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Little Rewards

14/365 : Little rewards

After the crazy night Alixe put us through last night (6 hours of no sleep from 10pm to 4am) we got this today:

A REAL SMILE. And a laugh!

As much as I am tired and want to throw in the towel these little milestones bring me so much happiness and I crave them.

Speaking of milestones, Maximilien is pretty much potty trained now. He only wants to wear his "culotte" and we have to talk him into wearing his pull up at night for bed. He has done poo and pee outside of the house without any problems. And he wakes up in the middle of the night when he needs to go to the bathroom. This has been the highlight of my week.

I went to see the doctor today and got a clean bill of health. He asked me when I'd be having baby three since the factory is ready to be in service again. I just kinda stared at him and shook my head and told him to ask me again in about 5 years.

I'm disappointed that I am so tired these days. I had intended after seeing my doctor and him giving me the green light on exercising to get started on working to getting myself in shape. I can get into my pre-pregnancy jeans already but need to lose another 20lbs to be where I want to be. I had intended to start tomorrow! But I am too tired. My arms and legs ache from the fatigue. I have migraines and my appetite is poor because of lack of sleep.  So, instead I have new vitamin regiment to follow (to keep me from getting depressed) and I will put off my workout plans for a while.

I'm not feeling too sorry for myself though... Alixe is smiling and laughing! And Max is using the potty ALL BY HIMSELF!! These are the things I will think about when and if I get to sleep tonight.


Fatigue

12/365 - Fatigued

I think we are starting to figure things out with Alixe. It had been a long month and half since her arrival.

The time I spend in the shower is probably the most quiet time of my day.  And I don't get to take a shower everyday! I am sure the mamas out there can relate.

All I wanted to do today was go right back to bed after my shower this morning... wishful thinking from this tired mama.


In search of comfort

Jan 9 - In search of comfort

Maximilien was in a very melancholic mood tonight. He came back from spending the night at his Mamoo's house asleep in his stroller. That was a sign to me that he had not slept well at nap time today.

I transferred him from the stroller to our bed knowing very well that he'd wake up and want to be somewhere he felt safe. "Mommy et Daddy's lit" is probably one of the safest places for a little boy his age. He woke up in tears and clutched on to me for dear life. I just sat and held my baby and waited until he felt better.

Well, better didn't come and he started to cry and hold on to me. I decided that it was PJ and ice cream in bed time with Toy Story to keep us company. I fed Alixe put her in the swing and she fell asleep (for once!). And I had the rest of the evening to devote to my boy.

I've been transitioning myself into this role of mama to two. Frankly, I've been afraid to take care of both kids alone. Fatigue causing a lot of the fears inside me but tonight I just decided no rules, forget dinner and I asked myself what do we need? We needed ice cream, pjs, movies and hugs. Though, we did eat some broccoli before ice cream because Max loves broccoli like it's candy.

Taken from my Year in Photos at Flickr.


Alixe, One Month

Dear Alixe,

I'm a little late with your one month letter. You'll have to excuse me because I've been up very late every night for the past month partying with you. Yes, you... The baby who does not sleep. The baby we call Grunty McGrumpyPants. Or Vomita when you eat too much. You've had a very productive first month of life considering your lack of sleep. You met your brother, Maximilien, who is completely smitten with you. And you seem to be fascinated by your brother. You seems to really enjoy his stories he tells you after his long day at the creche. Often you are wearing your GrumpyPants and when he comes into the room and says, "Bonjour, Alixe!!!" your eyes open wide and stop eveything you are doing. 

Brown eyed girl

In all honestly, my biggest fear was that Maximilien wouldn't be prepared for your arrival. But in all reality, it was your Mama who wasn't prepared for your arrivial. I had in set in my silly Mama mind that you were going to be just like your brother. Big eater, big sleeper. You are a modest eater and do not sleep at all. Modest eater meaning that you don't pig out when I feed you like Max did. Though somehow you managed to gain 1.8 kgs and 4 cm in height. The doctor was shocked when I told her you were only a month old. Looking at you, you look like a four month old. But you act like a one month old in every way. Especially, when it comes to sleeping. But I'm learning to deal. I have come to terms that I won't get any sleep and not to count on getting any sleep if you are awake which is like most of the day. I try to busy myself by cleaning the apt and doing the endless laundry that you are happily contributing to. But sometimes I need sleep and these are the moments that are the hardest for me because this is when you want to be awake. We are trying a combination of co-sleeping, the five S's and lots of contact with Mama. And sometimes we get lucky (like right now!) you decide to sleep for a while. Everyone keeps telling me that this is a phase... let's just hope that is really is.

I am thrilled to say that you look a lot like me! I would hope so since you're my daughter and if you looked like your dad you'd be very, very hairy and I'm not sure that you'd be so happy about that. Your eyes are brown and you have a darker complexion than your brother. You have attributes that are very much yours but you also look a lot like your brother. Don't worry, your brother is a good looking kid...

Maximilien et Alixe

Maximilien (2007) and Alixe (2009), both 4 days old.

I am looking forward to the coming months of your development, Alixe. I am anxiously awaiting for your first REAL smile. Though, we've had a few smiles lately but they always precede a nice big fart so we can't officially say that you are smiling yet. But since you're so big for your age, you can easily hold your head up for several moments at a time. I put you on your stomach and you pick up your head with such ease. And often when when we hold you, you push up with your legs and stand a few moments with all your weight on your legs. One thing is for sure, you are one strong little girl. 

Jan 7 - I adore

So, lack of sleep aside... I'm so happy that you are here. I feel like our family is complete and know there are many beautiful (sleep filled) days ahead of us.


Hands

Jan 5 - Hands

Hands.

Maximilien is obsessed with holding my hand. I admit that I love it. I loving holding my son's hand as we walk together. He grasps my hand when we cross the street. In the apt, when he wants me to come and play with him, he grabs my hand and says, "Come Mommy, come with me...". When we sit together and read or watch tv he is always holding my hand. Since Alixe's arrival he's been having a hard sleeping at night. I think this maybe his way of saying to us that he needs a little more attention. Usually in the middle of the night he crawls into our bed and comes and cuddles close to me. He always takes my hands into his and says, "petite carresse, Mommy?". A little cuddle? I say yes and he gently caresses my hands and rubs them against his cheek like it's his favorite dou dou.

The funny thing is, I used to do this to my own mother's hand when I was little (and as a teenager and young adult, I admit). My mother's hands were the softest things in the world and always brought me comfort. When I'd lay with my mom, I'd always hold her hand and like Max, rub the back of her hand against my cheek.

I couldn't believe how quickly the emotions welled up last night. As Max fell asleep, I quietly weeped missing my mother. I miss her immensely but I especially miss the simple gestures like hugging her or holding her hand. Holding her hand was one of my most favorite things. And for this to be one of my son's favorite things to do brings me so much happiness and sadness at the same time.


Sleep

Jan 4 - Sleep

Ah, sleep. Such an elusive thing at our house at the moment.  But we're getting better at coping with the lack of sleep. It's been a huge learning experience for me this time around with Alixe because with Maximilien I didn't even have to think about sleep at all. He just slept all the time. Alixe needs help falling asleep and then staying asleep. But I see the light at the end of the tunnel and am learning her cues for when she's sleepy. And now that I am feeling healthier and stronger there's a lot of baby wearing going on.

I love this photo because a) she's asleep and  b) the cute thumb tuck she is doing. She's always done this since she was born and I saw a 3-D shot her her hand when I was in the US last summer and she was doing it then too. Every once in a while she'll pop her thumb out and it will find it's way into her mouth and that's even cuter. Maybe she'll be a thumb sucker like her brother. 

This photo is part of my Year in Photos that I am doing this year. May seem crazy that I would commit to a huge project like this but I feel like it's just what I need to keep my sanity intact. I try to find a moment in the day for myself to take my camera and snap a photo. I plan to print each photo from this year and make it into a photo book for myself. I will share bits and pieces of my year in photos here on my blog but won't make a habit of it everyday. I wrote a bit more on my January 1st photo the reasons why I want to do this. If you're curious you can read about it here.  But feel free to check out the set I created on Flickr of my daily photos of 2010. 

By the way, Happy New Year! I hope 2010 is starting off well for everyone. And I just realized that my daughter is one month old now! I owe her a letter. So, I will get working on that one. So much to write about and she had her first doctor's visit and you won't believe how big she is now. I'll share it all in her one month letter very soon.


