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October 2012
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December 2012

November 2012

Alixe, my almost three year old...

I can't believe that Alixe is going to turn three on Saturday. The last three years have gone by so fast in comparision to Maximilien's first years. What a joy Alixe has become as she grew out of her toddler years and now she is a mini school girl. In Petite Section this year she is the youngest in her class though she is one of the tallest. It's hard to notice any physical differences between her and her classmates. It's only when she starts to talk that you realize that she is a year younger than everyone else. Going to school has really changed her personality. Where she used to be sort of rough and tough girl now she is really attention detailed and into giving hugs and kisses to her brother and parents. Where it was always, "No!" as her first response. She now is always saying, "yes, yes, yes! and please and thank you. 

Alixe almost three

I feel like it happened literally a week ago while I was working the Marie Claire tradeshow. I literally didn't see Maximilien and Alixe the entire week then on Monday morning when she woke me up she was so sweet, rubbing my cheek, gently waking me up. Smile on her face and she told me how she missed me and was glad that I was home. Awwww... 

We spent Wednesday inside this week. It was cold outside and the kids were really just interested in lounging around playing Headbanz and watching tv. Alixe saw my camera on the table and asked me to take her photo. Who was I to deny her... I've been waiting for this moment to happen. She used to hide from he camera or I'd have to surprise her to get her to actually look at the lens but now she engages the camera and LOVES when I take her photo. 

Loving that she is the center of attention.

She loves the camera.

Now both my kids love the camera and I feel motivated to carry my big camera around with me again. Maximilien has always loved the camera and knows how to turn on his big smile when it matters. I love how these two are getting along lately. Thick as thieves... the other day I was tired and wanted to lay down and I ask them to go play house in their bedroom. They were so cute that I didn't actually manage to take a nap because I ended up listening to them play nicely together for nearly an hour. Ever so often they would fall into a fit of hysterical laughter with Alixe shooshing Max because they thought I was sleeping. It was music to my ears.

Alixe & Maximilien, November 2012

Solitary Mama

One thing that has always struck me hard since I moved to Paris is the sometimes overwhelming feeling of lonliness. I don't know what it is about this city but I often find myself feeling very alone. Nowadays, there are always people around me. I spend everyday working at the tea house surrounded by my customers and yet I feel very apart from everyone one of them. The only time I really don't feel alone is when I pick my kids up from school. Anytime I spend with my kids I never feel alone... I mean literally I can't go to the bathroom alone but just being around them and doing things for them makes me feel better. 

Anyway... today I spent the entire day working to prepare for my up coming tradeshow. I was feeling distracted all day and it was fine until two mothers that I know from my kid's school came into the tea house with their kids. The kids are the same age as Max and Alixe but in different classes. I knew both mothers seperately but didn't realize that they were friends themselves. I greeted them to get in a return a very cold, "bonjour". I wasn't sure if it was me misintpreting them until about 30 minutes after they arrived they asked me where my kids were? There was something in their eyes and the weird way they asked that made me feel, in that moment, very alone. I told them they were at the centre de loisir. The other mother asked with a sort of snotty tone why I would leave them at school if they could come and play at the tea house. I was taken aback and sort of caught speechless. This same mother and I had had this converstion about 6 months ago when she was alone and she had asked me (in a much nicer tone) where my kids were. I explained to her then that I can't work properly with my kids pulling for my attention at all times. Don't get me wrong, I love when Max and Alixe are at the tea house with me. They are there a lot but this week they are not because I have A LOT of work to do. But you know what? This woman doesn't care about that. I felt judged right then... and any explanation was going to be wasted on her judging regard. I snapped out of my silent stupor and looked at the clock and exclaimed with a smile, "Well, it's time to go get the kids now isn't it?". Grabbed my things, said goodbye to my employee who was closing for me and I rushed out the door. Good thing the cold air hit my face because I felt like I was going to burst into tears. 

Those two mothers have been equally nice to me on seperate occasions but together tonight they were rude to me. They kept looking at me over their shoulders when I worked and I wondered if they were talking about me. Now I know they were... 

What is with French mothers? Why do they do this me? This isn't the first time other parents in my kids classes have snobbed me. I over heard a father of a child in Max's class who never sees me except at the park tell his kid in French that he didn't want her talking to THAT MOTHER and he glanced at me just as I was looking at him. I don't think this man has ever heard me speak French. He only sees me after school with the kids at the park. I usually sit alone and only speak in English with my kids. He probably thought I didn't even speak French or something stupid like that... he was for sure speaking loud enough for me to hear him though. It's just so shitty. I hate this childish behavior coming from adults. 

Even taking Alixe to her first friend's birthday party where the parents and I have "known" each other for over two years because these were creche parents who kids now go to school with Alixe. I say "known" because they know who I am but they don't know anything about me.  I am La Maman Americaine. I am constantly referred to like that. I , on the other hand, don't know anything about them either because they never take the time to talk to me. If I make an effort to set up a playdate with the other kid it's usually their nanny that drops the kid off and picks them up. 

I  want to come back to the two mothers who were in the tea house today silently judging me. Those two women were able to make me feel so utterly alone in that moment. I don't know how French mothers do that but they do... One thing that drives me crazy when these two mothers come to the tea house is that their kids make the biggest mess. They play with ALL the toys at the same time and really don't pick them up before they leave. It's appaulling the messes I have cleaned up after them... chocolate cake smeared all over my books in English. Toys stuffed in places in the book shelf where they don't belong. Toys broken...  The list goes on and on... Obviously, they know it's me cleaning up after them. Is that why they leave my tea house is such a mess? 

I have to say that all my Mama friends here in Paris are anglophone. I tried to think if I had any french women who were mothers that I would consider a friend. Other than a few of Julien's cousins who have kids around Max and Alixe's age but they live so far away that we never have a chance to see each other really... so the answer is no. I really have no French mama friends except for one but she's more American/Korean than French. We speak in English together and rarely speak French to one another. I have to admit that I am surprised that it bothers me so much. I guess I have always had friends when working in past jobs and now that I own my own business I find myself feeling very lonely. I am not friends with my employees. It's hard for someone who runs such a small business to be buddy-buddy with their employees. I am sure there are some people who do it, I just can not...

So, here I am trying to distract myself from what happened today... I have so much work to do and all I can do is feel sorry for myself for feeling so lonely. It makes me wonder if this is how my mother felt living in Kansas. Being a young mother and Korean to boot... I know she didn't do things like everyone else and I do remember one time finding my mother upset because of some stupid thing some mother at school said to her. I was too young to really understand it at the time but thinking back to that memory today,  I completely understand her sadness.