Letters to Max Feed

Keeping up with the Gille Family...

March has been a busy month for us. Honestly, it's been non stop busy-ness for us since the beginning of February. Where I was so tired at the end of February, now I am used to all this non stop action I don't think I can sit down and do nothing when I have free time. I had my first weekend off last weekend. The kids went to visit their grandmother while Julien was away over the weekend. An entire weekend to myself! I didn't even know what to do with myself. I got motivated to buy some new running shoes to try to get back into running again and while I was walking around the Parc de Bercy I decided to go see a movie. I actually really enjoy going to the movies alone. Not that I have time to talk to anyone during the movie I do miss not having someone to talk to about the movie afterwards. I saw The Hunger Games. I have to say that I really, really enjoyed it. I felt like it was true to the book. They left out some of the side story details that really didn't change anything from the main story line but I felt like the actors they chose for the main characters were spot on. Yes, even Woody Harrelson. If you're intrested in seeing this movie I recommend reading the book first and then going to see it. It's a short read and I put it away in two days.

After having the weekend to myself, I spent some time cleaning the apt and trying to sleep in but I was unsuccessful. I woke up everyday at 8am. Where I was once a champion at sleeping in now I can rarely sleep past 8:30am. Kids will do that to you... it's not so bad, I get a lot done before noon now. :)

I had time to edit some photos that I had taken of Alixe from our previous Monday together. I love spending time with just her. I can tell she needs one on one time with Julien and/or I. We spent a lovely Monday together even if it did include getting a vaccination which she didn't even cry about. Such a big girl.

She was willing to sit for the camera today...

Maximilien turned five this month. I can hardly believe it. It was such a sweet day to remember becoming a mother. Holding Max for the first time in my arms and feeling the joy I felt when he finally arrived. He made me a mother.

Aimee & Maximilien

Who has the best cheeks ever??

 

Happy birthday to you, Maximilien!

Maximilien loves Transformers and BeyBlade tops right now. He is into Miyazaki films especially Totoro and Ponyo. He thinks his new tennis shoes make him run fast but not as fast as his Iron Man shoes he got from his Halahboji. He loves to ride on the back of my bicycle and he now insists climbing onto the bike himself. He loves to draw and write. He is learning to read. He tells me that he will always love me and that he won't stop giving me kisses until he's at least 35 years old.  His words exact.  He loves to race and play tag.  He is a joy to be around. Oh, he is always singing...

Les Mysterieuse Cités d'Or by Maximilien from PutYourFlareOn on Vimeo.

We had a lovely visit from my brother and his girfriend, Lauren right before Max's  birthday.  Not to put the pressure on the rest of my family but Max has been asking when everyone else is going to come visit. He especially loves sharing his daily life with his extended family. Looking forward to seeing more Osbourns this year.

Saying goodbye to Harrison and Lauren. Thanks for the visit! We will miss you. Cc: @laurendmeyer

Something happened to Alixe last week which I plan to write about in another post. It was rather serious and scary. It will take me some time to put to words all that happened. She is alright. She is back to normal, sassy self.

I started writing this post in March and today it's April 1st. Tomorrow will mark four years since I opened L'OisiveThé for business. I have been refleting on that all weekend and hope to find some time to write down my thoughts and goals for the future of L'OisiveThé.

 

 


Maximilien & the chicken pox

It's a rite of passage. Growing up I remember many of my friends getting the chicken pox. I remember getting the chicken pox.

I don't remember the chicken pox being like this.

Last Tuesday I was called by an assistant at Max's day camp to tell me that he had a temperature and asked if I could come and get him. I worked the lunch service at L'Oisivethé and ran over to get him in the early afternoon. Max was passed out in a feverish sleep in the dormitory. The assistant told me they found one spot on his belly that looked suspicious. I brought Max home and we hunkered down to rest.

The next day he was still feverish and two more spots appeared on his back. Small, blister like. I made an appointment to see the pediatrician that evening. She confirmed that Max did indeed have the chicken pox and she prescribed the usual creams and antibacterial wash to treat the chicken pox.

The next day we started the treatment. This was day 3 of the chicken pox:

Treatment

Treatment

Treatment

From the beginning of day three to the end of day three, Maximilien's chicken pox progressed fast:

Chicken pox progression

And then on to day four:

Day four of the chicken pox

Max started having problems with his left eye. There was a pox that came out right on the edge of his eye lid that had opened up and infected his eye. We scrambled to find an eye specialist on the Friday after Bastille Day that would see Max. We called 12 doctors. Note to self, getting sick the weekend around Bastille day is not a good idea. All doctors are on vacation!

I couldn't bring myself to photograph day five and six. Looking at Max was painful for me because Max was so miserable and all he wanted to do was stay in bed all day. The pox stopped appearing around the fifth day and he has quickly started to heal. Our daily mantra now is don't pick your scabs, Max! He's been doing a very good job. No scabs picked. Pretty tough for a curious four year, if I say so myself.

This is what Max looks like today:

Day six of the chicken pox.