The Fourth Trimester

Recreating the womb. Alixe & her 4th trimester

I had heard about this concept of the 4th trimester but didn't pay much attention to it when Maximilien was born. I can clearly see now how EASY he was as a newborn. He was pretty much textbook. Had his moments of crying when he needed to blow off steam before settling down for a good night's sleep. For a newborn anything more than three hours is a good night's sleep. For Max, I would have to wake him up to feed him or else he'd sleep for 6 hours if I'd let him. Alixe,on the other hand, doesn't sleep for more than a hour, maybe two hours during the day and at night (her nights start at 2am) she will sleep maximum 3 hours. And this is progress we've made over her first month! Before this she'd sleep for 30 minutes to an hour at a time and wake up and stays awake after that. She's the most awake baby I've ever met.

Well, you can imagine what toll the erratic sleeping of my petite fille has taken on her parents. Julien is faring better than I am since he can sleep through anything. I, on the other hand, am physically in tune with Alixe to the point that when she starts crying and I can hear it (not be in the same room) my breasts start to leak with the anticipation that she needs to feed. TMI, I know. :)

In the midst of desperation and massive searching on Google and asking on Twitter for any advice or new ideas I ran across Dr. Harvey Karp's website for his book The Happiest Baby on the Block. With in minutes of reading about his theories and the behavior of newborn babies, I held Alixe in my arms and was like, "This is my baby!". He talked about the fourth trimester theory and how some babies still need the extra three months of comfort, jiggling and constant noise that the womb provided for the first three trimesters. I immediately got my hands on the video and the book. Thanks to the reviews on Amazon saying that if you are sleep deprived the last thing you want to do it read a book so they suggested watching the video and complementing Karp's theories with the book later when you're sanity has returned. I've already read through more than half the book and so far we're making good progress on the sleep process.

Upon watching the video with Alixe in my lap, I followed along Karp's advice and techniques and IMMEDIATELY Alixe took to these manipulations. I have to say, the first time I saw him settle down a baby using the five S's, it brought me to tears. I simply couldn't believe it.  The five S's as Karp calls them or The Cuddle Cure. And boy, did they work! for Alixe Julien watched the video and immediately after wards took Alixe and applied the techniques and we were able to calm our screaming baby within minutes instead of hours like before. The first time we were successful of calming Alixe we looked at each other and felt like we were the best parents in the world. 

I now understand why my little girls needs to calm down and get herself to sleep. She needs a combination of swaddling, swinging, laying on her side, shushing and sucking. The photo above is her falling asleep with only the use of three of the 5 S's. This is progress because when we started the calming techniques she needed all 5 S's and she needed them loud and hard. Since we've started The Cuddle Cure, Alixe now can stay asleep for more than a couple hours during the day and at night she is starting to stretch her nights a little longer everyday. 

As I type this blog, BOTH of my kids are napping. Mama feels like a million bucks. Time for a shower and a second cup of coffee!

For those of you who are curious, the white cushion that Alixe is sleeping on is called Cocoonababy by Red Castle.


30 of 30 - The Belly

30 of 30 - last belly shot 30 of 30 - last belly shot 2 

Well, there you have it! The Belly. I just measured it and it's at 49 inches. Two weeks before delivering Maximilien I was at 49 inches. So, perhaps BB will be a bit smaller than Max but still she's going to be a BIG girl. I'm packed and ready to go. I'm just sitting here busying myself until Julien and Max get home from the Creche. I'm going to spend a couple hours with Max and then have to go check into the maternité. I'm scheduled for a 7:45am operation. BB will be here before 8am Paris time Tuesday morning! 

The little elephant in the photo is Max's bébé elephant that he's been carrying around with for over a week now. We found him a big and little elephant that he's been calling Mommy elephant and bébé elephant. Lately, he has been into comparing everything as petit or gros. Especially Mommy's bidon (belly) and Max's bidon which is very svelthe and petit, he makes sure to point out to me every day. 

Max is about to become a Grand Frere to his Petite Soeur. Let the baby adventure begin....


29 of 30 - Perspective

Thanksgiving 2009 (69 of 79) 

Here I am taking a break while my belly digests a belated Thanksgiving meal. I'm grateful for all the friends I have made here in Paris. They have become my family away from home. Friends that share a lot of the same values as I do and people that I just have a lot of fun with! We joked about how this meal would be my "last supper" before BB's arrival. Technically I can eat lunch before I enter into the hospital but after the dinner I had tonight I highly doubt I will be hungry tomorrow at lunch time. In less than 24 hours I will be admitted into the hospital and will have to spend the night before being prepped for my AM operation. I can't believe we're almost there...

   Thanksgiving 2009 (49 of 79) 

If you asked Maximilien where his "petite soeur" is? He will respond, "Mommy's ventre". I then I ask him who is "grand frere" and he points to himself and says very proudly, "moi!". I can't believe that my first born baby is going to be a grand frere very, very soon. He still lets me hold him like a baby and he still nuzzles my neck in search of butterfly kisses and calin from Mommy. Two more days until our little girl will be here. Last night I was up until 3am baking pumpkin pies and up at 8am this morning ready to go. Sleep is the last thing on my mind thought I know I should get some rest before the big day but I am too excited to sleep. I was playing the Mamarazzi tonight at the party taking photos of everyone. I felt like a million bucks. The adrenaline was flowing and I can still feel it now. So, I guess I'll put it to good use and go do a few loads of laundry before bed tonight. 

 Two more days!!


Calamity

Well, if having a baby next week on Tuesday wasn't big enough news in our lives Max went off and scared the crap out of us a couple days ago by getting very, very sick. Two mornings ago, we sent him to the Creche, a happy, bouncing boy. That same evening, my husband went to go pick him up and I mean literally off the floor because for the 30 minutes before we arrived he had been sprawled out on the floor with his dou dou staring off into space. He was feverish and then vomited on himself just as we were getting his coat on. 

There has been two confirmed cases of Grippe A (N1H1) at his creche. 

We high tailed it to this pediatrician's office which happens to be right across the street from our apt and then turned us away (!) saying it was gastro. I know gastro and when Max has it and this wasn't gastro. But then again, I didn't know what the flu would do to him since he's never had it. We walked across the street with the instructions of if he had a fever of 39°C for more than 24 hours we were supposed to take him to the hospital because our Ped's office isn't equipped to deal with Grippe A. I watched Max's temperature rise over the next 24 hours from 38.5 to 39.9°C. He would go from HOT to less HOT and just pant and stare off into space. Every once in a while letting me cajole him into drinking some water. And wouldn't let me out of his sight. He grasped my hand with his little, burning hand wanting me to stay with him. We called SOS Medecin to come to our apt at 2am because he had a 104°F temperature that wasn't breaking. Thank goodness they came fast and the doctor took his time examining Max. Everything seemed to say Flu except he was missing the cough which was typical of the Grippe A. He advised us to watch him another 24 hours and see how things. 

Then this morning, Max woke up NORMAL. I laid in bed sleep deprived because I kept waking up all night long checking on him and to see my happy, bouncing boy sitting right in front of me waiting for me to wake up so we go have breakfast threw me for a loop this morning. 

I laid in bed for a few my head spinning at how quickly things changed. Thank goodness for the better and not worse because we all know next week is going to be a big week for our family. But still... talk about complete calamity of the last 24 hours. 

Since Max was sick it threw off my schedule and my to-do lists which included making massive batches of cookie dough for the tea house. But in a fit of despair and stress my husband asked if he could learn to make the cookies. I was skeptical but he had never offered to learn to make the cookies before and I thought, why not. These cookies are hard to make right because there isn't a written recipe (it's my mom's and I learned it by watching her make it through out my childhood) and every person I've tried to teach to make these cookies can't seem to grasp the ratios. Yes, my recipe has ratios and logic in them. The only person who can do it is my brother but then again he has the advantage of eating these cookies ALL of his life, practically. 

So, last night while I was in tears and stressing out, Julien set out to make cookies while I directed him and he did a really good job. And I feel better today knowing that he can do it... then again, thinking about it this morning, he's eaten the original cookies made by mother many times so he has that to fall back on. My little brother can attest to this because Julien once ate an entire jar of my mom's cookies leaving only one for my brother as an after school snack. That was a big turning point in their relationship but I think they've recovered from it. 

