Outside my apartment window, three little children stood patiently waiting for their guardian who was inside the bakery buying their baguette for lunch.
Perfectly still. Coats buttoned. Holding on to the stroller handle.
Never moved a hair.
The fourth child was inside.
The guardian put the baguette in a basket under the stroller.
Then she took the command of the stroller and proceeded to cross the street.
Three perfectly behaved children and a baby too.
Everyday between 11:30 and 12:30 people line up to buy their baguette. Often the children, if there are many with a stroller, wait outside.
A daily sight in France: People buying their lunch baguette, and obedient children. Holding on to the stroller, or a parent's hand is a given.
Children in France are taught to hold on the stroller from the moment they can walk. When a child is taught to do so, they do it. Just like parents who put their child in a car seat and then a seatbelt, if they are taught they will wear one regardless if they like it or not.
When in France....
For the first six years in France I did not drive. No wonder I was skinny. Two years later when Chelsea was born and later Sacha I pushed my stroller everywhere, wore out the wheels. Had arm muscles. We lived in Marseille, cars everywhere, even a moped or two rolled on the sidewalks. Chelsea held on without faltering. It never occurred to me that either of my children would misbehave while walking or crossing the street. It was a given that they would be like the other French children I knew. Made my life easier... pushing the stroller wasn't easier, but children who listened sure did.
The daily baguette.
The rituals of France carry on....