Day six of the chicken pox

Day six of chicken pox

Today was the first we've ventured out of the apartment. It was nice to get out and stretch our legs. Now it's time to be careful not to get too much sun on his face and hope there aren't any scars. We stopped by the pharmacy to pick up some cream for Max's face and the pharmacist remarked, "dis donc, il était gâter votre fils". Max was spoiled by the chicken pox (ie. many spots on his face). The French always have a way of with words, don't they?



6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

The last seven shots on my series of 12 shots of Alixe. Each one is so very Alixe. Her personality shines in every one of these shots. These were taken with my D200 with my 50mm f1.8 lens and my SB-600 lens. They are straight out of the camera.

My girl and her many faces...

Laughter:

6 :: 12

Joy:

7 :: 12

Curiosity:

8 :: 12

Determination:

9 :: 12

Dou Dou:

10 :: 12

Love:

11 :: 12


ADORABLE:

12 :: 12

12 faces of Alixe. 12 faces I adore.


Life

My life is full. I am grateful to be able to type this and realize it at the same time. Last week, my husband's grandmother passed away after living a full life. I am grateful that my children were able to spend time with her in their way. Though Alixe will not remember her we will try our hardest to keep reminding Maximilien and Alixe about Mamé. It's nothing like losing someone you are close to to make you really stop and think about life. The same week that Mamé passed away a friend of Julien and I's was killed in car accident in Brazil. Hughes and his wife, Andrea, were lost in the accident and their 2 year old son is in serious condition and still in the hospital.  A blog post was written about him by one of his photography friends.  I've known Hughes almost as long as I have lived in Paris.  I remember a conversation we had the last time I saw him at my tea house. We were talking about photography and how in the moment the photo is taken that memory will stay with us for a lifetime. It's so very true. I don't ask myself why I am taking all these photos all the time. The happiness I feel looking at them days, months, years after the fact is reason enough.   I have these moments when I just need to grab my children, hold them close, nestle my nose into their necks and breathe them in. Remembering that moment. Trying my hardest to etch every emotion and feeling into my mind.

After all the loss we experienced then Maximilien's 4th birthday came. My baby is FOUR YEARS OLD. I still wonder how this has happened so fast. I can still feel him kicking me in my belly sometimes. Is that weird or normal? I look at baby photos of him...

Four years ago today I became a Mother.

Four years ago, he made me a mother. I remember it like it was just yesterday. And oh, how he has changed...

He really isn't into the camera these days...

 

He's such an inquisitive little guy. Very funny too.

He makes up stories and songs. He's very, very good at drawing and coloring. Budding artist? Perhaps.

Keeping busy

You can see that he is a happy, happy child. He has the joie de vivre for sure.

And Alixe chased after him...

Max is sweet and caring. He holds the door open for people in our building. He says thank you to the cars that stop for him so he can cross the street. All the teachers and administrators at school know who he is. He hugs his teacher every morning.

Something new that Max has been thinking about is me as his Mommy. He realizes that I have friends and relationships with other people other than just Daddy and Alixe. He asks me if when I'm at the tea house if I am still his Mommy? Or if after we have a fight and then make up he asks if I am still his Mommy when I am mad. Happy, sad, mad... no matter what I tell him, I will always be his Mommy. Forever. "Foreva?" he asks.  And I respond, "Yes, of course. FOREVER. He sticks out his pinky and asks me to pinky promise. We do and then he tells me that he loves me T H I S   M U C H and he holds his arms out as wide as he can. My heart swells to epic proportions.

These are the moments I never want to forget.

As much as Maximilien loves his Mommy, I think that he may love his sister more and vice versa. Alixe adores her brother.

She adores her brother

 

 

These two are a pure joy to see together.

 

Siblings

Alixe started walking shortly after the beginning of her 14th month. She just decided to get up and walk and boy, did she! No stumbling around to cruising for her.

Alixe's first walk at the park

As much as I find parenting a girl different than parenting a boy, I never thought for a second that such a little girl could teach me so much about myself. Alixe on a daily basis is a constant exercise of patience for me. She has a very strong personality. My father says it's the Osbourn in her. Maximilien is a mini Julien. Alixe is a mini me.

Apparently she is the bruiser in her class at the creche but someone finally fought back...

My father said something to me that struck true. I asked him if I was like Alixe when I was her age. Temper tantrums. Very clear about what she wants. LOUD. My father said to me that if I was like that my mother would never have stood for it. I know what he meant because I don't stand for this behavior.  Just tonight, Alixe and I had a face off, literally, I was in her face telling her to calm down and she just stopped, stared at me and wouldn't back down. And if anyone who knows me knows I can be stubborn, I wasn't going to give in to this little girl. We sat on the floor staring at each other until Alixe finally gave in, leaned in and fell into my arms for a hug. And in that moment all my frustrations melted away as my heart exploded with love.

I put my kids to bed tonight taking time to play and snuggle them. I hope that maybe they will remember these moments when they are older as I remember my mother coming in to check on me while I slept (or lay with my eyes closed). How she would cover me up and I would hear her say sleep well in Korean.  Her voice very clear in my mind even today.


