Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Oooba Booba!

The last two weeks have been a little different, as the girls are staying with their grandparents, further south and west in our arrondissement, while their parents paint their apartment. Luckily, their father's family lives very nearby, and the girls have a commute that is about the same, though it runs through a slightly different part of the quartier. Yesterday, on our way home, C asked if we could stop at Monoprix to get a new notebook for her music assignments. She had 5 euros, and after finding a good deal on the notebook, she was hoping to buy them each a snack as well as one more thing, which she was very excited about.

She tried to explain it. "It's chewing gum, you see, but it's different. It comes out long and keeps going and going, from a sort of dispenser that's round. Do you see?"

I thought I did, but wanted to be sure I knew what to ask for.

She said, "I know the name. The name, it is called 'Oooo-ba Booooo-ba!'"

I looked at her. "What?"

"Ooooo-ba Boooo-ba!!! Tu vois?"

Ah, yes. I do see. I asked, "C'est comme du Scotch?" (It's like tape?)

Both girls were nodding and smiling, before turning back frantically to the gum displays. I started to giggle.

"Oh, you mean 'Hubba Bubba'."

C then dragged me to the checkout line, where she described said product (with me as backup to pronounce the name, should it be needed.) We were sent back to the same isle of bonbons, chocolats et confiseries, with no luck. We left the store, searching for someplace, any place, that would have the elusive gum tape.

Luckily, the local Presse (newspaper/magazine store) had it, at a steep 2.50 euros for one roll. With enough monnaie left to purchase viennoiseries for a snack, we perched on a bench and waited for the bus to take us closer to Grandmother's quiet 7th floor apartment.

"Ronica, tu sais faire des bulles?" (Do you know how to blow bubbles?)

I did, though it was a tough challenge to explain it in French. They kept trying, and failing, on the walk home. I reassured them that they just needed more gum, their pieces were too small.

Today, after returning from their sculpture classes at the Louvre, we had lunch, practiced piano, read and played computer games. Later, we went outside to the little garden, where the girls played and practiced again blowing bubbles.

I again tried to explain, but with varying levels of success.

P had a sizable amount of Hubba Bubba Citron (Lemon), and flattened it carefully, stretching it over the tip of her tongue. "Blow!" I said.

She did, and the gum fell from her mouth onto the grass.

C and I looked at it, looked at her, and burst out laughing. She said, "Ce n'est pas drôle!" (That's not funny!) But we assured her that yes, it was too funny! She was fighting laughter, too, as she bent to pick the gum out of the grass and pop it back in her mouth.

"It's my fault," I said. "I forgot to tell you that the gum goes between your tongue and your teeth, not on the other side. Don't worry, it happened to me, too, when I learned how to blow bubbles!"

Telling their grandmother, later in the day, about their attempts got her laughing as well, and she told me that she did not know how to blow bubbles herself, and thought it was kind of disgusting. (I agreed.) "But, for the kids, it's kind of fun!"

She said she didn't know how, because when she was a little girl, there was no gum or candy. She grew up in Paris during the Nazi occupation during WW2, and the first gum she had was from American GI's who came to donnent un coup de main (to lend a hand) and drive out the Germans. She had never tasted it before, and it was such a vivid memory for her--after the years of ration cards and hardship.

And here I am, over 60 years later, the American babysitter teaching her grandchildren to blow bubbles. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.



At 5:28 PM, May 03, 2006, Blogger kylie said...

oh yes. i'm trying to teach nathan and david the same thing. it's hysterical. the best is when i blow a bubble inSIDE of another bubble. they are amazed.

there hasn't been any gum on the floor (yet). :)

At 5:34 PM, May 03, 2006, Blogger MagE said...

Mrs. B...
you are comparing yourself to an american GI in WWII? blasphemy, I tell you, pure blasphemy!
Just kidding! I bet C and P's Grandma did not have such a lovely American giving her gum - I mean sheesh - they didn't teach her how to blow bubbles, what kind of a helping hand is that?
I seem to recall C and P being around a decade old... my niece - at 5 can show them a thing or two about blowing bubbles. Goes to show you the differences in what kids learn and don't learn in different cultures at different ages. I bet C and P Love Asparagus -especially the white kind. My niece will not put anything naturally green other than "trees", otherwise known as broccoli, near her lips.. sigh... what can you do?
at hear age I didn't go near a green bean or a asparagus... now they are all I love to eat. ok, now it's me who is being blasphemous... shame on me! Shame on me!

At 2:14 AM, May 04, 2006, Blogger barista brat said...

the whole ooooba boooba cracked me up.
i remember wanting ginger ale and no clerks could help me find it (i think i was in huit a huit). finally i located it and the clerk slapped his head and said. "ah - SCHWEPPES!" which i though was funny because right under schweppes it clearly says ginger ale.

At 8:37 AM, May 04, 2006, Anonymous Roxanne said...

Wow, I can't believe they didn't know how to blow bubbles! I guess I don't remember how old we were when we first had gum and blew bubbles, but I'm guessing it was much younger.
Neat story. I definitely remember the bubble tape.

At 4:00 PM, May 04, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have seen that gum and wanted to get it for Kristi's little girl Becca (5) She is becoming a very proficient gum chewer and beginning bubble blower! Fun to watch! Rainy here again today but promises to be a nice wkend at the lake....we will head down tonight as Jon has no scheduled mtgs on Fri(something of a rarity on any day!) He will take a vacation day....Look forward to getting more outdoor things done. Jenn came up last wkend and helped Jon put the dock in....Jaison had to work all wkend. They moved the bsns into a new bldg. It rained all morning but Jake loved it. I had bought him (and the two other older grandbabes) rain boots. He spent a lot of the time tripping and falling as he was so intent on looking at those new bright yellow boots! He stayed outside from 9-1 when I finally convinced him to eat lunch. HE LOVES THE LAKE! as they all do. It is a definite slice of Heaven. Take care Auntie B

At 11:28 AM, May 05, 2006, Anonymous Nikki said...

Our neighbor boys got the new kind of bubble tape yesterday, apparently it has pop rocks in it - as he kept telling his mom that the gum was biting him! Hee-hee!

Have fun with the bubbles!


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