La Fille is having two birthday parties; one in London, one in Paris. I know it seems rather spoilt brat-ish but it is not her idea: most of my friends with children live in London and most of her friends live in Paris.
Flushed with the success of the butterfly wings I have been making a pinata . I know I said "never again" to papier maché only a couple of weeks ago. I know there are more useful, profitable things I could be doing with my time. I know I once had a career. I was thinking all this as I stuck strips of glue soaked newspaper on a balloon and thought "never again" again. Actually the fish pinata turned out to be a work of art; far too beautiful to be smashed to pieces by stick-wielding toddlers. So even as I was muttering "never again" I was getting stuck into the paper and glue to make a second, less beautiful model bee.
One of the other English-speaking mothers commended my bravery, especially as there are quite a few windows in our appartment. She also warned my efforts may not be fully appreciated: "The French mothers won't know what it is and the American mothers will hate it because it's full of sweets," she said. In her view I was especially brave - or mad - because most French parents expect to leave their children at the party, even toddlers. She assumed I was aware of this. "Didn't you know?" she said. "They come up with all kind of mendacious excuses to disappear for a couple of hours." What? Call me naive and inexperienced in the etiquette of children's parties - we had to cancel last year's celebrations because La Fille had chickenpox - but no I was not aware. I was hoping for at least one adult reinforcement, if not two, for each blind-folded, marauding three-year-old hell bent on destroying a papier maché bee full of E numbers. I may just have to leave them in a windowless room with sticks and sweets.