New beginnings...

I've been thinking about what to do about this blog. I have had some sort of blog under the name of PutYourFlareOn for nearly 8 years now. EIGHT YEARS. This blog has seen me through my move to Paris, the first years of my marriage to Julien, my first job in France, my mother passing away, the birth of my first child, the opening of my own business & the birth of my second child. With each passing event in my life I found that I blogged less and less. Every time I think about stopping I feel a tinge in my heart as to say "don't do it". I get a lot of pleasure reading old entries and remembering moments long forgotten. 

I intend to keep blogging. I'm just not sure in what capacity yet.

Alixe is one now. She had her birthday on December 1st. I can't even express the joy she brings to my life and how much she has made me realize how important a daughter is to a mother. Even at 12 months she teaches me things about myself that I didn't know. Through the good and bad I am grateful to have her in my life.

Happy New Year!

Part of the reason I haven't blogged much in 2010 is Alixe. The addition of the second child into our life wasn't as seamless as I thought it would be. I honestly didn't realize how difficult it would be juggling it all. Several things in my life were just put aside because it wasn't important. The first six months after Alixe was born I was in true survival mode. Surviving the waves of emotions I felt everyday, the depths of depression I felt every moment of the day while caring for a newborn and a toddler. I felt resentment, anger, sadness, grief and massive fatigue. Though I can't remember much of what went on the few months after Alixe was born I know that I wouldn't have been able to make it through unless Julien was there to help me. I reflect back to that time and it seems so long ago. The memories of that dark time are starting to fade and to be honest I am glad to let them go.

It is amazing to me still the difference between my children. First of all they look very different (which I love) and they act very different. Where Maximilien was brusing through toys, Alixe is gentle and very delicate in the way she plays. Alixe is already starting to talk when at this time Max was ready to walk. They eat differently.  Alixe cries a lot more than Maximilien ever did. Max slept (and still does very well) and Alixe just doesn't sleep.

The weeks leading up to Alixe's birth I had insomnia and would stay up late reading blogs from other mother's about their experience adding a second child. Some were positive, some were negative... in the end they painted a picture for me of how things could be for me. And now looking back I should have been knitting more instead of reading those blogs. 

Now that 2010 is over I feel a weight has been lifted. I feel excited for 2011 and the projects I have planned for our family and myself. This is going to be a different year for us. A new beginning. There are no new babies in our future instead lots of plans to nurture and play with our two lovely children. I have plans to expand the tea house business. I also have plans to travel this year. And finally I have plans to care for myself. I feel like I have been taking care of everyone else this past year and now its my turn to take care of myself.

Reflection

Let's not forget about this guy. My little guy. Carrying him home last night at 4 am, he felt so big. I smelled his neck as he nuzzled in close to me. He smelled of baby lotion the same that I used when he was baby.  Max will be 4 years old in March. FOUR. I look at this photo and still see his baby eyes looking at me.  Maximilien is in the midst of new beginnings as well. He started school in the fall of 2010. He's testing his boundaries and learning patience around his little sister. He has never once shown any jealousy towards her and this is a true testament to his loving and joyous nature.

Happy New Year!

Here's to 2011, a year of new beginnings... I hope the new year brings much happiness to you.


Two Years

Dear Max,

You are two years old today. Typing this out makes me pause for a moment and think back to your birth day. I remember not being about to sleep at all the night before. Knowing the day you were going to come into this world had been a comforting thought. I was excited for your arrival and sleep was the last thing on my mind. The end of my pregnancy wasn't the typical count down to your predicted due date instead it was like me being 6 years old again counting down the days until Christmas. You, of course, being the best gift I've ever received. I can remember clearly the day I brought you home. We hadn't bought a car seat for you yet so your Dad drove home my luggage and your bags while I walked you home from the clinic in the stroller. Looking down through the window in the canopy you looked so tiny. Today, you can turn and reach your hand up to mine and the days of being a stroller baby are rapidly coming to an end.

The day I brought you home, I remember riding up the elevator with you snuggled in my arms. You were awake and very alert. You were taking in all the new surroundings. I paused at our front door and told you, "welcome home, my son". Today, you know how to use the key to unlock the door to our building. You dash over to push the button to call the elevator. When we arrive at our door, instead of me being the one opening the door for you, it is you that demands to be the first one in.

Last night, I picked you up early from the Créche so we could go kick dirt together and chase pigeons in the park. "Bird" and "Tree" and "Woo woo!" (for dog) are a few of your favorite words. I stood back and watched you run, trip, pick yourself up and go again. My big baby is becoming a big boy. I ran after you so that I wouldn't miss a moment of our afternoon play date. Know that I will always be running after you, my son. We fell asleep in Mama and Daddy's bed tonight, you wrapped your little arms around me and hugged me. Patting my back and holding me tight as you fell asleep. The grip loosened and I snuggled you close.  I whispered in your ear that I'll always be here for you because I am your mother.

