Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
Paris, Baby!: An American Girl's Real-Life Adventures Having a Baby in the City of Lights Paperback – May 24, 2011
All Books, All the Time
Read author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more at the Amazon Book Review. Read it now
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
About the Author
KIRSTEN LOBE is a former fashion designer, and the author of the novels Paris Hangover and French Trysts. She has lived in Tokyo, New York, Paris and Lake Geneva, and is now a citizen of the world.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
“Childhood is the sleep of reason.”
I am SO NOT one of those people who can wait until the precious and precarious first three months pass to tell people I am having a baby. After making my life-changing and monumental decision, I call my copine Zola here in Paris, call back my sister Lily, and call my BFF (friends since we were twelve) in Los Angeles, Kathy. There’s lots of howling with joy interspersed with plenty of serious candor. My euphoria has even affected my beloved cat, Verdi, who is ricocheting off the walls and virtually up to the seventeenth-century poutres (“exposed beams”) with shared enthusiasm, which I find endearingly empathetic.
With so much to think about, plan, and ponder, I can’t even stay in my apartment. Too much energy coursing through me to be contained in these four walls. I race over to Zola’s flat—amazingly, one street away—since I feel like I’m going to explode with pure joy if I don’t have an outlet to revel in this, the most marvelous of events. (Mental block on baby’s father exit? Oh yes. Coping tools working at precision efficiency, thanks.)
My chère amie Zola is just, hands down, the most loyal friend and while we are opposites in a lot of ways, we get on like a house on fire. She’s funny, smart, and, while sometimes she could be accused of dressing a bit like a secretary, she’s an amazing partner in crime. Read: she will meet me for drinks at Café de Flore after work on a Wednesday night and bounce around St. Germain until we end the night having danced until 3 A.M. Some could even say we are each other’s surrogate family or even act like a couple, since we buy each other heaps of birthday and Christmas gifts, celebrate New Year’s Eve by making an elegant dinner chez elle and going out après. Every Saturday we window shop, lunch en plein air, and run errands like an old couple.
She is so in as godmother for my baby, since she will be wonderfully doting and a great counterbalance to my influences. And on a silly note, I love her name (I think people often evolve into the name they are given, and that’s why I’m choosing my baby’s name with the greatest care). Zola was named by her parents for the writer, Émile Zola. How elegant is that? Yet, I am eternally grateful that my mother didn’t name me after her favorite writer, Dostoevsky. Without doubt, I would’ve been doomed to a life of bad teeth and chin hair.
Zola is a petite, red-haired, porcelain-skinned beauty if ever there was one; part Debra Messing and part Vargas calendar girl. Interesting footnote—for some totally absurd reason there is a French myth that women with red hair smell particularly bad. And in the always twisted way that the Gallic put their spin on an idea, the not-so-appealing smell is supposedly from redheads’ nether regions, or, as they say in slang, from en bas (“downstairs”). What a crazy crock, huh? And even sillier, this odd belief still permeates the minds of some of the less educated souls of France. I know this because of many a story from Zola, where she regales me with tales of ex-boyfriends being pleasantly surprised that she is as fresh and fragrant as an orchid.
Alas, after door codes galore and passing by the concierge, who always glares at me like she’s been reading my diary or something, I burst through the door of Zola’s tiny jewel box of an apartment and we grab arms and dance in circles, chanting, “No way!! No way! A baby!” I’m seriously relieved she is being so supportive and open-minded about all this, since she is more than a bit conservative and a smidge religious—when she wants to be. I am beginning to accept that this whole “baby solo” idea is really out there for some people.
We sit down on her canopied bed, the only place for two people to sit together in the three-hundred-square-foot studio apartment.
“Wine? Champagne? Maybe just a sip?” she asks, since we are the most faithful drinking compatriots and always start off every rendezvous with a glass in hand.
“No thanks, I am drunk on bliss and I am not going to risk anything with this baby. I’m going to stop my daily runs, I’m even going to stop riding on scooters … Oh god, I’m going to be a mom … Do you believe it? Strangely, I’m not even nervous, I’m just so excited to be pregnant. Do you think Blake will come around? Truthfully, he speaks so glowingly about his kids, it’s just endearing beyond words,” I say, falling back into the masses of silk pillows and shams.
