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May 2007

Shouldn't I be doing something else besides blogging?

In just over three hours we'll be packing up the car and heading to Charles de Gaulle to fly out to Philadelphia and then to Newport News, Virginia where my aunt lives. Oh, did I mention that I'm flying with Maximilien alone. Julien is super busy at work and with the new job that started in March he doesn't have a lot of vacation accrued.  I'm a little nervous. I am hoping that he'll be the baby that everyone marvels at on the plane because he's so quiet. Sometimes he's like that. Sometimes he's not. On verra...

Our bags are packed. I laid in bed last night thinking about things I could have possibly forgotten. I'm not too worried I can just run out to Target and get a new whatever it is we need. I love Target. I could live at Target. If Target could have babies, I'd have it's babies in a heartbeat (Hi, Kim!). Oh Target... oh, anyway...

But here I am blogging... just to blog. My aunt does not have Internet. She's 70. When asked if she had Internet she responds, "Internet, what is that?" I hear a snicker of a laugh in the background. Probably my Uncle Jim.  So, I won't have Internet for a week but I'll have Target. I think that's a fair trade for now.

Max is sleeping on his dad's shoulder. Julien is trying to pack in as much last minute time together before we leave. He is already imagining how Max will be after being away for a week. So much can happen in a week. A week away from Julien, just thinking about it makes me miss him already.

Enough blogging for now... I'm off to have a shower, down a coffee and prepare myself for my first international flight with a baby in tow. Am I nuts or what?

Stolen moments

Recently, we changed doctors because our last doctor had called Max fat during his two month visit and suggested putting him on a diet in the near future. She was cold and robotic and I wasn't going to have it anymore. We found that right across the street from our apartment was a office that had three pediatricians.  Three doctors that had gone to the same school, since I have no preference as to if Max had a female or a male doctor, I chose the one with the funniest last name, Dr. Lebas, and made an appointment. He was a cheerful, middle aged man. Serious at times but also very light hearted and playful when interacting with Max.  He marveled at how big Max was but that he was proportionate and not fat. And that he thought he was very healthy for his size. Score one for Dr. Lebas. He went on to play with Max as he examined him. Max cooed and smiled for the doctor. Score two for Dr. Lebas. Max peed on Dr. Lebas and he smirked and then pointed to a handmade sign from a child saying, "Please don't pee on Dr. Lebas". I liked his sense of humor. Score three for Dr. Lebas. We talked about our upcoming visit to the US and he insisted that we give Max his first found of vaccinations.  I was worried that we wouldn't have enough time before we left (we leave this Wednesday) and he opened a little refrigerator by his desk and took out the vaccinations to do right there. He assured me that Max would be alright in 48 hours and that he'd feel better if we did it right now instead of waiting until we got back.

I have never heard Max cry so hard. It made me well up with tears.  I held him in my arms as Dr. Lebas administered the shots. Feeling him fall into my neck after crying so hard, I carried him home.  Thursday night, Max slept in his crib. Alone and agitated. I slept with the baby monitor right next to my head and at every whimper I'd go and check on him. Friday night, he had a fever. I gave him doliprane and let him sleep with me. He woke up a couple times to nurse, for a few minutes each time and went back to sleep. Repeat Saturday night. And tonight, I just couldn't separate myself from him again.

I'm up at 2:27am, Max woke up for a little nightcap, nursed for a few minutes and fell asleep again. I scooped him up against my neck and laid him in our bed. I rubbed his back and covered him up. He balled up his little body and drifted off to sleep. I sat there admiring his shape and listened to his steady breath. And I reminded myself that he's only this small for such a short period of time. It's been over two weeks since Max hasn't woken up in the middle of the night. I had forgotten how much I secretly loved our late night rendez-vous.  The breast pump has gone un-touched for three days. I packed it up today with the intention of not using for a while. My body has re-adjusted itself to Max's feeding rhythms. Nature amazes me yet again. 

I sense a need to be around Max all the time. As he no doubly feels the same for me. Animistic or whatever you want to call it. For me it's completely natural. My mother-in-law thinks that Max has understood he has complete manipulation of his mother going on. Manipulation? At his age? I can't believe that. He needs me. His life depends on me as much as mine depends on him right now. And I give myself to him completely.

I was telling Julien tonight that when I look at Max I feel all this love bursting from him. I jump up and down and feel like clapping my hands when I think about it.  I am giddy. I am smitten. I love. Julien says it's time to share that love with another child. Um, let's think about that one for a while... OK?