I try to remember my life before I became a mother and it's all starting to become a blur.  Being a mom to these past two years has really shown me that I have found my path in life. I am grateful for this gift you have given me, Max.


2 years of Maximilien from PutYourFlareOn on Vimeo.

I made a little photo video for your birthday and it was such a pleasure because each photo took me back to the day each moment was captured. One photo for each month of your life. With Shel Silverstein singing one of my favorite poems of all times.

Maximilien, you are loved. Your father and I are so blessed to have you in our lives. Do you know that every night before we head to bed we go into your room and watch you sleep? Smiling, we watch you as you dream... the love we have for you washing over us ten fold.  Never in a million years would we have thought that we could love someone as much as we love you.  

Happy, Happy Birthday my boy... 

Love,

Mama


12 mois

Dear Maximilien,

Today, you are one years old. A year ago at this moment I sat in my hospital room looking at you sleeping in my arms feeling scared. Today, I feel comfortable in my new role and embrace it full everyday.  Last night after you went to bed, your father and I sat and talked about about how it's been a year already since you were born. We both couldn't believe how fast the 12 months had passed.  I can't explain to you the happiness that you've graced me with your existence, Max. It is so much bigger than anything I could ever dream of. 

 

Mmmm, bread.  ..Peek..

The last few months you've really been showing off your personality. You are to me the happiest baby I know. You are always smiling even when you're sad. You are like your mother in that you change your mood at the drop of  a hat.  One moment you're happy the next, you are frustrated. Then you will be sad and then very zen. You'll make a face and then you will be affectionate.

8  11
3

Though you can not speak yet, your expressions speak loud and clear.  You can express yourself verbally. You say, "hello" and "ba ba" for goodbye. You say "door" when we are getting read to go out.  Of course, you say "Ma Ma" and "Da Da". And I think today you said "shooo" as I put on my converse today. You amaze me everyday. Just today, you did something you've never done before. We went to get you your first pair of shoes. You will be walking soon and your nanny has requested that you have proper walking shoes. She intends on getting you up and going on those two legs of yours. We went to the store and tried on two pairs of shoes.

Oh, show me the attitude...   I am pretending that you are not taking my photo, Mama.

The first pair didn't bother you at all. The second pair caused you to throw yourself down on the floor and kick and scream in a manner that I had never seen before. As I sat stunned on the couch I didn't know what to do? Either to get my camera and take a photo (it was almost comedic the way you were acting) or start worring.  But this just shows me that you have a strong personality, Max. And naturally, I am intrigued. Will this be a preview of your second year of life? I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

I type this letter with a slightly heavy heart. Starting April 1 you will spend 4 days a week with your nanny. I will go back to work. I am at the same time excited to start this new adventure in running my own cafe and scared to leave you.  I have so cherished this last year because it was our special time together.  But I feel in my heart that you are ready to go on your own adventure as well. When I see you around other children there is a light in your eyes that I don't see when we're home together. Sure, you are excited to see me after each nap and when we play you squeal with delight. But when you play with other kids I see you suddenly in a different light. I see you starting to stretch your independence. And I know that I must let you go a little...

So many adventures we've shared in the last year... this new year of life will be even more exciting.

Happy Birthday to my spring baby.

Love,
Mama


 

9, 10, 11 mois

Dear Maximilien,

This is a letter than spans over three months of your life.  Busy is not the right word to explain the lax in the letters. Life is what happened.  But I want to be dedicated to writing these letters for you, so here we go...

For month 9 you were so very sick. The sickest I've ever seen you. You had caught RSV somewhere and for a couple nights there I was up with you all night long as we fought through your high temperature.  All this happened while we were in the US, far, far away from home.  Once we got past the sickness, you got back to your normal, happy self. You explored every inch of your aunt's apt and met a cat for the first time in your life.  You were enchanted. Chooni, our 14 year old family cat, was not so much impressed by you.  Though, I must tell you that one day while you were at your sickest she did come and cuddle up next to you while you slept on the bed.  She laid her head on your shoulder as if she felt that you needed some extra loving to get through the next few days.

Checkin' Uncle William out

You got to meet your Uncle William for the first time and you were fascinated by his animated gestures and his low voice.  Christmas eve, I was up late sick with a stomach bug, throwing up everything I had eaten for dinner. You were crying wanting your mama so badly.  Everyone in the house was awake now. How could anyone sleep through my dry heaving and your screaming.  William broke out the guitar and sang you a tune and you actually fell asleep.

He cleans windows free of charge.

Ah, sleep... this was something that was missing from almost your entire 10th month of life, my son.  You decided one day that you were no longer going to sleep at night. 2 am, where ever we were in the world you were awake. In the US or in France or on the plane flying over the ocean, if it was 2 am, you were awake. Screaming. While we were visiting friends in Pennsylvania, you didn't sleep once through the night. You could have taken some pointers from Rowan, who I might point out is three months younger than you. And she slept through the night.

