I finished reading "French Kids Eat Everything" (by Karen LeBillon) back in December but I'm still thinking about it! This book was an enjoyable read about (just as the title indicates) a Canadian family that moved to France (where the father grew up) and experienced a major culture shock with the French culture of eating contrasted with their North American habits. I enjoyed reading about the awkwardness and the difficulty of fitting in with their French family as they struggled, and eventually decided to make some changes to their lifestyle in regards to eating. The changes were hard to make, and I love the author's, honesty about her family's personal struggles. Eventually, however, she and her family decide to move back to Canada, and they face the same problems, but in reverse, as they try to re-adapt to the culture they had previously left. In the end, the author discusses her efforts to take all that she's learned from these experiences and create a plan that works for her family's needs.
I really enjoyed Karen LeBillon's voice and writing style. As I read, I often felt like I was just talking with a girlfriend about French culture. She's disparages against the habits she taught her children at times and is really honest about the food-issues her family struggled with. It feels like she's being completely real with readers, and I appreciate the vulnerability, as I felt like it made her more relatable. Rather than feeling preached to, I felt like the point of the book was to share her family's experiences in hopes of teaching others, no matter what an individual's takeaway is. I definitely did not feel like I was reading expert advice, but rather honest advice based on someone's own life, which I appreciated. Although I feel like the subject of children's eating habits is important and it's handled with a serious tone, there are enough personal anecdotes and bits of humor to keep things lighter. I sympathized a lot with the struggles she and her family faced in their journey.
There are 10 rules outlined in the book. They are:
However, when I first told Shaun about the rules he tsk-ed them away. It took a while for me to sell him on trying a few of the "rules" out for our own family, but it's been a great experience so far. The hardest rule for me is eating slowly! I'm still working on it, and it's something that I think will take a long time for me to adjust to. I don't think this book (or these rules!) are for everyone, but as for me and mine, it's been a positive experiment that is ongoing and feels really beneficial. My friend Karim wrote a blog post a while back about being confident in your parenting style, and I love everything she said. So hopefully this post isn't going to be discouraging for anyone--there are different ways to parent, and this book was helpful for me and my own parenting style, but may not be for you.