So, here's to staying healthy until BB gets here. That's the new mantra for the rest of this weekend. 2 days to go and she'll be here. Tuesday morning is the big day, let's hope for an uneventful weekend until then. 


24 of 30 - Routine

24 of 30 - Routine 

Not until I had Max did my life have so much routine in it. Sure, I had a job before I became a mother and the routine that came with that. Metro, Boulot, Dodo. It was pretty boring and I'm glad I don't do that anymore. My routine as a Mama is much more fun. No more alarm clocks I have a walking and talking one that comes and wakes me up almost at the same time everyday. And when he doesn't, it's a nice break because it's he who sets my routine for the day not some man behind a desk. 

The last couple months I've been having a very hard time getting up in the mornings. Julien has taken over morning routine of feeding Max breakfast, changing his diaper and clothes and getting out the door all by 9 am. In the hour that they are up and having breakfast I slowly wake up and get out of bed to kiss my boys goodbye and wait to see them off from our 6th floor kitchen window. If you could hear Max, you'd would hear him yelling at the top of his lungs, "Goooooodbye, Mommy! I love you!!!" as he waves to me. I watch them walk around the corner and thus starts my day.

One key thing I learned about being a mother to newborn Maximilien was that he needed routine.  He always wanted to nap at the same time and eat at the same time.  And in turn I craved this routine too. And I find myself in these final days of pregnancy thinking about the routine that I will start again with BB and as crazy as this will sound to you I`m really looking forward to it. 


23 of 30 - One more week....

I'm deviating away from my photo project for a moment. I'm not feel very motivated to pick up my camera. The battery is on charge and I'll just leave it like that for now. 

7 more days

Since last Weds, I've been pretty uncomfortable. Getting up and walking from the bathroom to my bedroom (13 meters) I can feel my uterus contract and I hunch over walking like quaisimodo at snails pace. The most comfortable positions for me are sitting down or laying on my side with pillows propped up around me. 

Listen to me. Aren't you tired of me complaining. I am tired of complaining. 

I can't believe that Tuesday of next week I'll have children. I remember talking with someone at the bakery right after Max was born and talking about "mon enfant" and how it sounded so weird to say that. Just as right after Julien and I had been married and me coming to work and talking about my husband. I was 25 and and talking about my husband to my colleagues. That kinda blew my mind back then...

I'm more surprised with the new terms that I have to start using then the action of executing these terms. When I became a Wife, nothing really changed except that I had a husband to come home to and make dinner for and spend time with. But getting used to be introduced as someone's Wife made me blush. When I became an Expat, I just had to learn to live in a new country and find my little piece of home. But saying that I was an Expat took getting used to.  When I became a Mother, I just followed my instincts and everything worked out fine. But saying that I was a Mother after Max was born made me feel like I should have wisdom before my years. When I became a Business Owner, I again followed my instincts and try my hardest to be as responsible as I could. But the stress of knowing that I was Business Owner is something that I am still getting used to.  And now becoming Mother x 2, I assume that nothing else is going to change from the first time around. If anything, I feel more relaxed and prepared. But saying outloud to a friend on the phone today that I will have children. Made me giggle and pause because wow, I'm going to have CHILDREN. 

When I first got pregnant with BB, I used to wonder if I could love BB as much as I loved Max. I love Max with every fiber of my being. I can feel it when we're laying together talking to each other, playing, eating dinner or just looking at each other. I can feel that he feels it too. But as I type this, inside my heart, I know that I will have this for BB. It's just there waiting to burst out of me like it does for Max. This is why I can't wait until she's here. Not because I am physically drained from this pregnancy. I feel like my life has been on hold for the last few months waiting for it start again. Waiting for us to become a family of 4. Waiting for me to become the Mother to my Children. 

One more week to go, little girl. Your brother is anxious for your arrival. He asks when you'll be here and where you are every morning when he looks into your crib. I think he thinks that when he wakes up in the morning that you'll magically be there.  When you do arrive, it will sort of seem like that for him because I will be gone for a week in the maternity when I go off to have you, BB. But I think you and your brother, Max, are going to be best friends. Yesterday, I caught him singing the theme song to Max and Ruby and instead of singing Ruby he sang your name instead. THIS is why I can't wait for your arrival. Mama is waiting for you....


14 of 30 - Change

14 of 30 - Change


There's going to be so much change coming into this little boy's life very soon. We're preparing as much as we can but as much as we wish we could plan it all out, I think we'll just have to take each day at a time. As we approach BB's birthday, Maximilien continues to grow and change everyday. He's such a chatter box. Speaking up phrases in French and English. Mixing the two languages to the delight of both of his parents. 

This morning we went and got Max his haircut at the salon across the street from the tea house.  This is Stephane, my coiffieur extraordinaire, cutting my big boy's hair. It's funny how after each haircut Max seems so grown up yet I still see my little baby in his face. I know that when BB arrives there will be a moment when it hits me that Max really is a big boy. But I still have a few weeks to hang on to these special moments together. Just us. Me and my first born baby.


11 & 12 of 30 days - The 50mm is still on the kitchen counter.

Well, I got caught up in life and my camera was left at home. These days I can't carry much around with me because I'm carrying a 4kg+ baby in my belly. I've been caught up getting the tea house and my staff up to speed before I go off line and have my baby and will be absent for a week. It's still three weeks away but I gotta start now because that's just how I roll. 

We had a huge turn out for knitting last night at the tea house. It was very exciting to see so many knitters in one place. My little tea house was busting at it's seams we barely had enough chairs for everyone. I went and helped out with the dishes and watched everyone knitting around me and it warmed my heart. I watched my dream happening right before my eyes. I silently thanked Omma for her help because I know without her watching over me I wouldn't have been able to do it alone. 

With each turn in my life, I find myself looking up at the sky and thanking my mother for her guidance. I can't explain why I know she's right here with me I just know it. I feel it. I used to write that I would prefer that she be here physically. I think it's something that doesn't need to be said. Anyone who has lost a loved one would prefer that but this feeling of knowing that she is here with me spiritually is a powerful one. And it has helped me get through many difficult times in my life. 

I remember when I was in the operating room having Max and that feeling of panic and dread came over me.  I was panicking and speaking in English and no one in the operation room could understand me. I swear there was a moment when I heard my mother's voice saying to me in Korean that it was okay. over and over again. And right at that moment my doctor leaned over the partition and said to me in French, that it was ok and showed me my pink, chubby baby. Panic and dread faded away and I drifted off into unconsciousness. 

Last night I couldn't sleep. I would close my eyes and have these mini dramas in my mind and be forced to wake up. Talking with my brother today he told me that last night he had slept terribly as well. It was 4 years ago today that my mother passed away. I hadn't been keeping track of the day but somehow my subconscious was. It is inevitable that I think about my mother at this time in my life. I'm about to give birth to my second child and taking that trip of becoming a mother to a newborn again. I think as mothers we inevitable think about our own moms. I remind myself that life is cyclical and that this is all part of my cycle of life. As hard as it is I have to keep on going. I feel her hand on my back guiding me along the way and I know it's going to be okay. 


9 of 30 - Self Portrait

9 of 30 - Self Portrait 

While setting up the camera for a self portrait I took this shot accidently triggering the shutter while trying to set up the timer. Out of all the photos I took this one was the most natural. Pregnancy has brought out the freckles on my face.   

I feel like age is starting to catch up with me. I am 32 years old. Still very young. But I often stare at my eyes and see a wealth of experience in the depths. Experience that I have inherited because I share the same eyes as my mother.

After becoming a mother I notice that I instinctively react and do things and after the fact I often wonder how I knew how to do that. I must have seen my mother do it. I don't have any other explanation. Unknowingly as I grew up I was shaped by my own mother to become the mother I am today. 

Omma has been gone for 5 years now and I still feel the pain of her absence. I take enormous comfort in the fact that when I feel down I can hug my son and know that the love I feel in this moment is what she felt when she'd hug me. 


2 of 30 - Twice Daily

Since August 3rd, I've been giving myself twice daily injections of this little drug to prevent my body from developing blood clots. Something I developed while being pregnant and something that will go away once BB is born. I wrote about it back in August when it happened. I've given myself 186 injections and still have 84 more injections to go until I'm done. Yes, I keep track because it's not a walk in the park and now I can now see the end is near. 