The great binky heist

And while we were visiting our friends you picked up a binky habit. Now you suck your thumb and a binky. Rowan was even nice enough to give you one of her binkies so that you'd stop stealing hers. Also, on this trip you met your first dog, Lucy. She licked your face on several occasions which made for a good laugh for your parents. I'm not sure if you really liked it but you learned that if you held your hand out, Lucy would come over and kiss it. And then you figured out if I hold my baby mum mums out to Lucy, she'd eat them too. Now, you hold your food out for everyone to taste. If I don't crunch your rice cakes you actually get mad and hold your arm out until I take a bite. You even take things out of your mouth and give them to me to eat. Sorry, buddy but that's gross and I throw those away. I already touch your poop, you can't expect me to eat your already chewed food.

The Happy Family

Once we returned to France, we still had sleep issues. I don't know why I did not put two and two together but I figured it out about two weeks ago that you were going through a major growth spurt. And you were suffering from growing pains! It seemed over night your legs got longer and your torso became leaner.  Your pants that were too long for you a couple weeks ago now fit. You were able to pop your head over the kitchen table and no longer needed to stand on your tippy toes to reach the chickens in the kitchen. I massaged your legs everyday and we did baby yoga and suddenly you started to sleep again. No more screaming. Just beautiful blissed out baby sleep.

Maximilien

Look at you, Max... you are such a big boy now. I hold you in my arms and I close my eyes and try to remember the little baby you once were. It's hard as everyday you change and learn something new.  Here is something cute you are doing right now, I knock on your door after I hear you wake up from your nap and when I open the door,  you pretend you have a telephone in your hand and you answer the phone.  Also right now you are trying to walk. You put one hand on the wall in the hallway and toddle down the hallway after me.  Today you are chasing after me but someday I will always be chasing after you.

Today, you are officially 11 months old. I left you with the baby sitter and you were ok.  I went out and all I could think about was getting home to see you again.  When you saw me walk in the door, your face lit up and such love emanated from my heart.  You reached your arms out to me and I cuddled you close. I felt the weight of your body fall into me and I thought to myself, this is heaven on earth.

Happy 11 (10, 9) month, Max.

Love,

Mama


8 Mois

Dear Maximilien,

You are eight months old today.

Today, you are 8 months old.

I write that and pause to look at what I just typed and think, "Thank god we got through that month!". Needless to say, it's been a long month. Lots of things have happened over the past four weeks. Where shall I start? Your grandfather and Beck-ma came to visit you, you were baptized, you teethed all month and pushed through the biggest tooth I've ever seen in a baby's mouth. Now when you smile you look like you got in a fight and someone knocked out all your teeth. You started to creep and then crawl and now you are in crawling overdrive. It scares me. You pull yourself up to standing on everything. And I mean everything: your bed, my leg, our bed, dirty laundry baskets, clean laundry baskets, the washing machine, the toilet, the shower, the front door, the heaters, okay pretty much anything you can get your strong little mitts on you try to pull yourself up to standing.  and you know what this means? You fall down a lot. At first I was freaking out and following you all over the apartment staying within a few inches of you so I could catch you if you fell. But then my back went out and I thought he needs to bonk his head a few times and maybe that will teach him something.  Well, I've lost count of how many times you've fallen down and bonked your head. Now when it happens you act like nothing happened. You look at me like, "Stop, freaking out woman and pick me up so I can do it again." Yes, you give your mother the look your father gives me of, "I do whatever I want because I am French".  Like father, like son.

I tap my foot to the beat... this kid will be walking before he is one years old for sure!

Obviously, you want to walk. I get that. So, we got you a walker. And guess what, when we put you in it, you just stand there. And scream. Oh yeah, that is a new thing too, the screaming. It kind of sounds like you are saying, "Hey". But after 20 minutes of shrill baby heys it's not so endearing anymore. But we love you so much and a little (or a lot) of screaming won't ever change that.

Maximilien's Baptism

Your baptism was really fun. It was an extremely long day for you but you were gracious and smiled for everyone.  Nearly everyone on your Papa's side of the family came for your big day. You met your great grand parents, great uncles and aunts, cousins and more cousins.  Your uncle Benjamin is your godfather and your aunt Elizabeth is your godmother.   Both of your godparents love you very much and will always be there for you no matter what.  I know that your halomoni in heaven is very proud of you and was there in spirit supporting you for your big day.

Wondering what to do next?

As you become more adventurous you have become less sure of yourself. Your willingness to dare to try new things surprises me everyday  but as soon as you've pulled yourself up onto something new you look to me and cry because you not sure of what you've done.   You search for security in my arms and I am your mama and willing to give in to you. A mistake perhaps but you are my first born and with all firsts we learn the most important lessons.

So much love to give!

Happy 8th month!

Love,
Mama


7 mois

Dear Maximilien,

I'm a little late with your 7 month letter. It's been a very busy month and the weekend you turned 7 months old was the same weekend your Grandfather whom you call Halahboji and Becky arrived for your baptism.  Very busy weekend indeed.  You were surrounded by all of your French family and friends.  Your uncle Benjamin was appointed your godfather and your Emo Elizabeth your godmother.  It was a very lovely mass and you impressed everyone with your happy demeanor and you did not cry when the priest poured holy water on your forehead.  Instead, you gave him a huge smile and lit up the entire hall. I could feel the happiness and love radiating from the spot we stood, you, your father and me.  I knew right at that moment your halamoni in heaven was smiling down at you sending you her blessings of joy and love.

