Our Family’s (2nd) Year in the South of France
Kids and Castles - Our year with kids in the South of France

Don’t Panic, It’s Just a “Teachable Moment”

Sometimes the kids do something that really just wouldn’t have happened if we had not come to France.

Last night we made spaghetti for dinner. The girls were helping set the table and stir the sauce (why do kids love pots of boiling hot liquid?) and for a brief moment we were having the kind of positive family time you might see in a pasta commercial. The girls asked for a piece of dry spaghetti to play with, which I gave them since they asked so nicely.

So my guard was down when L turned to Z and said, “Let’s go play smoke break” and they confidently put the sticks in their mouths and inhaled.

I’m not one of those smooth, natural, and unflappable mothers who easily rolls with the unexpected. My first reaction is usually to freak out a little bit and assume I’ve damaged the children yet again. This time was: AARRGGHHH!!!  What is this country doing to my children?!?!?

But I am working on being more relaxed and I’m learning to embrace these times as “teachable moments”.

I am also figuring out how to introduce them to all the medieval stuff. History tends to be pretty violent, and there is a LOT of history here. So the kids end up exposed to the kind of violence that was common in medieval times. The otherwise cool knights and fortresses come with all kinds of nasty ways to kill people. Those medieval lords seemed to get quite a kick out of throwing people over a cliff after they conquered a particularly well defended fortress. (Not that there isn’t violence in American – duh – but it’s different.)

Stocks at Mornas Fortress

I think I did an o.k. job explaining how stocks were used for punishment without causing any nightmares. Although I confess that I arranged to slide them quickly past the gibbet before the questions started since I wasn’t ready to handle that.

I am comforted by the fact that we grew up with Bible stories which are really kind of frightening – baby Moses being put in a river full of crocodiles, lions’ dens, fiery furnaces, crucifixion, stoning, and on and on – and we survived.

The most likely scenario is that the kids will be just fine.

3 Responses to “Don’t Panic, It’s Just a “Teachable Moment””

  1. Val says:

    BTW, did you know that dry sphaghetti will actually burn if you light it? Just thought you’d like to know.

  2. […] Castles, I’m enjoying following along with the ex-pat life in France. This week, Diane had a Don’t Panic, It’s Just a “Teachable Moment”, which made me laugh (sorry!). But it did make me start to think about the realities of children […]

  3. mom says:

    it follows hard on the old saw that kids never misquote us – they say exactly what we should never have said in the first place