Chinese Parenting Vs. French Parenting, As Discussed By American Parents At A Book Club Meeting
“Welcome to book club! Whoever brought the hummus, that’s the same half-empty container of hummus you bring every time — please stop bringing it.”
“I’ll stop bringing it when someone eats it.” ??
“No one’s going to eat it. It looks like one of your kids threw up in it.” ??
“My kids do not throw up.”
??“Tonight, we’ll be discussing two controversial books about parenting — Amy Chua’s Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, and Pamela Druckerman’s Bringing Up Bebe. Now before we break out the vegan cupcakes–”
??“Jaden, get back upstairs right now. This is adult time. And you have six more hours of piano scales before bed.” ??
“The two books discuss parenting styles that, while they differ in some respects, are fundamentally very similar–”
?“Isabel, I don’t know why you left this lamb heart on your plate. That’s the best part of the casserole. Now go upstairs and use the potty.”
??“I didn’t actually read either book, but I read a blog post on the internet, and I think that should give me license to speak uninterrupted for the next fifteen minutes, if that’s okay.” ??
“It’s fine with me. I’ll be over here live-tweeting our meeting.” ??
“How come no one’s following me on Twitter? After I gave to your Kickstarter campaign, that’s the least you can do–”
“I think it’s ridiculous that Tiger parents are supposed to yell at their children. Our children are our peers, our partners, our conscience–” ??
“Liam, let go of the dog’s ears! You know he’s supposed to be practicing the violin.”
“Your dog can play the violin?” ??
??“But the French parents seem to ignore their children entirely. Don’t they realize a parent has to keep a vigilant eye on the dangers of the world?”
?“Ethan — I hope that’s your diaper and not someone else’s.” ??
“Claire, get your head out of that plastic bag. It’s not reusable.” ??
“Both books completely glide past the real problems in our society. Poverty, famine, lack of access to education–” ??
“Whoever brought the brownies — are they gluten-free?”
??“More important, do they have nuts?”
??“Most important, are they homemade? I’m breastfeeding, so I don’t like to eat anything that’s had any sort of processing.”
??“We’re the role models. Tiger parenting, French parenting, what’s the difference as long as they’re seeing conscientious parenting of some sort, watching the effort we put in? Like our commitment to this book club. That’s the kind of example we set.”
??“I’m sorry I’m late! Baby kickboxing ran long!”
??“Where did you guys find your copies of the books? I went to zero bookstores, and none of them had any copies. I also walked past a library, but I think Braden ate my library card. I wish we’d pick books that are easier to get our hands on.” ??
“I liked the cover so much, I didn’t even open the book.” ??
“I skimmed both of them, which I think means I should be leading this whole discussion. And it definitely means someone needs to save me a potsticker. Are these from Trader Joe’s? Oh, shoot, I got dumpling sauce all over my Tiger Mother book.”
??“That’s my copy, not yours.” ??
“I don’t think so. Is your name in it?”
??“Emma, you need to share! Now give me that toy.” ??
“Caleb, put down the expired hummus and do your homework.” ??
“Is anyone actually able to intelligently discuss what they thought of the books?”
??“I’m going to the bathroom, and I’m never coming back.” ??
“Mason, take the Cheez Doodles out of your ear and put them in the medical waste bin, because they are toxic to everything I believe in.” ?
?“So what should we read next time? How about this book I already read, because I’m too lazy to read another?” ??”
“Two of my kids just wrote books. We should read those. You can all pay me with an app on your phone.”
??“I think I’m more of a Tiger mother, but that may just be the stripes on my shirt.”
??“I love our book club. It almost makes me forget I don’t know how to read.”
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Even as I write this now I am debating whether or not to erase it all together.
When I say I’m in love with you, I mean I love the story I can tell to my next lover, about my ex-lover, about how beautiful things were, how intense, how storybook, what a couple we were, and how you gradually, inexplicably, painfully, bit by bit, disappeared.
“I used to be afraid of failing at something that really mattered to me, but now I’m more afraid of succeeding at things that don’t matter.”
I was 24 and, while not gay, ever since college I had been getting more attention from gay men than from heterosexual women.