At La Fille's parent-teacher meeting on Saturday we learned there is "lots of aggression" in her class. I am not sure what this means but the plastic giraffe and lion have been banished to an out-of-reach shelf. Apparently the weapons of choice for these oppugnant youngsters are not flick knives and knuckledusters, thank God, but plastic carrots and chips. The teacher, who has 30 years experience, seems to be struggling. Afterwards, the Frenchman, having established that La Fille keeps well out of any embrangle and thus there is no threat to her glasses, is unsympathetic. "How difficult can it be? They are only two and three-year-olds," he says. I, who have difficulty controlling one willful three year old, say nada.
I am not comfortable with three-year-olds being described as "aggressive". I suspect a teacher in the UK would be sacked or severely reprimanded for this choice of words. I would prefer "high-spirited" or "energetic" or "hyperactive", but then that might be because so far La Fille has escaped having her head stoved in by a wild animal or toy vegetable. My French friends say this is evidence of British hypocrisy and political correctness and our growing habit of calling a spade an earth displacing implement.
The French teacher's comments would make lurid headlines back home where there seems to be a hunger for anything that talks Britain down. I was astonished by how, long before credit and crunch and crisis became the new 'c' words, people were so pessimistic and determined to badmouth everything about the country. My theory is it is why nobody will have a word said against France. Tell them it is not El Dorado and they go 'La, la, la, la' with their fingers in their ears. Perhaps is it is a safety valve: life in Britain is crap, let's cross the Channel.
God knows what the UK papers would make of the outbreak of legume rage among French toddlers. Instead they are full of interesting things you did not know you did not know.
*According to a medical group Belfast is the city in which you are most likely to have had a tummy tuck; Chester a face lift; Nottingham a nose job, Newcastle and Bristol (how appropriate) breast augmentation and London botox.
*The cost of cheese in the UK has gone up nearly 50% in the last year.
*One in ten British people would rather go to the dentist than host a dinner party.
*A wedding dress made of rubber washing-up gloves the artist turned inside out is on display at a Cumbrian museum. The curator said: "The work demonstrates both the young girl's dream of a white wedding and the mundane reality of household." No...really!