Comparing their techniques on eating French bread.

Aside from the baptism this has been a very big month for you developmentally.  You've started moving. All by yourself. All that time we spend on your tummy has paid off because I can officially say that you can crawl. It started out as a pose. You would pull yourself up on all fours and sort of rock back and forth. Not sure how to get to where you wanted to go. A few days later it turned into a scoot. You looked like a little frog jumping across the floor. And then a few days later you figured out if you shifted your knees one by one you'd actually advance and get to where you wanted to go.  This usually is either under your bed or towards the power cords to the halogen lamp in your room.  We have to get that taken care of. I can't turn my back on your anymore and expect that you will be in the same spot when I turn around again. 

You've also been very talkative this month. Your father and I don't quite understand what you are saying yet. You babbled "Goy, goy, goy, goy" a lot. Still trying to figure that out out. You definitely say "ma ma ma" and "da da da" and you still say "Okay". It surprises everyone who hears you say it. Most time you repeat it after I say it.  And I've learned that I say it a lot.

You have been here 7 months now and I haven't see the time pass.  I remember when I was 7 months pregnant with you that was when we found out that you were going to be a big baby.  Your father and I were looking at your big melon on the sonogram monitor when the doctor predicted that you'd be over 4 kilos when you were born.  Today you weigh easily 9 kilos, my boy. I've stopped keeping track.  For my back's sake, I'd rather not know how heavy you are. I just try to keep up with you.

7 months old

I am very proud to be your mother, Max.  You have a wonderful disposition. You smile all the time.  Even when you are sick or in pain.  I have to believe that I am doing something right because you are so happy all the time.  But I want to tell you that you have taught your mother so much about life and love.  I never knew love like this existed and I am finally learning to be more patient.  You have your moments when you are difficult but you know what? I can't remember those moments because all the happiness you bring to my life out shines every single one of those difficult times.  Who would have thought that a being so small would be teaching an adult of 30 years lessons in life?  And to think that this relationship we have has just begun! Oh, the emotion is overwhelming to imagine what will come next.

Love to my bébésaure,

Mamasaure (and Papasaure)
 


6 Mois

Dear Maximilien,

You are 6 months old today.  My days and nights of this last month have run together. Most day I don't even know what the date is. I am relishing this time with you because I know it will all change someday. We'll be on school schedules and maybe work schedules again. But for now, no set schedule is working great for us.   But there is one schedule we follow and that is your sleep schedule.  The day you turned 5 months old a wee little tooth made it's appearance. Then less than 12 hours later another one cut through. Those two little teeth threw your sleep and my sanity into a tailspin that we have just recently recovered from.  I'm happy to tell you that you're sleeping again. And so am I. And I must say that since I let go of a lot of the stress this sleep thing was causing, you and I feel a whole lot better. I just went at your rhythm though chaotic at first and now everything has regulated itself and you are sleeping again.

Looking straight through you

You're becoming so much more of a physical baby. Constantly grabbing at things within your reach. You even grab at people's hands if they are hanging within range. This has startled a few people on the bus but then you flash them a smile and they relax. I love how you are so loving with all your expressions. Anyone who encounters you on the street is utterly enchanted by your smiles.

I see the world differently now that you are in my life, Max. I look for quiet parts of Paris for us to explore. Just today we found a lovely new bookstore that I now want to take you to everyday so we can sit together and read all the wonderful books they had. The owner was so smitten with you she said to come back anytime. I've scoped out parks that I am anxiously awaiting to take you to play at. Today we go to the parks and watch the older kids play. You are curious about these bigger beings running around you. Not really realizing yet that you will grow up to be just like them. I watch as the other parents help their kids down the slide and climb the rope ladders and imagine you and I doing that.


He sucks his bottom lip

Thanks to you, Max, I've found my imagination again.  I guess I had grown out of it or forgotten but these days you can find me lost in thought imagining all the wonderful things we'll do.  Even now as I write this, I am waiting for you to wake up from your afternoon nap. Waiting so we can play tickle monster on the bed and read books and blow zerberts at each other.  I want you to know that I am having the best time of my life right now thanks to you.


Happy half birthday!

Love,

Mama


Cinq Mois

Dear Son,

You're 5 months old now.  I think I say it every month and I'll say it again, I can't believe it.  With every passing day you I see more and more of your personality shining through.  One thing that has remained the same from the very beginning is if you're not happy about something you sure do tell us. The loudest cry, the loudest scream. Loud enough to make the neighbors turn their heads as we walk by. But as mad as you get sometimes, you are just as happy or even more so. Your smile lights up my day and night.  Lately, you've become such a pro at rolling over it's almost annoying for your mom and dad. Just last night you rolled over five time in your sleep. Not sure what you were doing but some how you end up on your back and then you started talking to yourself. And then the shrieking came that told us that you've had enough and want to flipped over again. Back to tummy, you're not even trying to do that yet.