For now before time gets the best of them, I want to enjoy these moments I have with Max. They will be gone before I know it.

KissableWhat are you doing?A little bird's eye perspective

The follies of a growing baby

Maximilien stirs an hour after I put him to bed. He whimpers a little and Julien goes in to check on him. He motions for me to come and listen to him breath. He sounds a bit stuffy. I lay him on the changing table and stick the bulbous booger sucker up his nose and pull out what is making him sound stuffed up. Max lays there content, half sleepy, half awake. I change his diaper and try to get his jammies back on him but I can't. Ever time I try to snap one snap at the bottom anther one at the top snaps open. When I put him in the pjs on him earlier tonight I was able to snap them shut. I give up and cradling him against my shoulder and Julien tries to snap the annoying snaps that are located right between the legs. As he pulls two snaps closed then two up top pop open. We laugh a silent laugh. He only has two pjs that fit him now and they are the ones that my sister brought him from the US. Size 6 months. Max is two months old. Next week, we're flying to the US, to the land of Target and Wal-mart. There, we will be able to buy jammies in all sizes possible. Let's hope between now and next week he doesn't grow out of his only two jammies left that fit him. Hehe.

Side note: It's not that we can't afford to buy pjs for our son, I find that French baby clothes are uber expensive for something he'll only wear for a very short period of time.  And I've found that pjs marked 3 months old really fit a 1 month old baby. At least that was the case with my chunk-a-licious one month old... maybe it's the big American genes but I find that French baby clothes run super small.

Deux mois

Dear Maximilien,

You turned two months old yesterday.

I'm squeaky clean!

The same day your mama turned 30.  We spent the day as a family at home under the blanket cuddling and being in love.  It's been a pretty interesting month, you've figured out that you can suck on your hands, though you prefer your left hand. Your dad is convinced that you are going to be left handed.  You've started smiling more, like all the time. You smile when you see me. You smile when you see your dad. You smile at strangers. You even smile when you fart. And I love that.

I am *so* in love with this guy who gives me my bath

You even smile on cue. You smile when we say your name and a few key phrases that your Emo Erin said to you for two weeks straight. Don't believe me? Check this out:

Maximilien: 2 months old, part 2 from PutYourFlareOn on Vimeo

You blow spit bubbles and love mirrors. There's another baby in the mirror that you hide your face from and when you look again you see he's still there smiling at you. You love that. You've started playing with your voice. Gasouiller as they say in French. You've started sleeping longer periods of time at night. Which has made your dad very happy but changed very little for me because I sorta miss our late night rendez-vous. Instead, I have late night dates with the breast pump. That's ok because sleep makes you a happy baby and we like happy Max.

These past two months have gone by rather slowly. I'm grateful because I don't want to miss a minute of this special time we have together.  I hold you all the time and hardly let you cry. You snuggle in my neck and give me kisses on my cheek. You are my sweet, sweet boy. How lucky am I to turn 30 and have you in my life.

Aaaaaaaaand that's a wrap...


Happy Birthday, MamaFlare.

Early morning birthday present from my son, after two weeks of sleeping 8+ hours a night he decides not to sleep tonight. It's ok. He was the second to wish me happy birthday after his daddy. I think he just wanted some quality time with mama before heading back to snoozy land. This will mean sleeping in beyond the 8am hour today. Yeeesss!

This is the start of my 30s. I love it already.

30 things to accomplish in my 30th year of life

I am 30 years old today. I can hardly believe it. 

A friend of mine who inspires me gave me the idea to make a list of 30 things to accomplish in my 30th year. So, here is my list: (in no particular order)

1. Make new friends.
2. Travel to an exotic place with my husband and son.
3. Make contact with my distant French relatives.
4. Apply for French citizenship.
5. Knit a sweater for myself.
6. Read Huckleberry Finn again.
7. Take an on-line course.
8. Make cupcakes.
9. Be a better friend.
10. Pray.
11. Decorate my son's bedroom.
12. Go back to yoga class.
13. Become a better photographer.
14. Improve my Korean.
15. Write a letter to my old best friend.
16. Lose 15lbs.
17. Visit a museum
18. Be the best mother I can to Maximilien.
19. Be gentle with my husband.
20. Drive in Paris (and I mean through a crazy roundabout).
21. Organize my desk (and keep it that way).
22. Re-design my blog.
23. Visit Lyon, France.
24. Laugh more.
25. Be more assertive.
26. Give blood.
27. Pick up my tennis racket and play tennis again.
28. Be more patient.
29. Print out photos and make a photo album about our family.
30. Make my mother proud. 

