the birth diaries, Victoria Jelinek

It’s the friends you can call up at 4am that matter. Marlene Dietrich

My close friend of 20 years has come over from London to help me with the baby while my husband is off to work as an accompagnateur en montagne.
E was a highly paid nanny for many years, working for an illustrious broadcaster and a journalist, respectively, before moving to another profession. 
Shortly after arriving at my door via transfer from Geneva, she exclaimed that she’d expected me to look like the crazy cat woman from The Simpsons, but was relieved to discover me showered, dressed, and composed. 

Fears for children

The biggest worry of almost all people in France is the pressures facing their children.

A staggering 91% said that their chief concern is the increasingly dangerous world of drink, drugs, bullying and playground violence that their children face on a daily basis.

Other concerns highlighted in the survey carried out for Observatoire Axa are: not enough hours in the day, time spent on household tasks, their own futures, dependence – either their own or the dependence of other family members – and health.

Half the country is wondering wether they would be better off abroad, with this figure rising to nearly 70% among the under-30s.

Interestingly, internet fears centre not on children's access to pornography but on the security of personal data online, which 82% say is a real concern.

aide à la rentrée 2013

The aide à la rentrée, or ARS (Allocation de Rentrée Scolaire) enjoys an increase in line with inflation this summer meaning children aged 6 to 10 years will get €360, 11 to 14 year olds €380 and €393 for 15 to 18 year olds.
This money is to help you with the cost of equipping your child for the coming school year.
So long as you submit your tax declarations in France, you don't need to do anything to receive this money which will be paid automatically into your bank account towards the end of this month.
But remember, if your child turns 16 during the coming academic year, or is already 16, you won't get the money until after the start of term and after you have sent an attestation de scolarité to your local CAF. Your child should bring this attestation home during the first few days of term, if not, ask at the school secretariat.
Your entitlement to this grant is based on your 2011 income, as declared on your 2012 tax returns. 
To find out more about education grants see