Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Les Enfants Terribles

I'm not sure at which point I knew that the lack of discipline and overindulgence on our travels had gone too far.

Perhaps we should have known from the start, when Sophie screamed blue murder as the plane landed in France, not because of "a pain in her ears, le pauvre petite" as the lovely French steward suggested, but because she simply refused to put her seat belt on. Screaming in confined spaces became quite a talent of hers. Her best work reserved for taxis, trains and, of course supermarkets.

Perhaps it was when we walked into the Benetton shop in Bayonne, with another lovely French man coming to help us and Sophie responded by hitting the floor and screaming " I want a pink t-shirt- WITH SPARKLES ON IT!" - and walked out wearing one.

I definitely knew we were losing the battle when the kids were no longer allowed to accompany me into the St Julien supermarket, as my humiliation at reaching the counter with two small children screaming for toys had peaked.

In desperation, one afternoon, I locked the kids in the car in the supermarket car park to run in for our baguette and jambon Bayonne. The lovely ladies at the counter looked as relieved as I was not to be having the Smith tantrum spectacular again showing at a venue near them. I gave my "Merci's" breathed a sigh of relief and walked out to see my youngest son executing a very fine 'pressed ham'* up against the car window.

Mon Dieu!

*For those of you unfamiliar with this technical terminology the 'pressed ham' is the pressing of one's bare buttocks up against a glass pane for the shock/amusements of others. A very popular activity amongst drunk, exhibitionist undergraduates in the early '90s and possibly popular still today.