Sitting at his play gym

As I type this right now you are relaxing in your crib, talking with the animals hanging from the canopy above your bed. You sure are our son because you love your bed so much. Mama and Papa love their bed too. You even let us sleep in on the weekends sometimes though last Saturday night you were not having it with the sleep and wanted to eat every two hours. Boy, I was tired but happy to be there for you. Reminded me of our first month together and how we'd have our late night rendez-vous by the light of my computer screen. 

Kitchen utensils make the best toys

You have always been such an active baby since the day you were born. Kicking and waving your arms. Now you are grabbing things and waving them. Kitchen utensils are you new favorite toys. Why do parents buy toys when you can just give our kid a spatula? You grab your feet and letting them go with a force that shakes the changing table and sometimes scares your mama.  You have started having these moments when you're contemplating something.  You sit quietly looking hard at the kitchen plants or study your mama's face. You are always looking around and studying your surroundings. Learning. Assimilating. Curiosity has been your middle name this month.   Then you start to babble away and I nod as if I understand. This world around you has got to be so exciting, I look forward to the day you'll be able to tell me what you see.


Contemplation

I'm still kissing your cheeks like they are going out of style which for me they never will but just the other day you've started kissing me back! Be it an open mouth, tongue on my cheek but I'll take it.  It's such a sweet sweet moment. You gently put your hands on my face and as if you are pulling me towards you and you plant a wet one right there on my cheek. And you do it over and over again. Just copying what your mama does to you.

Just taking a break to blow some spit bubbles...

You are trying to nap right now and I went in to check on you and found that you had flipped yourself over again. You were crying. I picked you up and held you close. You  looked right in the face and barfed down my cleavage.  And then laughed. I wiped your face with my shirt because that's what your mom does and put back in your bed and you fell off to sleep. 

Max's grip

I sit here smelling of curdled milk thinking that I wouldn't change anything in my life right now.  You are the light and love of my life, Maximilien. Your father and I say it everyday. You have brought so much happiness to our lives we can't even begin to express it all.  Happy 5, big boy.

Love,
Mama


****edit****

PS. While playing in the park with a friend today you cried out for apparently no reason (so it seemed) and I saw right there that you had a tooth! This explains the last couple nights of late night feedings and sleepless nights. My stealth teether, you've got your first tooth today!


Quatre Mois

Dear Maximilien,

I haven't been blogging much lately because I've had my hand full with you. I don't regret one moment as every moment I spend with you I feel my life becoming fuller and fuller. We were talking yesterday while you were sucking your entire hand about how you've been with us (outside my body) for nearly 4 months now. Almost half the time you spent inside my belly.  And how thirty years ago this year I was born. And how amazing cycles of life are.  You gave me a full gummy smile that said you understood what I was saying and then you closed your eyes, sucked your thumb and went to sleep.  Every morning for the last few weeks, we have been taking naps together.  I always put you on your father's side of the bed but some how you always end up cuddling next to me. I'm awaken by your fuzzy little head rubbing against my arm and your cute little diaper butt crunching as you try to move closer and closer to your mama.

Our Naptime

You've become quite the talkative baby.  When you're in the stroller (which you sit up in now) you are always talking away often getting the attention of the people around us. You charm everyone with your smiles and you give them so freely.  It makes me feel so good that you are such a happy baby and already at this young age you are spreading happiness to others.  I know your halmoni in heaven would be so proud of you for this.  You're already making friends and I believe you're starting to notice that there are other people in your life besides your mother and father.  And just this week, you've figured out how to roll from your stomach to your back. This amuses you to no end. When you land on your back you're a bit confused and then you burst into laughter and then after a while you start to whine in frustration because you want to be on your stomach again. You hate laying on your back for too long.  Apart from a few accidental turns, you haven't quite mastered rolling from your back to your tummy yet. But I think you'll get it soon. 

This is what happens now when we put him to bed.

Last night, I tried to put you to bed for 3 hours and you thought it was a game and kept flipping yourself over again and again.  It wasn't until your father came home and he put you down that you finally went to sleep.  I take it that you love me so much that you'll forgo sleep to play with me. Well, it looks like your father is going to be the one to put you to bed from now on. I guess he's not as fun to play with as me. And you know what?  I secretly love that. He wonders what that says about him? You're going to have to talk to him about that later.

Mr Moony

Other than that you've been eating your hands and anything else you can put in your mouth for a few weeks now.  I have a feeling that a tooth might be making it's way down soon.  We call you our little escargot tout chaud because of all the bubbles and drool that's been going on. Or maybe you're really hungry. We'll see at your next doctor's visit if you're eating enough but judging from my back, it feels like you are.

