Thursday, May 22, 2008

International relations

My husband and I got in a pointless argument about babyproofing.

The problem is that I, ever the prudent mom, have in my head a list of unresolved dangers in our household. The list gets shorter all the time, but I still worry about the windows, the changing table that a toddler could tip over by standing on their toes and hanging from the ledge, and the mean-looking corners on our coffee table.

I keep coming up with improvised security solutions, since the off-the-shelf babyproofing gadget meant for the task is either ineffective or unavailable. Some of my solutions have worked, such as the Ikea cabinet over the refrigerator for storing cleaning supplies. Some, like the Great Window Disaster (an ongoing saga, so stayed tuned), have been rather less successful.

I bought a roll of adhesive foam at the BHV today and left it on the coffee table. Later I planned to somehow cut it up into useful shapes and stick it to the scary wooden corners. My husband saw it when he came in the door, and skeptically and disdainfully started to quiz me on my plan of action.

I didn't have much of a plan, so I got a bit touchy. I think I ended up telling him that he could either approve of the foam and my babyproofing efforts or drive his son to the emergency room when he split his head open. Delicate and thoughtful, no?

Later, when I apologized to him, I said, "Well, you know me. I like to jump into things and figure them out as I go along." I thought, cringing, of how I had attacked the window with my power drill.

"That's normal, you're an American," he said cheerfully. "Me, I consider things carefully for a very long time, and think about them for so long that sometimes, finally, I do nothing."

"That's normal, you're French."

And thus we state the stereotypical yet fundamental truth of Franco-American relations, n'est-ce pas?

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