On the well-behaved French children

NOT a typical French kid
I've heard a saying that French kids are seen but not heard. I testify fully by this statement! The metro, museums, restaurants, supermarkets, malls and boutiques are full of kids but you don't realize this until you make a conscious effort to seek them out. Only then the French kids start transpiring - in strollers, shopping carts, metro seats, but you will never hear them! Maybe a casual tiny baby would catch your attention by an accidental whimper coming from a zoom-zoom stroller, but that's the pinnacle of French kids' misbehavior. Haven't heard a single tantrum over chocolate, a scream at a sibling, a fight at a bus stop, or anything of a kind! Actually, I think I haven't heard a sound coming from a single French kid!

We had lunch at a super-busy Italian pizzeria today. You wouldn't realize it was full of kids until you put on your special "I Spy Kids"-glasses. Every single table was occupied by a couple or a parent with at least two kids ages 1-13. And the only sound you could hear was the wine pouring and the "Il Divo" music coming from the restaurant's speakers. The kids didn't occupy themselves by drawing on restaurant-offered paper using restaurant-offered crayons, nor did the play Nintendo DS or iPhone games, they just were there, quiet and well-behaved.

Last week at the market a 50-something man came up to us and said - "I've seen you in the city before. I mean I've heard your kids". Of course, he did! I think most of Lille has first heard and then seen my rowdy Little Nomads: a finger-pointing, loud-talking, fast-running, hand-grabbing, comment-making, incessantly-talking, song-singing, each-other-pushing-and-shoving couple. How can you possibly not notice them - they are certainly not the French type! Nor they are Canadian or North American. They are just the Little Nomads, what else?!

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