“You know, it’s impossible to say, but I’ve seen you two together; you are an amazing couple and he clearly loved you. But you can’t bet on it or hope for it, since it would be agony if it wasn’t to happen. You sure you want to do this, Kiki? It’s going to be really hard sometimes … more than we can imagine, probably. You know you won’t really have a framework of help in family close at hand. I will always be there for you, but I know you, you like your freedom, and your whole life will change. What will your father say?” she asks, pouring herself a second glass of the pretty decent Aligoté from the Nicolas wine shop on rue du Bac (4.20 euros a bottle, pas mal).
“I know … I know. I am ready to do this solo if need be. I’ve wanted to be a mother since I was twenty-two, and I am so bored with all the self-focus. With only having my own little life to think of. God knows, you’d agree, I’ve been killing relationships left and right for years by trying to push silly Frenchmen too quickly to the let’s-move-in-marry-and-have-a-baby stage, when all they want is to have an affair with an American girl for the unique experience of it. Let’s face it, when you’re careening toward forty, you know who you are, what you are capable of, your strengths, weaknesses, and what you really hold dear and precious. Hell, I truly believe this happened now because it was meant to be. And let’s face it, I am not going to let the sea of waffly Frenchmen ruin my shot at motherhood. Frankly, most of the men I’ve dated here are too immature emotionally to become great fathers and husbands. Not a one of them I have known since I moved here eight years ago has ever gone on to a monogamous relationship, let alone marriage.” We nod, after briefly running through mental files and realizing this is true for us both. Bizarre.
I continue with my defensive diatribe. “And eventually when I do get to date again, having a child by myself will weed out those flakes and only leave men with integrity and decency. Right or non?” I say, with assuredness. That way of rationalizing every detail to my point of view is a big part of me, I fully admit.
Zola smiles slightly but her eyes quickly dart out the window, revealing a tinge of doubt at that last point. True enough, but I let it go. I’m swimming in blissful la-la land and nobody is going to squelch the joy of motherhood for me! I am not some wishy-washy twenty-something trying to find myself or thinking a child is a great accessory. I am probably more passionate about wanting a child than anyone I have known, and I am ready for the judgments and even the scorn that I may encounter. Bottom line, if I listened to everyone else’s opinion my whole life, I would never have the life I do have. I’d be back in Wisconsin, working in, hmm, retail? Or as a bank teller? Oh god, horrors.
Zola and I wrap up the night taking another pee test (positive again, hip hip hurrah!) and making a list of what to do next. Blood test for true confirmation and go see her OB-GYN; as a self-employed artist, I am not—and this isn’t very clever of me—in the French health-care system, so I only see doctors in the US when I go back for annual visits. This means that my pregnancy and the birth will all be out of pocket for me, but get this? It’s still about half to a third as expensive as having a child in the US—even when you’re laying out the cash as a foreigner. And I am dead set on an American hospital as the birth place since no way am I going to have my baby in one of the dozens of hospitals in Paris that don’t even have air-conditioning—not to mention that I need to know 100% of what the hell the doctors are saying. Dilated to six centimeters and in the final hours of giving birth is not a time to be asking for a translator. Once I fainted while running, and the ambulance doctor kept saying, “Bouge pas!” (“Don’t move!”) as I wrestled to sit up while he was taking my blood pressure. Alone and terrified, I thought he was saying “bougie pas,” which translates, sort of, to “no candles.” Point made.
With energy to burn, Zola and I dashed out to an invite-only cocktail party at the Armani boutique on the coin (“corner”) of boulevard St. Germain and boulevard Raspail. Never a bad idea to celebrate something momentous in a divine setting and surrounded by glamour and beauty. Honestly, I would’ve been just as tickled to loiter around a Greyhound bus station in Detroit for all my happiness, but you work with what ya got, right? Of course, I found it not at all difficult to pass on the champagne and still have a great time. Nevertheless, it should be noted, this is landmark HUGE for me, très shocking, since I think of champagne as one of my four food groups, the others far less glam, one being baguettes, another, tuna.
