Saturday, January 03, 2009

1/3/09 The French

I took Julian and Katrina to a birthday party today...

(...excuse me, I'm being informed, "Office is closed, boys!" and the office door is being shut by a self-appointed authority....)

...and enjoyed hanging out and catching up with moms I knew, and getting to know other families I didn't know. This included a French-Canadian couple, the 3rd family I know now that hails from Quebec.

I learned something about Canadians today. Talking with the Dad, who's from somewhere in Quebec, I asked about his wife, and he said, "She's French." I made the usual joking inquiries about whether or not Canadians and French can understand each other. He said it was like a Texan talking to a Scot: same basic language, but with heavy accents and different expressions.

Later, his wife arrived, and we made instant friends. She had a strong accent that sounded a little odd, but her English was fine. It wasn't until hours later that I realized: she's not French from France, she's French-Canadian. Apparently being "French" in Canada is as clear a distinction as if she were from a different country. Indeed, the two did sound like they were from different countries, as he sounded like an ordinary Canadian ("It's cold oot-side") and she clearly was not a native English speaker. They were both fun, bright, interesting people and I got a huge kick out of talking to them.

Katrina managed to make a name for herself. OK, I have to preface this by saying she mostly played pretty well, but by 1:15 was clearly ready to go: pushing me off the couch, getting her shoes, putting her jacket on. But the cake hadn't been cut yet though, and leaving a birthday party before the big payoff because of a grumpy little sister is something I only had the heart to do to Julian once in his lifetime. This is a problem with bringing a 2-year-old to a 5-year-old's birthday party.

While the kids were gathering for the singing, Katrina got mad at me for something, and hit me with a toy. Only she picked the wrong leg, and hit another mom instead! When she realized her mistake, she looked at me with contempt, and then hit my leg, as if it were my fault that she'd attacked the wrong leg. I brought her to the other mom and told her to say she was sorry, but she burst into angry tears, and actually started to shake. I was glad that she reacted that way instead of escalating, as Gabriel would have done. Still, the little pest!

Before the party, I took Julian for a much-needed haircut. I liked his moptop look, but while his hair is completely straight, it actually has a lot of body and will stick out strangely. Katrina watched the operation with interest.

The haircut ladies eyed her too, and misunderstood my appalled reaction. It's not just that I love her long hair, but I will need serious sedation before attempting to get her to sit for a haircut again.

We walked around the apartment complex a little before the party, where a newly dapper Julian enjoyed a fountain and some ducks.

Lately I haven't wanted to stay at birthday parties with the boys, especially not with Katrina, but I had fun being a grownup and a yakky Mom again today.


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