Wednesday, January 19, 2011

French Doudous

Doudou = lovey (see the battered stuffed troll attached just above the license plate?)

I've never explained to my kids that doudou in English is doodoo, a.k.a. excrement. I didn't figure they needed to know this tidbit at first, not to ruin things for their new French friends. Now, after all these years, I've never let them in on the secret.


Doudous are majorly important to French children. When we arrived in France Alex was four, so he was eligible to bring his to school. But he didn't have just one, like most French kids-- that one who follows them from crib to -- well, maybe the front of the work truck one day. Alex had about 40 stuffed animals then, and since they all had names, we were coerced into sending the whole lot on the boat. One by one, each got a turn being doudou du jour for nap time. When we'd arrive in the morning, he'd deposit The Chosen One along with other kids' in a big germ-filled bin outside the classroom. The teacher often shook her head in amazement that yet another different one was coming again today.

For parents whose children lose their doudous frequently, it's a cauchemar, a nightmare. In fact, one of my relatives had three matching doudous for her daughter to ensure a ready replacement was always on hand. Because being without a doudou substitute would be the equivalent of finding yourself in deep --

<Warning -- bad joke coming! You know what it is, of course...>

-- doodoo.

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