The tiny baby inside me had already taken h...
Top customer reviews
Funniness. And lots of it. Like her novels - I love the clever intelligent humor. And the goofy stuff.
Similarity. Maybe it's a stretch but I have gone through a similar series of life changes and decisions. I made a child-based decision to move from the city to the burbs. Very tough and I too miss cosmo city life like mad. But absolutely the right call...I appreciate the chance to relate.
Paris. She keeps making me re-love Paris!
A brave girl, a great talent and quite obviously a terrific, thoughtful mother. Make this a summer read!
I am originally from Wisconsin and found the Wisconsin bashing irritating. (For the record I have never worn a collection of sweatshirts as attire nor do any of my many relatives in WI. We are not enormous and have only worn a cheesehead as a joke.)
This is mainly a book about trying to be fabulous while pregnant and then as a single mom...and comparing Paris to Wisconsin. Wisconsin finally wins out, but only because Ms. Lobe cannot afford a comfortable apartment in a great neighborhood in Paris. There is a great deal of bemoaning how difficult it is to be a single mom...especially when in the cultural wasteland of WI. It's very repetitive and tiresome: chapter after chapter of complaining about being tired, alone, shopping at Target (horrors!), the lack of cuisine, the poor selection of men in WI, no longer having a perfect figure...blah blah blah!
I cannot help but notice that the author has become rather jaded in her second book. The delight the author had for all things Parisian has been replaced by hardness and desparation in the second book. It was interesting to see her idolizing of Parisian culture replaced with awareness that while Parisians are more beautifully attired and cultured, there is a shallowness and superficiality that permeates their world view and interactions.
The author of novels Paris Hangover and French Trysts, Lobe begins her tale in Paris where she has been living as an expat by way of Wisconsin-Tokyo-Manhattan for the past eight years. With her appreciation and vast knowledge for fashion, the arts and Frenchmen, she doesn't wait for any initiation and promptly places her readers at the scene of the famed French pastry shop Ladurée where her description of une grande meringue au chocolat and macaroons covered with creamy ganache are enough to cause an impulse airfare purchase to Paris tout de suite.
The fact alone that she is in a pastry shop seemingly wanting to devour more than just a petite nibble is enough to set the stage for her introduction to her life of a soon-to-be single mother living in Paris.
The narration that won readers over in Paris Hangover returns as she infuses a constant comparison of her American upbringing with her adopted and beloved new home, as well as omni-present appreciation for the opposite sex and a the Frenchmen's love of feminine beauty in all of its stages. But as her reality begins to welcomingly change, she focuses her love and adoration towards her son Oscar. And it is this complex struggle that all mothers have in some capacity or another that Lobe shares first-hand with her readers - the loss of your former life, however, fully and utterly devoted and in love with your child; an instantaneous lioness-like protectiveness of your child and frustration with those who don't understand it, at the same time realizing that prior to being a mother, ignorance was a very valid excuse admittedly made by the same said mother.
Ultimately, the conflict that must be resolved is whether to raise young Oscar in the City of Light or in her hometown suburb Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. And with a hard-fought argument for both sides and many lists in which she shares with her readers, holding nothing back (some may take offense, but I found very refreshing and true to Lobe's style), the readers will be left uncertain until the last chapter.
While I won't give away her decision, her goal on how she hopes to raise her child is based on her now Alzheimer's stricken mother who Lobe deservedly praises throughout the book - to be a mother who nurtures her child's innate choices and gives him the belief that what he feel is of value, unique and meaningful.
Lastly, mothers will find one, if not many, scenarios to commiserate with, and while Lobe's depictions are something to absorb for women without children, she blatantly points out that such a life is impossible to imagine until you're living it.
But for now, Paris, Baby! is a grand way to experience motherhood as it is full of laugh out loud worthy anecdotes, sincere insights and impressive flashbacks on a few of her single life experiences. In the end, however, you will still be able to savor your sleep-filled nights.