Virginia Mom and German Mom organized a playdate at the Champ de Mars Wednesday. They are very good and creative organizers. I am not. When I plan a playdate, I'm more like, "All you kids go in this room and play with this piece of cardboard and I'm going to go in that room and pretend you're not here." In popular terminology, I believe I'm known as a "slacker mom."
My lack of ability makes me even more grateful for women with the ability. Without them, my kids would have been playing with an uncooked spaghetti noodle on Wednesday.
There was a potato sack race --
The kids may look a little wonky, but I think we can all agree the Eiffel Tower has never looked so magnificent.
And there was a maypole, which Virginia Mom cleverly rigged up using a broom handle. I should start calling her MacGyver Mom --
There were a few maypole collisions. And that one kid is supposed to be a little girl facing the other direction, not a spider on a stick.
OK, now I'm going to veer seemingly off topic to talk about Lucien's karate instructor. Lucien's karate instructor is a real life Mr. Miyagi, except he's about 6 foot 4, weighs hundreds of pounds, is of German descent, can bench press a house and likes to uproot trees with his bare hands when he's bored.* When he's not teaching karate, he's an ultimate fighter -- that's that crazy sport with no rules. So he's just like Mr. Miyagi, minus absolutely everything except his mad skills and perhaps his ability to trick other people into doing his housework.
*He's also the kindest, gentlest, most smiley person we've met in France. I guess when you look like him, you can afford to be nice and kind to everyone; it's not like anyone's gonna mess with you.
Now I'm veering even more wildly off topic to mention the karate instructor -- I'm going to call him Thor -- is Alex's new personal trainer. Al had to replace his first personal trainer because First Trainer used to come to our apartment and ask, "So what are we going to do today?" He would then reluctantly agree to Alex's plan and go running in the Luxembourg where Al would run circles around him. Sometimes Alex couldn't even see First Trainer because he was so far behind. Nice guy, but perhaps not the most effective of trainers.
OK, bear with me. So Alex usually takes Lucien to karate class every Saturday so he can discuss workouts with Thor. But since Al was in Venice last weekend, I took him. I was able to watch the tail end of the class, the part where Thor pairs the kids up for some light sparring. They don't really land any hard hits or kicks, they just kind of circle each other practicing the motions.
As Lucien approached his sparring partner, he started bouncing and shuffling with his hands held up in front of his face like a boxer. (I later confirmed with Alex -- he always does this -- Lucien's the Muhammad Ali of karate.) Even though Loosh has yet to muster any real enthusiasm for karate, he's not half bad at his punches and kicks and can hold his own against the older kids. He also seems to be cultivating a style never before seen in the sport by pulling in elements of a completely different sport. He's a real trailblazer.
So back to Wednesday on the Champ de Mars. As we gathered up all the equipment to leave, a little French boy appeared on the scene. I should say a bratty French boy appeared, who immediately made off with one of our plastic hoops. Two of our kids went after him but sustained injuries when French Boy hit them with the hoop and ran away.
Lucien smelled a rival. He went after the hoop. He and the boy sized each other up, chased each other a bit. Lucien tried to grab the hoop but the French Boy ducked and weaved. Things got tense as the two little boys glared at one another. Then, slowly at first, I saw some familiar shuffling, some circling, some hands coming up in front of the face. I just barely said to Virginia Mom, "I think Lucien is about to do some karate..." when --
Ima dazzle you with my moves, boy!
Lucien sparred the crap out of that kid. He was in the zone. He circled and threw (light) kicks and karate chops, bewildering French Boy until he became so disoriented he let go of the hoop. Lucien ran back happily. I can't wait to tell Thor.
I love my Karate Ali,