La Gastro and “Fun” French Vocabulary

What Happens When You Wash a Doudou

What Happens When You Wash a Doudou

This week was supposed to be Elise’s big week–she was supposed to start going to preschool four days a week.  Note the word “supposed” which leads me into my first post for 2013, vocabulary that you don’t learn in school.  She went to school on Monday and came home sick.  She has the flu or as they call it here in France, “la gastro.” In parenting terms, la gastro is that wonderful combination of throwing up, diarrhea, and achiness that leads to your children sleeping on you for hours on end and your washing machine running non-stop.  Sleepless nights are no longer a thing of the past.  It is also a national cause célèbre–in addition to the weather report, you can catch the national flu map on TV too!  Brittany as you might guess from the state of my living room is bright red!

When we visited the US with Laura as a baby, we only brought a limited amount of baby food with us and decided to buy most of it as we explored.  Anthony’s face when we finally got around to buying some was priceless.  I found him standing with a bottle of Gerber baby food in his hands and a horrified expression on his face.  Gerber is French slang for to throw up or, translated a bit more loosely, “to puke.”  I’ve been dealing with a lot of puke over the past 36 hours.  Laura, because Elise had to share with her sister, even puked on her doudou.  Doudou is a catch-all French term for a child’s favorite stuffed toy or blanket that they cannot live without.  Washing a doudou is tantamount to instigating a nuclear meltdown as the photo above from our summer vacation shows–needless to say when it’s been puked on you have no choice.  (As an aside Mo Willems has two wonderful books Knuffle Bunny/Guili Lapin in French and Knuffle Bunny Too that perfectly summarize the child-doudou relationship.)  Doudou blankie is in the dryer now and I’m counting down the minutes until it comes out and I can put the girls down for a little “dodo.”  Dodo is my last word for you today.  Faire dodo means to go to bed/sleep in French baby language.  I could use a little dodo time myself–time to dream of puke-free days and new adventures!

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