Friday, September 07, 2007

L'heure des mamans

It's six o'clock in the evening on Wednesday as I cross in front of the Hôtel de Ville. The suits I saw at noon are now gone, all still prisoners in nearby office buildings until seven or eight. They've been replaced by children, everywhere, all seemingly under six, with their tired mothers in tow.

It is l'heure des mamans.

I realize I'm following behind two women pushing strollers and trying with weary vigilance to survey four other childen old enough to walk. "Théo, come here now, and hold on to the back of the stroller!" The Théo in question continues merrily down the street, oblivious; his mother speeds up and jerkily grabs his arm. She repeats herself.

One of the women is pregnant. If I'm counting correctly the blond heads that seem to be hers, she'll soon have four children. Four children! Right now I can't possibly imagine her motivation.

Le Petit is in the Bjorn, where he has -- finally -- fallen asleep. With his arms and legs hanging down limply I could almost forget he was there, but with disbelief I realize he's my entry ticket to this new club. Now I have something in common with these exhausted women: we're all outside on a late Wednesday afternoon, dragging children from one corner of town to the other, wearing our dark circles like a badge of honor.

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