2 of 30 - Twice Daily

He makes it all better

Still got a little baby curl 

As hard as it is to relive the minutes and hours after Maximilien's birth this little boy reminds me that it's all worth it.  I thought that if I didn't think about the experience it would just go away. And it did for a while I actually had forgotten but sitting in the doctor's office in the moment of dejavu finding out that BB was going to be a big girl all those emotions rushed back to me. But today for the first time in 2.5 years I actually feel okay about my birth experience. And I know I can type this and mean it because I am not  crying uncontrollably but instead I feel excitement for BB birth in 4 weeks time. 

I wonder in today's medical age of technology why it's so hard for us as women to get the birth that we want? There is a small part of me that wonders if I had decided to try to have Max naturally would it have gone alright? Would it have ended up in a cesarean anyways? I know women birth babies as big as Max naturally all the time. Heck, one of my readers did and I totally admire her for that! But I feel like when it was time to make the decision for Max I was slightly psyched out but all the technology and terms and medical jargon thrown at me that I was pretty much scared into choosing the cesarean. And now for BB, listening to the doctors explain to me the risks of induction with a baby so big and my uterus so stretched out and the scar and abnormally strong contractions and this and that... it makes my head spin and I just say, enough. Please, get me my baby and leave me the hell alone. 

Dozing in and out of consciousness this morning I wondered if I could change things with BB's birth. Part of me is like change doctors! get more opinions! But I like my doctor and I wouldn't change doctors for the world because I. trust. him. And then all of a sudden I feel tired. And in this moment as the fatigue washes over me, there is Max standing by my side of the bed waiting to give me my morning kiss and I am reminded that everything ends well. Here's my 2.5 year old who's in perfect health who is happy and excited about the imminent arrival of his petite soeur. And I realize that I have made my choice. And I am alright with it. 


The state of our union

I start my maternity leave tomorrow. And I have to say that I need it. This pregnancy has been very exhausting. Even though my life circumstances are different now, I'm working full time and have a toddler to chase after, physically this pregnancy has been much harder on me. The all day sickness I suffered the first three months lasted more like five months and then while traveling to the US I developed a blood clot in my upper extremity. A lot to deal with and all the while juggling being a mama, a wife, an entrepreneur, and trying not to get lost in it all. I welcome maternity leave tomorrow. I need it. 

Us

We had our third trimester scan on Monday and BB is scanning in as big as Max at this time. Based on the length of her leg bones and the circumference of her head she's weight in at 2.1kgs (4.6 lbs) already. I found out that I tested negative for gestational diabetes which was a huge relief since I had a sinking feeling I had it. But not because of the medication I have to take everyday until the end of the pregnancy I must go in every 10 days for blood work to monitor my platelets level. Want to know the best way to cure your fear for needles, well there you have it. One thing that I am glad for is I haven't gained much weight this pregnancy. I think I've gained 6lbs the entire pregnancy which is a record for me. It also makes me worry that something is wrong because I know my body and I just don't do this. 

Something new that has occurred lately is this unnerving sense of doom I feel all the time which turns to utter complete stress for me. I keep feeling like something is going to happen to my business while I'm not there. A fire or we'll be burgled. I keep telling my husband that we need to change the car seat in my MIL's car for Max because I don't feel like it's safe enough for him and i have these dreams that he's in a car accident and something terrible happens. I am sure these feeling of unease are due to the pregnancy and stress of running my own business but I don't know what to do to really deal with them. Therapy? Well, that's what I use my blog for...

On to more cheery subjects, Maximilien is doing great these days. We've transitioned him to a full size twin bed and he loves it. Where as in his make shift toddler bed he looked so big in the full size bed he looks so small. But he's not a baby anymore. He's talking in complete sentences in French and in English. He jumping and climbing higher than Mama would like. He's affectionate and as obedient as a two year old can be. And he's very excited about the baby in Mama's bidon. Everyday he says, bonjour to his sister and calls her by her name (yes, we've found the perfect name!!). And he pays close attention to Mama's bidon so that I won't get too many bobos on it. I medicine I must take for the blood clot is an injection that I administer to my love handles and often they leave bruises. This worries Max and he checks everyday to make sure there aren't any new bobos on Mama's bidon. 

Love

I am preparing myself for the arrival of BB and I know that I won't believe I'm having another baby until she's here. Every night I go and check on Max before going to bed and so the same thing I've done since the day he was born. I stroke his head and tell him that I love him. Kiss his hands and cheeks and smell his baby scent. Soon, I will have two...


Max's first haircut

When Maximilien was born he had very little hair. Not even eye brows! As he grew older we could always tell what age the photo was taken based on how long his hair was. Right around 18 months old his hair started to really grow and out came the cutest baby curls. 

Since we've been in the US it's been very hot and Max longer hair was slightly unmanageable and always in his eyes. So, while getting ice cream at Baskin Robbins we decided to pop over the hair salon next door and get his first hair cut. 

We went in with our baby boy with bouncing curls and out came our Maximilien, I'm-not-a-baby-big boy now.

  

Max's first hair cut Undeniably cute but I regret cutting the baby curls


Maybe it's a little foolish of me to regret cutting off his baby curls but I do hope they will come back again. 

20 weeks

I'm at 20 weeks in this pregnancy and finally things are starting to take a turn for the better. I've only thrown up once this week. That's pretty good. I'm starting to sleep better now that Maximilien has decided that sleeping in his own bed is cool. And summer pretty much passed us by here in Paris so that means I'm pretty comfortable physically with this pregnancy. BB is really moving around a lot especially right after I've eaten something. I just downed a huge glass of chocolate milk (haven't had a glass of this since I was like in 6th grade) and it was so good. Other than the urge to drink lots of milk and eat yogurt all the time I haven't had any other cravings. In all honesty, my appetite has been pretty non-existent so far. I pretty much tell myself to eat a little through out the day because I want to keep my energy up. Speaking of energy, mine is back. And that means I can actually work again. For a couple months there I'd drag myself to the tea house to do the morning preparations and back and by the time noon came around (starting around 9am) I was dead tired. But now I find myself working away the morning and still wanting to stick around the tea house and work with my employees. I've had to hire a full time people to replace me during the week because it was not possible for me to keep working 65 hours a week and get through my first trimester. 

Lately, I've been listening to a podcast called Pregtastic. And have found it very entertaining and informative. Today, I listened to an episode about VBAC after cesarean. I am hoping to go this route with this baby. My doctor supports me on this and honestly, I feel that this baby is going to be a different size than Maximilien. You remember that Max was 4.945 kgs (10.9lbs) at birth. And at all stages of my pregnancy with Max I was just HUGE. So, the decision to go with a cesarean was made. Of course my doctor presented me with my options (which did include a vaginal birth) but being inexperienced and sort of naive about having a baby I decided on the cesarean. I don't regret my decision because Max came out perfect and everything worked out fine but I do feel like I deprived myself of my womanly right to have a baby as nature intended me to and I really want to experience that. While on vacation in the US, I plan on stocking up on books to educate myself about VBAC and preparing myself for a different kind of birth for BB. 

I leave you with an interesting thing that happened to me recently. Shortly after getting pregnant again, I started to wear my maternity/nursing tank tops again. They are just so comfy and underwire bras are evil when your breasts are huge. I was wearing one in the presence of Max and the latch for the bra portion happened to unclip. It makes a distinct clicking sound. Upon hearing this sound, Maximilien looks at me and exclaims, "Lolo?!" Lolo was the code word I used while I nursed him for breast feeding. I'd ask him if he wanted to Lolo or if he wanted to drink from the Lolo. I didn't want to be heard in public saying "do you want the boob? or Do you want to drink breast feed?" It worked well for us. No one knew the better. Until a few months ago, I had assumed that Max had forgotten completely about the Lolos. But I was wrong. Upon hearing the sound of my nursing tank top clip open, he immediately knew what that sound meant. Makes you wonder how far back he remembers at his young age? 

And finally my latest belly shot:



BB: 20 Weeks


20 weeks where I feel like I am more at 28 weeks. As of two weeks ago I hadn't gained any weight in this pregnancy but I feel that has changed now with all the chocolate milk and yogurt I've been eating lately. We'll see on Monday at my big 2nd echographie and get another good shot of our girl. 

 Here, Max is trying to drive his tractor on the baby just an older brother would do, right? 

