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The runaway New York Times bestseller that shows American parents the secrets behind France's amazingly well-behaved children, from the author of There Are No Grown-ups.
When American journalist Pamela Druckerman had a baby in Paris, she didn't aspire to become a "French parent." But she noticed that French children slept through the night by two or three months old. They ate braised leeks. They played by themselves while their parents sipped coffee. And yet French kids were still boisterous, curious, and creative. Why? How?
With a notebook stashed in her diaper bag, Druckerman set out to investigate—and wound up sparking a national debate on parenting. Researched over three years and written in her warm, funny voice, Bringing Up Bébé is deeply wise, charmingly told, and destined to become a classic resource for American parents.
Living in Paris has allowed American journalist Druckerman (Lust in Translation) a riveting glimpse into a calmer, rational, sage way of raising children. With three children of her own, all born in Paris and happily bilingual, Druckerman wanted to find the key to forging the well-behaved youngsters she witnessed in parks and restaurants infants who sleep through the night at two months, children with table manners, who don't interrupt adults or eat between meals. It starts, apparently, with calm, sensible French mothers, who don't become enormously self-indulgent during pregnancy, but quickly lose the baby fat after birth and rarely breast feed. The French health system helps by its generous maternal and child-care policies. Babies are treated as rational creatures, expected to "self-distract" in order to fall asleep (Druckerman calls the essential lapse in response time "La Pause"), and wait to eat when everybody else has their meals, four times a day, including the 4 p.m. sweet time called le gouter. Instead of rushing to satisfy or stimulate a child la Americain, the French are keen on aiding kids to discover on their own, developing autonomy with the help of a cadre, or frame, which is firm but flexible. Citing Rousseau, Piaget, and Fran oise Dolto, as well as scores of other parents, Anglophone or French, Druckerman draws compelling social comparisons, some dubious (e.g., Frenchwomen, unlike Americans, don't expect their husbands to help much with housework, thus eliminating "tension and resentment"), others helpful (insisting that children try new foods at each meal to broaden their palates), but she is ever engaging and lively to read.