Byline: By Willy Poole
It was an interesting example of French child management. I was sitting in the car, in the supermarket car park reading Centre Presse, which might be compared to The Journal (not as well written, of course).
Madame was shopping. As an invalid, I am excused shopping (very nicely thank you; I am out of the sling and start on the physio next week).
In the row of cars in front of me a family party (father, mother, small girl) was loading up its car. The child had obviously been refused something that it wanted and was in tatty fettle; in fact, not to put too fine a point on the matter, it was throwing a wobbly; "like summer tempests came its tears".
It screamed; it yelled; it stamped its tiny foot; its face turned a very nasty shade of puce. The parents, separately and severally, tried to reason with it, to no avail. Then came the part that I admired.
The parents had obviously had enough. They simply got into the car, shut the doors and sat there. The child was left alone and howling in the wilderness, or a supermarket car park, which is fair nigh the same thing. What was worse was that no one was sparing it the least little bit of attention and it was wasting its lovely tantrum.
So it switched off the tantrum and returned to being a nice little girl and was swept back into the bosom of the family.
I thought to myself that had that happened in an English car park, you would have had the police, ambulance, fire brigade, child protection, animal rights, Uncle Tom Cobbley and all wanting their two pennorth worth. As it was, a little simple child psychology and common sense sorted the whole thing.
AND talking of wild animals and what is a child if not a wild animal that has to be trained into being human, I am minded of a zoo that I was taken to when I was staying in France, some years ago:
"You will like, Claude," said my friend, "she is ancienne famille and she hates the English." The shorthand here is that the lady came of noble lineage that predated the upstart nobility created by Napoleon. …