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embêter

Embeter embêter (om-behtay) verb
1. to bother, to worry; to pester; to annoy; to bore

Also: s'embêter = to be bored

Expressions:
ne pas s'embêter =
to have fun
ne vous embêtez pas avec ça =
don't worry about it
s'embêter comme un rat mort =
to bored as a dead rat


Citation du Jour
S'embêter, c'est s'insulter soi-même.
To be bored is to insult oneself.
--Jules Renard

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A Day in a French Life...
I went to tuck the kids into bed the other night but discovered their lits* empty. Pushing open the door to my room I found two bedtime bandits burning the midnight oil.

Max and Jackie were seated au lit,* backs to the wall, pillows propped behind le dos* for comfort. A book and a magazine hid their faces from the nose down.

They had parked their pantoufles* bedside before installing themselves à la tête du lit.* The two were dressed in their pajamas; Max in a green and blue plaid ensemble and Jackie in pink from head to toe. A faint scent of bubblegum-flavored toothpaste pervaded the air.

My kids had remembered to turn on the reading lamps atop the tables de nuit* and not the bulb hanging from the ceiling, the one that's shaded with Japanese rice paper for the time being (for the past four years to be exact).

When my little Franco-American bookworms did not crumble into a fit of giggles at the sight of me (as they usually do when I have caught them ditching dodo*) my brain tangled in confusion.

I approached the bed, sure that they'd break down, giving in to the guili guilis.* Preparing for the attack--my fingers curled mid-air and ear level--I approached the readers who remained as nonchalant as when I'd appeared two minutes earlier. When the kids didn't react, my arms froze before dropping to my sides; my shoulders followed suit. Silence.

When I barked like a dog the literati briefly looked up, only to raise their books eye-level, the slightest hint of irritation on their faces. I saw that Jackie was reading a paperback entitled "Max embête les filles" ("Max pesters the girls"). Her brother read the June issue of his favorite soccer review, "Super Foot Mag".

It occurred to me that I might be the dupe of Camera Caché*--that, at any moment, a director would pop in to the room (via the open window) and reveal to me that this was indeed une blague.*

When the camera crew failed to leap over the window frame, I sat silent thinking about the power of words and the joy of reading--witnessing the spell that so many letters, strung together in a line, had cast over my children.

Next, I pulled up a book from the leaning tower beside my bed and remembered the old adage:

Si tu ne peux les battre, rejoins-les. If you can't beat them, join them.
And so I did.

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*References: le lit (m) = bed; le dos (m) = back; la pantoufle (f) = slipper; à la tête du lit = at the head of the bed; le dodo (from "dormir" "to sleep") (m) = (childspeak for bedtime); le guili-guili (m) = tickle tickle; Camera Caché = Candid Camera; une blague (f) = a joke, trick

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Words_in_a_french_life Words in a French Life: "...a heart-winning collection from an American woman raising two very French children with her French husband in Provence, carrying on a lifelong love affair with the language."
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