I finished that Ikea shelf system (all by myself!). Not without a few snafus which I’d like to blame on the sometimes too subtle pictograms that Ikea uses as instructions. Soon my husband and I will put together the crib (let’s see how smoothly that goes, he he). Physically we’re getting things prepared for bébé. But the fact that our baby has an American mom and a French papa adds some other things to our checklist.
This morning for instance I was looking online to see about getting our little croissan’wich a US passport. I think it will make things easier when we travel back to the US (for one thing she can stay with me in the line and probably get through more quickly when we land back there). I found out that she will automatically be a US citizen even without us lifting a finger, because of my citizenship. Of course, I’ll also speak English to the baby, so she can understand her Yankee relatives, while her papa will communicate in French.
Oh, it’s so much richer than that, I know. Those little things like a random airport worker calling you “darling” when she tells you how to get to gate 4. Or since I’m from the South, the joy of a nice cold homemade milkshake on a sweltering July day. The sound of a good summer thunderstorm. Chatting up the people in line at the Piggly Wiggly. I suppose it’s hard to define it.
What I definitely don’t want is for our child to turn up her nose at the US like some French do. To hear something like “All Americans are fat and want to rule the world” coming out of my child’s mouth would be a sure sign that I’ve failed to show her the real fiber of my country. And without living there a long time, it can be hard to get a real feel for a place and not reduce it to stereotypes. And I guess to be fair, I’ll have to limit my own sometimes negative comments about France in front of bébé. Because France is her country, too, and perhaps most of the time she’ll feel it’s more her homeland than the US. Hmm, bringing up a bicultural baby might be a bit more complicated than I thought.
Maybe my readers (all two of you!) can tell me what it means to you to be a (North) American…?