Saturday, December 11, 2004

Birthday Cakes

A few of us mothers braved the cold yesterday after school got out and brought the kids to the park for 30 minutes. We were chatting about nothing when a French mother asks me how her son got a space shuttle button (he's in class with my son). I told her my friend's husband is an astronaut and gave me the pictures and pins to give to the teacher to hand out in English class.
I took this opportunity (since this is the same mother who explained I shouldn't get involved in the school realm) to say, see, this is why it can be good for parents to get involved....I brought something to the school that the teachers couldn't and it was a learning experience. She nodded her head but was not convinced, I could tell (although her son loves the pin).
This apparently reminded her of the trouble with Americans. She complained that the school would not allow home baked goods in the classroom. In other words, she couldn't bake a birthday cake for her child's class. She said she understood the school made this rule as a result of the Americans. What??? She wasn't sure if the Americans just went overboard on home baked goods in the classroom or if they were afraid that the Americans would start suing if there was ever a problem. What??? She said, she thought there was an incident (perhaps at another school?) -- too many baked goods and some problem with one of the baked good and this caused our school to be scared at the prospect of litigation. The French definitely believe (and it's true) that America is a litigious society, but this was a new one to me... home baked birthday cakes?

-- said Auntie M in Paris
11:23 AM



I believe (at my son's French bilingual school) that it was not the American side of the school that - not all together banning home baked items, but to be very, very aware that there are alot of children allergic to items made in bakeries that use peanuts in processing and other ingredients. (I saw the list in the nurse's office of children who had allergies to certain foods.) So it sounds the other mom may be a bit misplaced in her thinking. I think she may miss you and your family if you were to move - no one to complain to about Americans?!

# posted by Anonymous : 3:46 PM  

Wow. That woman is a real wench.

I have found that when a French person says something ridiculous about Americans, I do that natural thing: I laugh. Really really loudly. Then when I'm done, I apologize and say that I've never heard of anything so silly.

It works pretty well, too. ;)

PS I think she brought up the cakes because she couldn't come up with an arguement about the shuttle stuff, n'est ce pas? ;)

# posted by ViVi : 4:37 PM  

This is a riot--too many baked goods, NOOOOO!!!
ViVi, I use the same tactic. Works quite well.

# posted by Coquette : 4:54 PM  

She was just jealous about the space stuff. She didn't know what else to do so she decided to slam you and your "American" ways. A classic, mean, French mother tactic!


# posted by Anonymous : 8:59 PM  

I feel for you so much. While we were in Germany my son attended the school on base (a DOD school) so none of these things were ever an issue.

Are you all planning to move back to America?

I think that parental involvement in school is so important. Perhaps it is because of our culture that I feel this way, but how in the WORLD could it be a bad thing? I just don't get it.

As far as the baked goods? Geesh. That is a new one for me. I do so enjoy your journal and I feel your pain!!


# posted by Carrie : 9:57 PM  

Actually there truly seems to be an issue with home baked goods in some school districts in the US: http://www.ptotoday.com/cgi-ptotoday/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=29;t=000647;p=

Google on ["home baked" school regulations] and you will get the same message from a number of elementary schools in several states (lots of hits in MN).

So the other mom didn't dream this up.

# posted by Anonymous : 11:42 PM  

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