Sleep, where are you??

I've been trying to teach Maximilien the art of sleeping. He needs it. We need it. When he gets a lot of it he's such a happy baby. When he doesn't, the old man face comes out and then the scary baby.  I've been reading Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. Well, I've been skimming it and just reading the parts that pertain to Max. I've gotten to the part that explains how to get your baby on a healthy sleep routine. Even at this age they need stability or else they go crazy with over tiredness.  I couldn't understand why it was so hard for Max to get to sleep. I would notice that he was batting his ears and rubbing his eyes. For me that meant bed time. I was wrong. Bed time was probably about 15 to 30 minutes before the rubbing of the eyes and I had missed my window of opportunity.  When I'd try to sooth Max to sleep after he'd already been rubbing his eyes, it would literally take me two hours and sometimes longer to get him to sleep. It would have to be a combination of nursing and then fast walking up and down our long hall way (boy, are we glad to have that now) to get him to finally calm down. 

Sleepy, Sleepy... from PutYourFlareOn on Vimeo
May need to turn the volume up.....

A couple times I would notice that he would be in a rather calm mood. Not really interacting just sitting there with a very pensive look about him.  I would pick him up and rock him a bit, sing to him and POOF! He fell asleep. Those are the good days when I can catch his "pre-zzz" signs. The bad days are when we're out just a bit too long and I miss my window to put him down and then the screaming banshee comes out and I'm left walking up and down the hallway until Julien gets home where he'll take over because my back is killing me. 

My beef is how do we go out with Max if he has to follow such a strict sleep schedule.  Going out throws everything out of wack for him. He is sensitive. He does not like his stroller. He hates laying on his back.  He hates his car seat.  The baby bjorn is an option but it's hard on my back. He weighs 6.7 kilos (14.7lbs) now.  He wants to be held all the time. The latter doesn't really bother me that much because I LOVE holding him.  I know I'm probably making a mistake but whatever it's my first kid. I'll learn later. Anyway, if I don't keep him on his strict sleep schedule he will turn in to monster baby and not sleep and that means I don't sleep and I'll going crazy again. 

So, tonight I am trying something new. As I type this I put Max down in his crib and let him fall asleep by himself. I wound up his mobile and let it play. He layed there listening to it and cooing softly. After the music stopped he started to cry. I let him whimper a bit but it built up to the I'm-not-going-to-breath-crying and at the moment he did that my brother who I was skyping with says to me, "isn't it bad to let a baby cry like that?" He could hear Max crying through the wall over skype all the way in Seoul, Korea. *sigh* I hung up with my brother and picked up Max. Breastfed him, calmed him down and he fell asleep in my lap. I put him in his crib and he woke up crying again. I played his mobile for him yet again and would let him kick it out until he fell asleep. I forced myself to shut the door and let him cry.

And to my surprise he suddenly fell asleep. On his back. Oh, another thing, he only sleep on his stomach. I mean really sleeps. If he sleeps on his back he startles himself awake and then can't get back to sleep. So, there he was sleeping on his back. I had the baby monitor turned up and I waited to hear if he'd wake up. And he did. So, again I went to his crib, lowered the bar and sat next to him, saying nothing, rubbing his back and played him his mobile again. And I put him on his stomach and he fell right to sleep.

It's 6:45pm. He's been asleep for 15 minutes. Will it last?


7:00pm. Julien just got home. Max woke up crying as hard as his little body could. L'armes de crocodiles.   I couldn't resist I picked him up.

Ok, back to the drawing board, I guess....


Just wanted to add, when he finally does go down. He sleeps for 8 hours straight. But it takes us hours to finally get him down. I don't understand why it takes so long... Thank god, Julien is home... my back needed the break.


Nearly three hours after Julien got home, Max finally went down. He sat on my lap while I ate dinner. Julien rocked him up and down the hallway and he went down at 10pm. I'm obsessing about this sleep thing.

This is my life now. :)



I miss seeing movies.

