Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Babies and springtime in Paris

In 1996 I found my life busy enough to even think about getting married and having babies, although I could have quite happily adopted some of the wonderful kids I taught. However, family came rather sooner than I had planned. I had stopped taking the Pill after a health scare linked to thrombosis, and after a routine check up in England was told I had something wrong with my cervix. I had to go back to Poland and find a gynecologist there. The woman rambled on and on and then gave me a prescripion in Polish. Misunderstanding my Polish doctor, and being too shy to ask my Polish colleagues to come and translate for me I did nothing. I assumed that there was a major problem and I could not get pregnant. This was the complete opposite of what she said.

So after returning from the April Easter holiday break in Budapest I felt rather odd and nauseous and after waiting a few weeks I decided to do something about it. In May Jacques and I had been invited to a wedding in France and we met at Roissy airport in Paris. I bought a test at the airport, with much embarrassment as the French woman couldn’t understand me when I mumbled ‘Enceinte?’ and finally with some gesturing sold me the blue stick test. We did the test in the hotel and it was positive straightaway.

Jacques seemed very happy and we went out for dinner in a daze, romantically deciding our first child would have the name of a street in Paris. We ate somewhere around Rue St.Denis, but in the end Dennis didn’t really seem such a good name after all! On the 1st of May he proposed as we wandered around the Jardins Publique holding the tradtional symbol of spring , a sprig of lily-of-the-valley or muguet and I, of course, said yes right away.

After the wedding we went to visit his family who seemed happy. To see if I would make the grade his mother passed me the newest member of the family. Francois was just six weeks old and the first child of Jacques brother, Phillippe and his girlfriend Gaelle. Holding this tiny doll of a baby was comforting that at least he seemed calm with me. As he looked up at me I sang the English lullaby ‘Rock a Bye Baby’ and told him how cute and handsome he was. Everyone around the kitchen table looked at me. Then Gaelle said in French with a shocked voice ‘But he doesn’t speak English!’ Not knowing whether to laugh or cry I passed him back. It occurred to me that I would have to either learn a few French lullabies and Basic French Baby Small-Talk or try to convince them that this wonderful future cousin of my baby inside me could be bilingual too…..as my baby would surely be….

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