Monday, January 17, 2005

Le Plaie-Groupe

Before attending Sabra's playgroup for the first time, I was more apprehensive about the other mothers than the kids. Mothers are snarky, defensive, competitive, self-righteous. Babies aren't difficult to like, and I could surely forgive a toddler a few negative character traits, right?

Well, as it turns out the other mothers are very cool. Much cooler than I, sadly. But the kids! Oh, my. In fact, thank god for Les Mamans because even under our vigil the whole thing threatens to degenerate into The Lord of the Flies.

For those unaware, Le Plaie-Groupe is attended by francophone mothers and their sub-verbal but hopefully soon-to-be bilingual toddlers, ages 8 months to 16 months. (Those further unaware should note that the "Plaie" in "Plaie-Groupe" is French for "bandage" as in one needed for a puncture wound, head wound, sucking chest wound...) They pass around maladies like a chapter out of La Peste, and every toy becomes an object of territorial dispute worthy of the Franco-Prussian war.

Yes, the kids are probably too young; but with languages you're supposed to start early. At this point, the few that can say anything at all in French or English are limited to a variation of "uh-Maaaaah!"--always an exclamation and meaning variously "MAMAN," "A MOI" (French for "mine!") or one of the repertoire of animal sounds. Comment fait une vache? "uh-Maaaaah!" Et un chaton? "uh-Maaaaah!"

One of the little crapulets gave Sabra her first-ever snotty nose this week. At least it wasn't a bloody nose, or another of the facial scratches she's come home with every other week. The big girls, Charlotte and the two Isabelles, clomp around like pieces of heavy machinery. The boys, Auden and Daniel, are quite meek by comparison but when pressed can also slap, pinch, and bite. But Sabra is awestruck by "les grands." Think along the lines of those teenage girls you've seen in the audience footage of The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show-- staring wide-eyed, clapping ...shrieking, sobbing.


Post a Comment

<< Home