I have to admit...

that I am not enjoying this pregnancy very much. Besides being riddled with hellacious nausea the first three months, I haven't been able to sleep very well lately and my body just feels completely taken over. I keep reading and hearing from friends that this is what a pregnancy with a girl baby does but I guess I just didn't really expect things to go the way they have. I mean I can't help but compare everything to my first pregnancy. I think its normal that we do this and pretty hard for us to avoid considering everyone asks me on a daily basis how this pregnancy is going compared to first. 

I saw a friend today who I haven't in about 4 months or so. She had no idea I was pregnant and she asked me if I were sick because I didn't look very good. Nope, just pregnant. She shook her head and remarked that's why I looked like I've gained weight. Thanks, friend, for so nicely telling me that I looked fat. Funny though, I haven't gained a kilo since I started this pregnancy. But putting on a skirt that I wore pretty frequently while pregnant with Maximilien I noticed that my butt looked bigger as I pulled my black maternity tank down over the top of my bum. 

And the heat... oh man, the heat. It's currently 29°C (84°F) in the apt right now. We own one fan and it's blowing into our room where Max has decided he'd rather sleep these days. The heat isn't helping things. I do find myself lingering in the yogurt and cheese aisles at the grocery store but besides that none of my daily haunts have la clim so I will have to go out of my way to find places to cool off. I thought about the pool today but walking home after doing morning prep at the tea house and seeing the line go around the building and down the street pretty much turned me off from that idea. And then I remembered going to the pool with Max and the craziness that the French public pools could be. 

In a positive light, Max is completely obsessed with my belly and babies. He tells me everyday there's a baby in there. The assistants at the creche know that I am pregnant now and talk with him about it. They were excited to get out their collection of books about becoming a sibling and new babies in Maman's belly. Today, I went to pick him up from the crèche and I saw Max pushing around a baby in a pousette. One of the assistants told me that he had been telling all the other kids that this was his baby. He would hold the baby and then put it back in the stroller and sing songs to it. Talk about total explosion of my heart.

  18 weeks 
   

But standing in the mirror tonight in my favorite striped skirt and black tank I looked and felt like I was starting to look pregnant. I am definitely carrying this baby differently. With Max, I carried him out in the front  and with BB it's more of a fat tire thing going on with my whole mid-section. I can feel her kick and sometimes kicking in my back? Anyone else feel that? Maybe my placenta is placed in the front this time. I'll have to ask my doctor about that. But those little love taps make me happy and I quickly forget about how uncomfortable I am this time around. But still... I find myself counting the weeks until the finish line. I'm 18 weeks this week, indigestion and all. 

My two year old takes care of me.

If my hair was longer...


If my hair was longer he would have been holding my hair back for me. I got sick again tonight and it caught me off guard. I was changing Max's poopy diaper and I guess it hit me harder than I thought. I rushed to change him and put him down on the floor and rushed to the other end of the apartment to the bathroom making it just in time for the sick to come up. I hear the pitter patter of my toddler's feet in the hallway and the faint calling, "Mommy?". There is worry in his voice. 

I am hunched over the toilet heaving and unable to move. My son comes and rubs my back and says to me, "Mommy malade?" "Mommy malade.". The first time a question and the second time an affirmation. He repeats it until I acknowledge that he's right that Mommy is sick. He stood there quietly with his hand on my back until I was done. I washed my face and rinsed my mouth and scooped up my little man. Without hesitation he swooped in for a big kiss and a hug and whispered, "Mommy malade".

He understands that there is a baby in my tummy. He doesn't understand that the baby is making mama sick. I haven't explained that to him and don't want him to associate the baby with Mama being sick. He's gone from his days of imitating me being sick to sympathizing with me now. I do appreciate that a lot. 

I am always in awe at how compassionate my son can be. He is always concerned when there is a child crying at the creche or the playground. When we watch the Tigger movie he always gets upset when Tigger is crying and comes close to me to cuddle and find comfort. And instead of him seeking out comfort in my arms he comes and gives it to me when I need it the most. I am grateful for this and know that he's going to be a great big brother to this new baby. 

Here I am staying up late when I should be trying to get some sleep. I should follow my son's advice he gave me when I put him to bed tonight. He leaned in and said to me, "Mommy est malade. Mommy fait dodo". Yes, Max... mama is going to bed now. 

.Us.

I sat and watched Maximilien built his train track and for the first time today he figured out how to make the track into a circle without asking Mama for help. I was so impressed to watch as he tried out different pieces, turning them so they would fit taking out long straight ones to replace them with curved ones so that his train could run its course. 


Train track that he built himself

I snapped this shot of him right after he big accomplishment and inadvertently I caught my belly in the shot! As you can see our family is growing. As sad as I am that Max is growing out of his babyish ways I will have a new one this winter to fulfill those tiny shoes again. I can't wait. 

Kerfluffle

But in a good way.

That's pretty much how my life has been for the last few weeks. Bouts of nausea that kept me pretty much laying down most of the day and then the excitement of old friends coming into town have occupied me the last couple weeks. Now we have an "empty nest" as our friends have left (we miss you guys!) and I am filling the void with lots and lots of administrative work that needs to get done. But during this busy time, I hardly had the chance to notices that the pregnancy nausea has disappeared. Where as just a few weeks ago I dreaded waking up for the last week, morning have have been better and my I feel my appetite and energy level coming back to normal again. 

Maximilien got to spend two full weeks with my friend's daughter, Rowan, who is practically the same age as Max. They spent the entire time sharing everything, exchanging languages, running up and down the hallway in our apt and hugging and kissing each other everyday. I only wish that my friends and I lived closer together but we look forward to our next big visit next year but this time in the US. Up until my friends arrived I had worried about Max's level of exposure to English. While I don't doubt at all his level of comprehension in English ( I only speak to him in English) I was a little worried about his English expression. He only speaks French at home (and at the Creche) with a few words in English peppered through out his 2-3 word sentences. But after spending two weeks with his American (girl)friend I can easily say that he's upped his vocabulary in English by 20-30 words. Just last night, he was telling me about going up and down the chair something he never really expressed before hanging out with Rowan, who said this to us at least 100 times a day. :) I look forward to our month long visit in the US and am excited to experience the new development in his English vocabulary.

The new baby who I am calling "BB" or BéBé is doing well. Last week, BB was measuring over 5cm so I suspect this week near 7cm. I can tell that some growth is going on in my belly as my pants don't really fit anymore and that at 14 weeks of pregnancy I am much bigger that I was with Maximilien. I am a bit disappointed in myself that I am starting out this pregnancy 10lbs heavier than I did with Max but I am happy to report that in the first 3 months of this pregnancy I haven't gained any weight. Oh, my doctor might be disappointed with me when I get back from the US with an extra 15lbs on me. Home always means eating foods that I miss... like baked beans, ribs and all the fixins. My father has been warned that I intend on eating BBQ at least once a week while I'm home.

Speaking of going home, we have booked out tickets for our big flight to St. Louis in August. This will be the first time in 6 years that I have been home to the midwest during the summer. I am afraid that I have forgotten how hot it will be but rest assured there will be good 'ole AC and I am betting that Julien, Max and I will come down with colds because we're not used to AC. But I think we'll survive.... I am looking forward to seeing family in Kansas and Nebraska and catching up with old friends, especially ones who may be having a baby very soon (Hi Lainey!).

There's a mini update on what's been going on around here... I have lots of photos to post and more things to write about. But for now I feel like going to pick up my boy early with a box of popsicles and going to the park to pick wild flowers.


Heart

It's unavoidable that today I feel sad. I miss her. Terribly.

But it isn't really different from any other day of the year for me. 

One of my biggest fears is that Maximilien will have to endure the pain of losing his mother at a young age. I know that I can't control life. But how do you teach your child that sometimes life isn't fair? I don't know how to teach these life lessons.

But I do know how to love my baby. And he sure does know how to love his Mama.

Tonight before bed:

"Mama, calin?" and he threw himself into my arms for a big bear hug.

And then he stood back and said, "Mama, buh buh?" (kisses in Korean) and showers me with kisses on my cheeks.

My son. My hope. My heart.