If I can get this pumping of the breast milk down maybe someday soon I'll be able to go and see a movie in an actual movie theatre. After seeing this trailer, I'm setting myself a goal. I have to see this movie. I loved the first movie. This sequel looks like it could be even better. And it has Clive Owen in it. Clive. Owen. *swoon*

Cate Blanchette's "Well, well..." in this trailer totally puts to words what the Clive does to me. :)

On being Mom

My father just wished me a Happy Mother's day on the phone a few minutes ago (thanks, Ah-ppa). It's Mother's day in the US but not here in France, at least not for another few weeks yet.  It's so surreal to think I am a Mother now. I'm still getting used to referring to myself by this title.  Still getting used to making appointments for my son with the pediatrician. And introducing my son to new people I meet on the street.  I am pleasantly surprised at how natural being a mother to Maximilien feels.  All the fears and anxiety I had before his birth have disappeared. They carried over the first couple weeks after he was born but now that we've fallen into a rhythm, grown together and understand each other. The flow is good... Being mommy feels so good.

I remember thinking just a few years ago that I would have time for my mom to teach me how to be a good mother. Little did I know that she would be taken from me so fast and so early in my life. I believe that the natural mothering instict I feel now comes from this intrinsic fingerprint she left on me without me knowing.  I catch myself doing things she did when we were younger. They just happen. And I stop for a second and smile becase I know right at that second she is with me.  With my sister here we've been reminicing about when we were young. Remembering all the funny moments we shared with Omma. The sad moments, the hard moments, the love moments.  All these special moments we shared with her just felt so natural. My mother did things her way and didn't care what anyone else thought.  She mothered us the best way she knew, with lots and lots of love.  And that is where I take my lead each and every day.


Mother's Day has come and passed. I wanted to post this entry last night but I was too emotional to click save.  I miss my mother. I think of her everyday. Everything I do, I wonder if she would be proud of me? I think she would... Happy Mother's Day, Omma. I miss you.  Last night, Max slept for nearly 8 hours. I dreamt sweet dreams of my mom. It was so good to see her last night... now I'm off to pump and start a new day, just Max and me.


10 pairs of my shoes find themselves a new home....

I'm no longer a size 39 (size 8) anymore. The pregnancy left my feet a half size bigger. 10 pairs of shoes have a new home now...

The loss of 10 pairs of shoes... from PutYourFlareOn on Vimeo

I tell my husband the sad news and he says to me, "Let's get some shoes!" Ah, he *so* understands me. :)

L'etat de Nous*

Julien is on paternity leave for two weeks. Thank god, I need him!  Though, things have gotten easier in the past weeks and I am used to the breastfeeding, taking care of baby thing, changing diapers, bathing, etc... I am still struggling with the lack of sleep. I feel recharged after getting a good three hours but it's a faux recharge as soon after I feel my feet dragging and have a hard time focusing again.  So now that Julien is off work he's living at Maximilien and I's pace and I think he's realizing how hard things really are. But he is also realizing  how amazing and rewarding it can be too. Just tonight after two failed attempts to get Max to sleep, I gave up and took him to bed with me. I breastfed him and before I knew it he had been on the boob for over two hours. I'd say more like three judging how floppy my boob felt after I woke up.  When I fall asleep with Max in bed I call if fake sleeping because I'm not really asleep, I think my body lets me rest a little but doesn't let me sleep to protect Max.  Julien came in to check on us and I was cranky as hell and wanted real sleep. He took Max to the living room and I tried to sleep. Max cried for a while and I covered my head with a pillow and tried to shut it out so that I could give my two boys time together.  The mamas out there can relate it's hard hearing your baby cry. I had to hold everything in me to keep myself from running out to him. But before I knew it, I had slept 5 hours straight something that hasn't happen in a long time since we've come home from the clinic and Julien had gotten the boy to sleep on him for the first time. I could tell he was proud and happy when he brought him back to me so that I could feed him. He gave me Max and in a dazed state and announced he was off for a shower. This is our life at 2:30am. 

I'm really glad that Julien waited to take his paternity leave now. I think Max is more aware of the two people in  his life right now. Of course, he knows me but I think he's realizing there is someone else here who's just as equally important.  There is something in his eye that I see when he looks at Julien like he's putting two and two together:

Bath time on Vimeo

Just now as Julien laid down to sleep he annouced how he was looking forward to sleeping in. I laughed. Sleeping in? Yeah, right. He has no idea that those days are way over, at least for a couple years.  Funny how I can joke about it now but seeing Max's little face when I reach over to pick him up in the middle of the night makes me forget how things like sleeping in on the weekend used to be so important to me.

*The state of Us.