Sunday, May 15, 2005

Ranelagh Guignol

Saturday afternoon my daughter was invited over to a friend's house. She refused to go unless I went with her. So, and I know you won't believe this, but I asked the woman if I could come along on the playdate since it was my daughter's first time to her home. She said ok.

Soon after we arrived at the home, the mother suggested we take a short walk to Ranelagh Park to have the girls play there. Normally, that is a great idea, but soon after we arrived at the park it started to rain. We decided to take in a guignol/ marionette show that was about to begin.

The woman paid for my ticket, so I'm not sure how much they cost. I think the tickets usually cost less than 3 euro for the 40 minute show. The kids sat down in the front and I watched the show from a back seat. The first thing I realized was that I understood quite a bit of the show. I was thinking back to my first marionette show on the Champs de Mars nearly five years ago and how I understood absolutely nothing about the story.

The story on Saturday? Basically it was a guignol (the favorite French puppet who always has black hair, a pony tail and a billy club) who had some sheep. He sold it to a butcher for his beloved princess. The princess falls in love with the sheep, but the butcher wants to give the princess lamb chops instead. There was lots of screaming when the butcher took the sheep to his shop. Thankfully, guignol saves the day and gets the sheep back to the princess. A very happy ending and my daughter loved it.

The show is outside with a canopy over the stage and chairs.

-- said Auntie M in Paris
10:10 PM



Did this mother mind you coming along, or did she enjoy the company? Because I know in the past you've had mixed reactions. It really all depends on the person. Some people are really happy to have someone to help take care of the kids, others can be standoffish. But it seems like you all had a good time, especially since she offered to buy your ticket.

I was going to say that I've never seen a marionette show. But then I just remembered, years ago when I was 8, in New York the public library had this summer reading program where if you read X amount of books and reported on them like once a week or something, in the end you would get to attend this little show and get free ice cream. I always loved reading... anyway the play they had was a little puppet marionette play... I can't remember exactly what it was about but it was entertaining...

But marionettes seem to be a much bigger French institution than here. I bet you were pleased you could understand so much; I know I would be!

# posted by Joe : 11:07 PM  

Hi! That sounds like fun. My daughter saw her first puppet show today at a friends b-day party. She really loved it, so I'm hoping she'll start wanting to do her own puppet shows.

# posted by Raehan : 7:05 AM  

Hi Auntie !

The woman invited the child, not the mother. If the woman suggested a walk paid for your ticket, she wanted you out of her house, pronto.


# posted by L'Amerloque : 8:16 AM  

What a great feeling it must have been to actually understand the story!

# posted by Oz : 10:18 AM  

Joe, The woman is very nice, but I think L'A is correct in his assessment -- the woman wanted me out of her house. The problem is that I want my daughter to go to her friends places when invited, but I need to help her along otherwise I'm concerned she'll never take the first step.
Raehan, My daughter loves performing puppet shows at home. They are so cute to watch!
L'A, I believe you are on the mark, but I've invited her daughter over to our place a lot of times. Other French mothers last year gave the same excuse... that the first time their child came to a place the parent or guardian would come along so I didn't think it was that outrageous to ask. Believe me, I'd like my daughter to just go. It's really awkward for me too.

# posted by Auntie M in Paris : 11:02 AM  

Hi Auntie !

>>The problem is that I want my daughter to go to her
>>friends places when invited, but I need to help her along
>>otherwise I'm concerned she'll never take the first step.

Yes. What you might want to do – I'm not trying to usurp your parental role but hey ! we went through this, too, y'know (smile) - is arrange for a phone call to come in about 20 minutes after your arrival, requiring your immediate presence. That way your child would have settled in and begun playing with her friend(s) and won't take it amiss if you "have to leave cause there's a problem with the car parking".

>>L'A, I believe you are on the mark, but I've invited
>>her daughter over to our place a lot of times.
>>Other French mothers last year gave the same
>>excuse... that the first time their child came to
>>a place the parent or guardian would come along
>>so I didn't think it was that outrageous to ask.
>>Believe me, I'd like my daughter to just go.
>>It's really awkward for me too.

Naturally so. (smile)

If I may: since the woman paid for a guignol show, you'll have to return the favor. Perhaps taking her kid to the cinema (check with the parent first to see if the film you select is acceptable: what is acceptable for an American parent might certainly not be for a French parent), with a stop at an ice-cream shop afterwards would be appropriate.

If all that is a hassle, perhaps simply printing out a very nice digital photo of her child at the Guignol show would do the trick. It's more personalized.

I warn about the film simply because such situations occur with increasing frequency. Same for TV. One should never allow a visiting French child to watch TV with one's children, unless it's cleared with the child's parent(s) beforehand.


# posted by L'Amerloque : 11:56 AM  

L'A, A picture is a nice idea. I will certainly reciprocate. FYI... after we were done at the park she invited us back to her home. My daughter started crying when I said I had to leave -- my daughter wanted to go back to her friend's apartment. The woman asked again if I'd come up, but I told her my daughter needs to understand that if she wants to stay she must stay by herself. Small steps..

# posted by Auntie M in Paris : 1:13 PM  

My goodness... they still have Guignol in Paris? I saw that when I was a kid in Paris a long, long, long time ago, and I'm pretty sure my mother saw it as well when she was a kid growing up in France, as well. Nice to see that some things don't change.

# posted by Amelie Poulain : 8:25 PM  

L'Amerloque is right... I think it's a thing that some kids have to deal with over time. So little by little I guess she's going to have to grow to understand that, like you said.

Oh, children are so much fun!

The only time when I was little that I ever hated being left alone was when I knew I was being dumped somewhere while everyone else went off and did something interesting. This didn't happen often, but for example, those little kiddie clubs they have at these resorts and on cruises- I loathed those. I could be difficult... so if my kids do that to me I'm just getting it back in spades. ;-) But as far as staying at friends' houses, that never was a problem.

Has she ever said exactly why she doesn't want to be left alone? I'm sure by now you've talked to her many, many times about it. Maybe you could try making a deal with her, like if she goes and lets you leave, then you'll do something fun with her later on.

As far as returning the favor to the mom, I think the ideas you and L'A have come up with sound great. I was thinking myself, since she bought the ticket, you have to do something to pay her back.

I sympathize with you, though, because it has to be extremely difficult and sometimes a bit embarassing when you have to stay around and you know the host would rather you not stay.

The joys of parenthood! :-)

# posted by Joe : 9:32 PM  

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