Transitions

Bedtime for the last couple weeks has been hard. Maximilien insists on reading books and then falling asleep in our bed. In the beginning, we indulged him on this.  There really was no way to crawl into his crib and read him books in his room so it was our bed for the final step of his night routine.  He's a snuggler and likes to have a doudou or two and he hand picks out 6 or 7 books to read. And every time when I finish the last book he announces, "Do do, Mommy" and cuddles in for the night.  I've been so tired the past few months when Max's bedtime rolls around I am pretty much ready for bed too so there we are snuggling and falling asleep together. For the first week, we were able to scoop Max up and put him in his crib without him noticing. This last week, he minute we'd move him he's wake up and put his baby sleeper grip on our necks and wail, "No, Mommy... Nooooooo!". Of course, me being the softie I give in and  take him back to our bed. But then the sleepless nights for Julien and I started happening. Let's just say that Max is a pretty agitated sleeper. One moment he's sleeping soundly and then next you know he's sitting up (asleep) turning himself around and it's his feet in my back and his head in Julien's.

After three nights in a row of this we had had enough. We put him in his bed and let him cry it out. Parents to toddlers can agree with me on this that 2 year olds can cry for a freaking long time.

Two nights ago, out of desperation and obvious need of sleep for Julien, especially. I shut myself up in Max's room and held him like a baby and rocked him to sleep. As he was falling asleep, I asked Max why he didn't want to sleep in his bed. He pointed to it and said, "baby".  And I responded, "Max is a big boy and wants to sleep in a big bed like Mommy's?" And he said, "Oui". Ah, sweet communication and understanding.

Max's "new" bed

Julien took off the gate portion of his crib last night and for the first time in a long time Max slept in his own bed. Upon showing him his "new" bed, he crawled right in and laid down. He did fall out once last night. After a few minutes consoling him and lots of hugs he was ready to go back to sleep.  

Today, he napped like a champ, grabbing his father's pillow to take to his bed. And he did not fall out of his bed today. He woke up and played quietly for 30 minutes before calling for me to come and get him since he still hasn't figure out how to open the 70 year old door knob to his room. 

Tonight, I read to him in our bed, we snuggled and talked about the new baby, I sensed he was drifting so I asked him if he was ready to go to his bed and after contemplating the question a few seconds, he whispered, "oui, mommy".

My baby is becoming a big boy...


Taking a little break from the baby talk...

So, we're booking our tickets for our flight home this summer. Our plan is to spend the entire month of August with my Dad in St. Louis and will probably be driving to Kansas and Nebraska to see family and friends. Talking with Julien tonight about the purchase of the tickets, he looks at me with a serious face saying, il faut qu'on discute cette histoire de Swine Flu. We need to talk about the Swine Flu.

The first I heard of this was last weekend when my mother-in-law dropped Maximilien off and mentioned with a very serious tone her worry about La Grippe Porciné. I have had my head in the toilet (literally) for the past month so I had to ask what that was? And she was surprised that I did not know that my beloved state of Kansas had two confirmed cases.

So, here I am opening up a little discussion here to get a better feel about how you feel about this Swine Flu. I know a lot of people who read my blog live in the US and I am hoping that I can get a better idea from you what you think rather than listening to the media. I've tried listening to a few news broadcasts but get put off because they make it sound scary using words like, pandemic. And the mama bear in me is worried for Max and myself being all newly pregnant.  When people talk about it with me I feel like like the odd person out because I am NOT freaking out about this.  And it's like everything, I already have a ton of things to think about do I need to worry about this too?


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


Word storm

Max talking up a storm

It's started...the word storm. Everyday Maximilien uses new words to express himself.  Instead of grunts and pointing we have words!!!  Each morning for the past couple months there's an explosion of words coming out of his mouth so fast that our morning-tired adult brains can't understand.  It's so exciting. I can tell that Max is excited because finally he can express to us what he really wants.  There have been so many new words that I can't keep track how many new words he's used in the last week. Today, he asked for a cookie with a perfectly pronounced "Mommy, Cookie, please?".

Say "Cow"

Up until recently Maximilien would make the sounds of the animals he wanted to talk to us about. Moo, Bââ, click his tongue (for the horse), Mêêê (Fench goat), coin coin (French duck) and just last week during our trip I'd hear him say, "regard! Sheeeeeeep, Mama!" or "hooooooorse" or "gooooooo" (for goat) or "oiseau" (bird)! I then I realize that my son will someday speak better French than his mother and I think, I'm alright with that.  At 23 months, he impresses me with how well he processes the two languages so easily.   Everyday, I look forward to hearing the new words he's learned and the new things he can do. At the créche he is called the puzzle master (and dou dou master) by the assistants. Even still at 23 months old, I feel the amazing grip that motherhood has on me and am loving every minute of it.

 

Holding on to those moments

Spending the last few days home with Maximilien while he's (and I have) been sick I've found that I have been thinking about my mother a lot and feeling the void. Moments when Max snuggles close to me while we are reading books. Nestling his head against my arm, eyes closed while sucking his thumb. Telling me that he is tired and that there is no where else he'd rather be. I close the book and lay down next to him. His cheek against mine. I hear him "hmmm" and sigh.  Pure love. I think this has to be what my mother felt holding me as a baby. I've never felt so much love in my life. I close my eyes and hold him close and tell myself to remember.

You have these moments in life when you tell yourself to remember. Graduation from junior high. I was taking a photo with my parents wearing a pretty silly looking hat and a dress that my mother made. I remember clicking my press on nails and pushing my glasses up and looking at both my parents and thinking. Remember this moment. Girl Scout camp. I remember the day that I left getting dressed pulling up my green knee high socks with tassels and lacing up my brand new Reebok high tops. My mother and father leading me out to our back porch and them taking a photo of me. Later, the drive to the camp leader's house with my father in his gray pick up truck and saying goodbye to my dad who was smiling at me wearing his tortoiseshell glasses. I remember telling myself remember this moment. Saying goodbye at the airport.  It was after our church wedding ceremony. Julien and I had spent the last three weeks in Kansas getting married, spending the Christmas holidays with my family and just having fun. My mother was wearing her Christmas sweater and my father his fleece jacket. My hair was long and in a pony tail. My mother had her camera in hand and snapped a photo of us passing through security. I remember saying goodbye to my parents, hugging them with all my might and feeling the tight pang of sorrow as I had to leave them to return to France. Little did I know this was the last time I saw my mother alive.

So many of these moments come back to me at random times. Not sure what triggers them but when they come I try to think hard and remember them. Just today, laying with Max listening to him sleep I remember the last phone call I had with Omma while she was in the hospital the night before she passed away. I remember clearly her voice and how happy she sounded. Her laugh.  We talked about Thanksgiving and what she was going to make for dinner. We talked about the doctors and how nice everyone had been to her and how she felt strong and better than earlier in the week.  Then we talked about my visit and how it had been nearly two years since we'd seen each other. And how much we missed each other. The tightness returning to my chest as I said those words to her.  We just chit chatted about other things and at the end she told me she was ready to be a grandmother. My mother, the frank one.  And I told her that I had gotten the message with a smile on my face, of course. We said our goodbyes and I told her that I loved her and that I'd call her tomorrow. 

As mothers, I don't know how we are supposed to prepare our children for a life without us. I guess we just love them as much as we can and hope for the best? I never got to have certain conversations with my mother. I ask myself what conversations did I miss out on? Motherhood for one.  And many others I'm sure...  I just feel like we should of had more conversations like we did on the phone that last night of her life. Maybe it's just like this when you lose a loved one. Seems so unfair to me still....

All I know is, I hope that my blog will someday be a window into my person for my children and loved ones after I am gone. That if they have unanswered questions or memories lost they will perhaps be able to find the answers here.


Thinking outloud here...

so bear with me...


This past weekend I took Maximilien to his buddy Nathan's birthday party. A sort of grown up party with kids. My friend Sarah brought her son Felix and for the first time Max had a chance to play with a child who is older than him. And boy, did they play... I was surprised at how easily those two played together. Age different is about a year and two months. They were hugging and wrestling, jumping and running. I loved it though some of the other mothers (of younger children) were shooting me looks of get-your-screaming-child-under-control. I ignored them since I knew it would be good for them to see what their children would probably be doing in the following months. 

But since last weekend, I have been thinking about when to have the next child? Seeing Max play with Felix really makes me want to give Max a sibling. As you can tell with the lack of blogging, the tea house has taken a HUGE chunk of my time. I feel guilty because I feel like I've neglected my marriage and my household. The apt is in a perpetual state of disarray and my husband well... I know he feels neglected too but he understands and is sympathetic. But I don't want to let things get to the point where we're wondering what happened to our life because I let myself live with all this neglect. (yes, a 2009 new year's resolution is in order... but that's another post.)

