Sunday, September 11, 2011

Big Neon Sign

Sometimes I feel like I have a big neon sign over my head that reads, "American! Alert! Stupid American!"  Never have I felt more like this than the day when I realized that in the process of devouring a croissant aux amandes in the Galerie Lafayette "food court", my black shirt was actually covered in powdered sugar and croissant crumbs.  Like all over. The kind of mess that you really hope only to make when you are at home on your couch, watching original shows on USA (I miss American cable).  

There was also the morning this week when I was hurrying to get out of the house with Baby Oil - didn't want to be late to our first expat playgroup.  I didn't have time to drink my coffee so there I was, in my American rain jacket from REI with my coffee in a hot pink Starbucks travel mug, pushing my giant bright red American stroller.  Parisians do NOT under ANY circumstance drink coffee while walking. Or consume anything while walking, other than cigarettes of course.  Instantly self-conscious, I made it to the park (one block away), quickly stowed the jacket underneath the stroller, chugged the coffee, and continued on my way.

At least Paris is providing some other distractions for people to gawk at other than American expats.  There is an art exhibit of sorts in Parc Monceau right now, featuring a variety of sculptures placed around the park. Why would anyone want to look at me when they can stare in bewilderment at this:
Yes, folks, that's right - modestly covered naked chicken sculpture.
close-up view

And in a special section I will call "And that's why...", today's topics include:

1. And that's why you don't spend money on baby clothes

A very generous aunt and uncle of Mr. Oil's gave us some lovely gifts last weekend in Chicago, including a pristinely white one-piece Ralph Lauren outfit from Bloomingdale's.  It's a nice soft fleecy material, making it the warmest thing we had on the trip, so I put Baby Oil in the outfit for the plane ride.
I figured if he looked angelic, maybe he would be angelic on the plane - and it worked!

Of course, following the natural law of baby expenses, the more you have spent on something, the more likely it is to get ruined. (As an aside, I define "expensive baby clothes" as anything not purchased at Target or anything not on clearance.)  We made it through the plane ride just fine, and back to our apartment.  Baby Oil was greedily guzzling down his bottle when he looked up at me with a particularly adorable face. Uh-oh.  Before I could say "Ralph Lauren outfit!", the kid had completed probably the biggest poop of his life.  Through the diaper, up his back, all the way to his neck.  Poop central.  Whereas with a regular onesie, I likely would have thrown it out, I had to save the Ralph Lauren outfit.  So I stood over the sink rinsing poo off this thing and thinking to myself, "And that's why you don't spend money on baby clothes."   Don't worry - Ralph Lauren will live to be worn another day!

2. And that's why you don't fly to Chicago from Paris for five days with an 8 month old

Duh, you're saying.  But just for posterity, here's a few reasons.  While baby may arrive looking like this:

you will arrive looking more like this:
Okay, I didn't really look like naked chicken sculpture, but trust me, you would rather see this.

And, of course, because you will likely end up so completely drained that you get sick and can't leave your bed for a day.  If you're thinking that seems fine, then you may be forgetting we are now talking about cranky baby + tired daddy + sick mommy (I'm trying to skim over the part where Mr. Oil has to be in charge of Baby Oil which, he has explained, is VERY difficult).  Totally worth it though to be there for the beautiful wedding of Uncle and Auntie Oil.

One last note - we have made friends!  We'll call them Mr. and Mrs. Magnum.  Aside from the fact that they also have no other friends here, and they have a baby boy just a few months younger than Baby Oil, I also knew we should be friends for real when I saw the inside of their freezer.
Magnum bars - hence Mr and Mrs Magnum

As a firm believer that ice cream is one of three perfect foods in the world (pizza and french fries being the other two - though its possible that a fresh French baguette may need to be added to the list), any woman who stocks her freezer solely with ice cream bars needs to be my friend.