We all stared at the baby, barely one month old. His expressive face told a million unspoken stories.
'He looks just like his mother,' I said.
'I used to think that, but now I see the features of his father too,' said Carol.
'I think he looks like an old man.' This was Allison, the sun-kissed host of the first summer soirée on the verdant terrace. We all burst out laughing.
Because like all babies, this was kind of true. The sparse hair, the lack of teeth, the needing assistance for dressing, eating and going to the bathroom. These words might give off the stench of ageism but if we are lucky to live that long, I imagine we'll all eventually be in some version of this state.
The best description I ever heard of babies was from Anne Lamont, who wrote - “Having a baby is like suddenly getting the world's worst room mate, like having Janis Joplin with a bad hangover and PMS come to stay with you.” Something about them keeping you up all night, eating all your food, and never cleaning up after themselves.
These days babies are definitely in the air. Two friends are pregnant. Another just had her second. One is trying. One is trying to find the guy to start trying. Another couple will adopt soon.
Not us. For now, we're pretty content with our bébé poile (furry baby). Charlie eats our food and doesn't clean up after himself - his hair is EVERYWHERE. Places where you couldn't imagine dog hair could get (in plant pots, on the window). And I did spend a month cleaning up his pee. So, I'm counting him.
In France at least, there is one thing that babies and puppies have in common.
They break the ice with strangers.
Everybody smiles and coos and says hello. I remember walking little Charlie and being stopped by everyone - especially giggling girls who went to the lycée nearby. One day we met a couple who just kept patting Charlie and rubbing his belly.
They had never seen us before, they said, Did we just move in the neighbourhood?
At that point we'd lived there for about 5 years.
I smiled. Yes. And it's really nice to meet the neighbours, being new to the area and all.