Typing this I can obviously see that I can't have another child until I get my current life in order. Talking with friends, I realize that I probably have a pretty sweet set up if I did have another child. I could just bring the new baby with me to the tea house. Take out one table, set up a bassinet and voila, the baby can hang out with me while I spend my day at the tea house. Sounds fun, right? But then I am reminded of the late nights and lack of sleep and the breast feeding and the leaking boobs and constant spit up and what if I have another cesarean and will the recovery time be long like it was with Max. And... and... and... AND add on top of that running a tea house and a burgeoning knit café.

yeah... just thinking outloud here...





My daily pick me up

Before I became a mother, I wondered if being a mother would be for me? I really didn't question myself much after Maximilien was born due to the sheer joy I felt every time I held my baby.  I was a mama and being a mama was for me.  And even now when he's 20 months old, I still feel the joy picking up my son or seeing him play, run and say his first words.  And I know that this feeling will last well until my son is grown... even when he doesn't want mama's kisses anymore or I can't hold him because he will outweigh me.

I carried Maximilien home last night from dinner and I realized that I don't do that much anymore because he's walking everywhere now. I reminded myself to take advantage of the fact that I can still carry him now and that I should do it more often. Last night we read books before bed and snuggled and then Max says to me "kiss Mama, kiss Mama" and push his squishy cheek to my face. With his little baby hands, he pulled my face close again and again for more and more kisses.  I could feel the love exploding from my heart and washing over us in fits of giggles.  Moments like this is what it's all about...

Julien took this video of Max last weekend riding the line 14 on his way to his grandmother's house. I just wanted to share with you a bit of the joy of Maximilien. His wonderment is genuine. His smiles melt the heart. His words amaze me, though hard to understand right now. This is our life right now. And I'm so grateful for it.



Maximilien prend le métro from jagerog on Vimeo.


First of many first...

So, today while sitting on the potty myself this morning, Max decided to pay me a visit in the bathroom which happens to be his favorite place to congregate with Mama and Papa.  So, there we were the two of us in out 2m2 bathroom when I asked Max where his potty was? He pointed to his green mini potty under the sink. I proceeded to pull off his diaper and asked him if he had to go "poo poo" on his potty. He shook his head "non" but grabbed his potty and sat down anyways. And next thing I knew there was a little tinkle in the potty and a strange expression on his face of uncertainty. I immediately smiled and clapped my hands, "Bravo" and his face lit up with joy and relief.

So, there you have it... first use of the potty. Hopefully we can keep up this self-initiated motivation of the potty. I had suspected that we were moving towards the potty for a few weeks now since the poop in the bathtub incident  Max has been telling us (and anyone else who will listen) when he's pooed or peed. And the creche has picked up on this too and they have been showing him to the potty periodically through out his day.

Just as he weaned himself from breastfeeding and now he wants to use the toilet like les grands I must say that I am thrilled and excited to see my son growing up and taking initiative. And that we're moving closer to day he'll be able to wipe his butt on his own. :)


A break from the norm...

I decided to close the tea house today to profit from the fact that Maximilien was home from the creche and Julien off from work because today is Armistice Day in France. And because I am the boss and I can do things like that. Still getting used to this concept but it's sinking in pretty easily. :)

We were treated to a nice morning of sleeping in until 8:30am (thank you, Maximilien!) and then lazily drank warm milk and read books in bed until about 9:15am when we decided we'd head out for breakfast at Breakfast in America. We met up with Julien's brother, Benjamin who is also Max's godfather for a lovely (and large) American style breakfast of pankcakes, eggs and bacon. Max almost put away one of BIA's HUGE pancakes all by himself. We found a nice park across the street from the diner and spend some time enjoying the crisp autumn weather.  I brought out my big camera in an effort to get away from using built in point and shoot in my cell phone. I am still having a hard time working out time for photos. I miss it terribly but I am working on getting back to it little by little.

Since the weather was so nice today I got some really lovely images of Max playing at the park with his father and two uncles. Julien surprised me by taking a really lovely shot of Max and I at the diner that I will cherish forever.

Mama et Maximilien

The rest of the photos from today can be found here.

Today, felt like the last days of fall... I wish I had taken some photos of the trees in the park. The lovely yellows, red and browns were so vibrant today. Well, it's just an excuse for me to get my camera out tomorrow for some more photos, right?


Today was a little better...

Drop off this morning went very well. Max slept in a bit this morning after waking up around 1am wanting to cuddle with me. I took him to our bed and let him "sleep" with us.  He wiggled around and nestled himself in the crook of my arm and drifted in and out of sleep until about 3am when my body said it needed uninterrupted sleep. I gently put Max back in his crib and he went right to sleep.  Morning routine went well without any tears. When it came time to put on his coat, I told him clearly that he was going to the creche and he said, "ok" and put his arm out to put his coat on. Then walked over and sat down to put his shoes on. Relief came over me... this is exactly what I had hoped would happen.  My suspicions were correct. He was reaching out to us saying that he needed more time with us. Needed help making the transition to the creche. We arrived at the creche and he was happy to get out of the stroller and walk up the stairs. He willingly walked into his classroom and went over to find a book to read with Celine, who was waiting to give him a "big calin" and I waved goodbye and he responded with au revoir and a smile.

For the first time in a couple weeks I walked to work with my heart feeling lighter with less worry.

We are still going to make an appointment to meet with the director to discuss our concerns. I also have made a doctor's apointment with Max's peditrician next week to discuss this kind of behavior and to ask what can be done. 

Thank you for all your kind words of advice... it has helped Julien and i get some perspective on this matter. It is a sensitive subject that we must deal with vert diplomatically. Unfortunately, changing creche is not possible. There are so little spots in the creches in Paris that us getting another spot is probably impossible. Also, if we go about this situation wrong with our current creche would could encounter troubles if we ever want to enroll our second child in the same creche. It is all politics and human relations. One (political) that I am not always very good at and the second I can handle. Fortunately, I am married to someone who can be very political(ly correct) in all the right moments.



Transitions

I feel like for the last three years my life has been full of major transitions. Moving to France was a the first major transition, it took me two years to really feel like I could live in France for the rest of my life. Making friends, finding a job, I finally felt like I was finding my place. Then my mother suddenly passed away and yet again my life was transitioning again. I had to find a new identity, new place in this world, a new me.  I became pregnant and there I found myself again going through major transition. Nine months of gestating a baby, watching and feeling my body becoming a vessel of life and then finally giving birth. Upon giving birth, I transitioned again from being a childless adult to a mother. The ups and downs, the hard and the easy there I was transitioning yet again...

But this transitioning wasn't over yet.... I started my tea house adventure 10 months after Maximilien was born. And a month after he turned a year old I found myself the owner of a tea house in Paris. And there I was transitioning from being a stay-at-home mother to a full-time working mama.  Things have seemed to calm down a bit in the transitioning department for me.  I have to say that I am pretty glad to be getting to some stability in my life right now. I honestly ask myself sometimes how the heck I made this far?

But now I see my son going through some hard transitions himself.  And I question myself how will he get through it? The creche is hard for him.  Where I initially thought that things were going well it turns out that he is having a difficult time. Both Julien and I agree that we feel like he's changed a bit. He seems agitated when he's home and very temperamental. When before he was very easy going and happy, now Max is sometimes hard to please and often melancholy.  Morning drop offs at the creche for the last couple weeks have been difficult. We arrive and he immediately wants me to carry him. He refuses to take off his coat and when we walk up to his classroom I must coax him to enter. Upon arriving he is very hesitant to go play with his classmates and must have one hand on me at all times.  Tears are shed when it's time for me to go and I end up leaving him in a crying heap in the arms of one of the creche assistants.

I have my suspicions as to why Maximilien is all of sudden rejecting the creche.  My first suspicions is that he misses me. Less of a suspicion really... I am pretty sure he misses me because I miss him terribly.  I think it's sunk in now I'm not around all the time like I was before.  My second suspicion is that he's getting bitten at the creche and he just plain doesn't like it. And in response to this Max has bitten a couple other children. I say a couple children because there have been two incidents where Max has bitten a child but incidentally there have been more times where Max has been bitten than I can count on my two hands.  I am frankly shocked at this but apparently this is normal according to the creche director.  All I know is that since the biting has started Max has been different child. Is this a life transition that he must go through? I reluctantly tell myself that it is.

