no doubt sounding slightly strangled. The baby had it's foot in it's mouth. He stared at me with his giant eyes.

          "Yeah!" said Boyfriend. "It was-- Mel?" He raised an eyebrow. I must have been red in the face trying not to implode, or to wave and make a silly face, the way Crazy Baby Lady would.

          "Yeeeeees?" I squeaked, tearing my eyes away. Boyfriend turned around, saw the baby, and instantly understood, shooting m the exact look I had been trying to avoid, a look that said: "Your womb is like a baby-hungry monster, isn't it?"

          "IT IS NOT," I was about to glare with my eyes, when all of a sudden the baby turned around. 

          "AWWWWWWOMG IT HAS A LITTLE FISH STUCK TO HIS BACK! THAT IS SO CUTE! OMG! OMG!" I froze, and into my brain popped the idea that had to dispel Crazy Baby Lady rumors.  So I added, "... Um. But. I don't want children or anything." He stared at me, skeptical and confused. Frantically I continued, digging myself deeper and deeper into the Psychotic Girlfriend Hole: "You know. Yet." 


          "...Eventually. But not now, at all. Just at a normal... time... uh." Boyfriend watched me silently for a moment while I attempted to physically suck the words back into my mouth.

          "You realize that means someone pranked a baby, right?" Boyfriend said.

          "Yes, isn't it CUTE? It's a tiny fish! Cause he's tiny! Get it? Get it?! ...I'm not crazy!"

          You ever notice how saying "I'm not crazy!" never sounds credible, ever? Yeah. I think I lost this round.

On the bright side, I can now share with you this cute baby in a beret that we passed in Nice. On the down side, I'm now a super creepy person who takes pictures of babies in the street. :-\


  1. Being the mommy of an adorable baby that people love to stare at, I assure you that you're not creepy or crazy at all. Those of us with beautiful children just can't help it if stranger's hearts melt when they look at them. You're not the only young girl, either. Today I had my little guy strapped to my chest in a scarf and since the weather was so gorgeous I had him in these cute little sunglasses. Two girls who couldn't possibly be older than 22 both hit their boyfriends on their shoulders, pointed at my kid, and then proceeded to gush at the guy, womb aching. To my surprise, the guys actually smiled too. It's no crime to appreciate a cute kid :)

  2. And then puts them on the internet! Not a good sign. ;)

  3. I love the tiny fish on the baby story-- Le petit poisson post-it! Babies are meant to be admired and fussed over -- even those of us passed our baby-making years still love babies and aren't ashamed to show it. Accept your baby-lovin' side!