Daddy and Max

So far this has been the most exciting month for you and your father. Not to say that your birth wasn't exciting but now you're  interacting with him so much more. Smile for smile. Laugh for laugh.  Your face is priceless when you see your father after a long day. You may be tired and cranky but when you hear your father's voice you get very, very quiet and open your eyes wide when you hear his footsteps in the hallway.  Then it's an explosion of laughter and smiles and sweet, sweet cuddles.  It is so obvious that your father is your main man.

I hope that I can keep up with these letters every month.  Blogging every week is hard enough but I think I can do this for you. I know someday you will read these and think that I was a little crazy, which is completely true but I hope that you'll enjoy these letters and we'll be able to read them together and laugh.

Love you, my son...

-Mama


Trois Mois

Well, son.. you are three month old today.  You are an alert, smiley baby.  Everyone who meets you is enchanted by your big, gummy smile.  You enjoy playing by yourself now, you are curious and starting to reach out and feel the world around you.  This month has been a good month for sleep. You've finally figured out how to fall asleep on your own. We've been practicing this for a nearly two months now and I am happy to say that at nap times when I lay you down and fall asleep alone. Not sure how long this will last but for now you're falling sleep alone!  Well, almost alone. It's just you  and your thumb.  Your thumb has become your new best friend. You talk to it. You hug it. And you spend a lot of time looking at it.  Maybe we should name your thumb? You even try to talk with your thumb in your mouth. I have to say that your thumb is my new best friend too because now you're sleeping nearly 12 hours a night.

We had a little scare this month because you wouldn't poop. You went almost six days without a sign of pooping and we took you to the hospital where you did an impressive poop with the help from the nice doctor.  The great poop watch 2007 continued until today when you did the biggest poop I've ever seen. It was coming out all over he place. I put you straight into the sink and washed you from waist down. You acted like nothing had happened. But you sure were happy afterwards:

3 Months Old

So, you probably think your mom is crazy writing about poop and you sucking your thumb. These are the things that make my world turn right now. You are the most important thing that has happened to me. Time is going by fast, my boy... before you know you'll be kissing girls! Oh, wait... I've already caught you doing that...

Making out with Sophie

Meet Maximilien's new girlfriend, Sophie La Girafe.


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...

Love,
Mama


One month, already...

One month ago I looked like this:

Week 37, an impresive week.

The same day a month ago I gave birth to you, Maximilien. And you looked like this:

Brand New Max

A month later and now I look like this:

One month postpartum

And look at you now:

One Month Max

My life has completely changed since your arrival.  The first few days were tough. Very, very tough. I actually thought I couldn't do this mom thing.  In the beginning the emotions were high and the physical pain was strong.  My body has taken a shock. It felt lost and empty and I needed time to understand what was happening. All the while,  I looked at you in complete awe, Max. Wondering what to do next? But as time went by you started to let me know what I needed to do. I'm learning what your cries and coos mean and I think we're really starting to understand each other.  And I finally feel like, "hey, I can do this".  You smile at me now and blow the greatest spit bubbles after each of your baths.  You love to snuggle in my neck after I've taken a shower. You always calm down when you I play you Goodbye Stranger by Supertramp. And you fall asleep when I sing you Rainbow Connection.  It's in those quiet moments when I watch you sleep is when I learn the most about myself. I understand that I was made to be your mommy and that this is my path in life.  I also understand that you have a direct and special connection with my mommy and I see it everyday when I look into your face. I often see expressions that my Omma would make and I know that you are delivering special messages from her to me.

So, here's to your first month, Maximilien.  I hope I haven't annoyed you too much with all the kissing.  Your cheeks are amazing and I can't help myself.   Thank you for the life lessons you are teaching me, I look forward to what's coming next on our journey together. Oh, and thanks for giving your dad a break with the whole peeing during the 30 seconds you are diaper-less.  I know he appreciates it and I have to say I've never laughed so hard in my life the first time (every time) you did that.  And thank you for bringing hope back into my life when I needed it so desperately, I had no idea it had been missing for so long until you came into my life.


8:46am on your birthday, son

I'm sitting here at the computer reading my morning emails (something you will always see me do), sipping my one allowed cup of tea before surgery later this afternoon. It's Kusmi Mint Chocolate. A couple extra lumps of sugar for good measure, as my doctor prescribed.  I'm feeling you move around like you have done the last six months, re adjusting yourself. Trying to find space. Imagine in just over 5 hours, you'll be able to spread your legs out and stretch your full body while mom and dad look down at you in awe.  The impact you've made on my life is already awesome, I can't believe that I am going to finally get to hold you in my arms today. 

Your dad is still sleeping.  Trying to catch those last precious winks before we have to leave for the clinic.  I'm awake after a wink-less night, I couldn't stop thinking about you. Holding my belly, waiting for you to move one more time to remind me of this momentous period in my life. You obliged me all night long, giving me little tickles as I'd tickle you back.

I'm imagining all the places we will go and things we will do together. The stories I will tell you of your grandma in heaven who has been looking over us the last 9 months.  The laughter you will bring into our lives. The joy of just knowing you.  Happy Birthday, my son... today is your day. Mommy and Daddy are waiting for you.