I picked up Max a bit early from the creche today so that we could spend some extra time together. We came home and did the evening routine, had a pajama party in our bed, reading books and playing with dou dous until we both fell asleep. Tomorrow, I will keep Max home from the creche and spend the day with him. The only thing I can do for him now is to help ease him through this new transition in his life. And somehow we'll get through it together.


I am the mom who forgets to pick up her kid at daycare...

Last Friday, I was busy working away at the tea house when my phone rang at 6:30pm. Directeur Crêche flashing on the screen of my phone. I start to panic a bit. I answer the phone and the director gently tells me that no one has come to pick up Maximilien and asks if I could come and get him. I was out the door before she hung up. I can see the crêche from the front steps of the tea house. I arrive to see that Max is the only child in his classroom. In my head, I was thinking, "oh, Julien must have gotten stuck on the RER". I start rattling off that my husband must be late and apologize for the misunderstanding. I dial my husband number as I walk back to the tea house and ask where he was? He calmly answers that he's on the train and that he'll be at the tea house to pick up Max by 7pm. Then it dawns on me that it's Friday and it's MY day to pick up Max.

I am the mother who forgets to pick up her kid from daycare.

The image of Max's face is etched into my brain. A mix of utter happiness to see me and relief that I had finally come to get him. The assistant told me that Max had been standing by the door for the last 20 minutes waiting for me to come.  I'm sure she said that just to make sure that it stuck in my brain that I had forgotten to pick up my son.

It is the end of Max's first official week at the crêche and I have already forgotten to pick him up.  And on top of that he was bitten 4 times and apparently bit another child. But I'll get to the biting story later for now I am off to go and watch my son sleep.  And remind myself that I am still a good mama.


Finding time for myself...

As I struggle with juggling all these new responsibilities I've learned that if I give a little I get a little in return. It has always been hard for me to ask for help. I like to try to do everything myself but as I am learning how to run my own business (with my husband) that I can't do it all by myself. I worked a 13 hour day on Weds and I was completely wiped out the next day.  But things are starting to shift for us time wise, Maximilien has started the creche this week and it really has given me a breath of fresh air.  Also, he is absolutely happy at the creche. When we stroll up to the door, he starts kicking his feet and bucking to get out of the stroller. He is so very happy to "go to school" everyday.  He starts his day at 9am and that means I start my day at the tea house at 9am as well. Before I was starting an hour later and always felt rushed. Never had time to have breakfast and was always putting something in the oven right at the last minute.  With this extra hour this morning, I've baked madeleines, had morning coffee and I have even found time to blog! Blogging is not a fundamental need for me but it gives me a break and I take pleasure in these few moments writing down what I'm thinking about. 

Now that our lives are falling into more of a routine I find myself wanting to have another baby. Friends who have just had new little ones oblige me with visits so that I can get my baby fix but I see Max playing at home alone and I feel the urge to give him a brother or sister. I know what it's like growing up with siblings. Being the oldest of 5, I always had someone to play with or talk to. Never a boring moment in the Osbourn household, let me tell you... But then I try to foresee how I will be able to juggle it all. The tea house takes us a huge chunk of my time and I know that I would never be able to accord the second child the same amount of attention I was able to give Max. One of my commenters on Flickr once wrote that I loved Max too much not to have another child.  At the time, I couldn't believe what she had written... but now 18 months later I feel that I could. This is not an announcement that we are expecting another child but it could happen someday soon. I hold my breath as I type this...

*******

So, 4 days later after I started this entry I am ready to post it. I still love very much what I am doing with my life now. I love being a mother. I love being a wife. I want to be a better friend and a better time manager and I think all will be well.


I have been sitting here trying to figure out a title for this blog entry and nothing is coming to my mind. I have been pretty lax on my blogging lately. Yes, I have been busy but I have had time in the evenings to blog. I often log into Typepad and stair at the Compose New Post page and my fingers are stuck. The ideas I had to blog about during the day when I'm busy baking or serving tea are all lost to me.  No time to jot them down in my moleskine. Fingers often covered in scone dough or cookie batter so I can't type. And then sometime I blog block myself by thinking that what I have to say is uninteresting and who would be interested in what I have been up to?

I think I'm just too much in my head and just need to write down my thoughts so I can access them later in time.

 - Today, I walked down a freshly rain soaked cobblestone sidewalk on my way to the tea house carrying a bouquet of sunflowers, two freshly baked baguettes and today's Le Parisien.

 - I met two readers of my blog today. One person a lurker from San Francisco who has never commented on my blog who found my through another friend's blog who had linked about the tea house.   The other visitor a woman and her husband from Vancouver who has been reading my blogs for years and leaves the most wonderful comments some which have really helped me through some dark times in my life and brought smiles to replace the tears.  I was thrilled to meet her. Hugs were given. She knit and enjoyed my homemade carrot cake. Really lovely to put a face to the familiar name that often appears in my comments.

 - I baked cream scones today. Seriously, these are the best scones I've ever made. I also learned from a customer who happened to be from Australia about Devonshire Tea. I am going to rename my Thé Gourmand, Devonshire Tea instead. And perhaps I will adapt the Aussie way to pronounce scone as /skɒn/ like as in John. Just because it's so cute. But I will not be making Vegemite scones as the woman suggested I could. My taste buds have not yet gotten used to the unique taste of Vegemite.

 - I thought about how I am a mother. Last weekend was mother's day in France and to hear my husband wish my Bonne Fete de Mamans made me feel really good. This role of mother is the most natural role my life has taken to date.  Through all my fears and worries in the beginning I can easily say that I am really glad that I became a Maman when I did. It was the hardest period of my life. I had just lost my mother and knowing myself I had to challenge myself. Challenge myself to advance and live life. And I knew that my mother wouldn't want it any other way.

Just a few of my thought today... enough to blog about? Who knows. But I do want to remember these moments.

I am a selfish mom sometimes

Another Thursday with Max has come and gone. He's fast sleep in the next room. I am laying in bed getting subtle relief from the Advil I took for my migraine. Although I've had this migraine all day today, I didn't realize it was happening until after I put Max to bed. When I am with Max nothing else really matters. I miss phone calls. I forget to check the mail. I don't do the dishes. I am only with him.  Thursdays are the highlight of my week.

Today, Max had a quick visit to the doctors. Over the long weekend he had a fever for a few days but Julien and I just assumed he was teething. He had been drooling a lot over the weekend and his cheeks were red. Noting else seemed out of the ordinary so I didn't worry. But then on Monday a few spots showed up all over his body. Chicken pox? Maybe it was for real this time? But something about the way these bumps looked did not say chicken pox to me.  And the doctor confirmed that they were not but instead Max had the tail end of Roseola. The doctor reassured me there was nothing to worry about and that in a few days the spots would be completely gone.

After spending the afternoon riding trains, playing with friends, making a mess in a toy store and riding more trains we made it home. Dinner, bath and bed. I find myself trying to relaxing with a migraine.  I lay in bed right now thinking about today and remembered soemthing new Max did today. When I push the stroller I often talk to Max and explain to him things I see. Sometimes I sing silly songs I make up. Or we play a game where he repeats what I say.  If there is a moment when I haven't said anything, Max yells,  "Ma ma?!?" The last syllable of Ma ma raised as he saying,"are you there?" And I always respond, "Yes, Max... I am here." And our conversation starts again.

Another new thing he's started doing is when we're on the metro and I am sitting next to him he reaches over and grabs my hand and pulls it close to his face and cuddles it.  I tickle the soft baby skin of his neck and he smiles and rests his cheek against my palm. Warms my heart through and through....

We are waiting to hear if Max will have a place in the Creche this fall.  If he does get a spot then that  means he will be in day care full time and our Thursdays together will probably come to an end. I think I am secretly hoping that he won't get a spot but financially speaking it will be the best thing for our family. The nanny is expensive. I am still getting used to being a full time working mom.  I have moments when the guilt of being away from Max overwhelms me to the point that sometimes I come home from work and rush back to Max's room and scoop up his sleeping form and cuddle him in my arms.  Most nights I can refrain from doing that and just stand at the door and listen to him sleep. But sometimes it's just plus fort que moi...

I know this will get easier in time... I just need some more time.


A new tooth popped out...

A new tooth popped out and I missed it.

and I missed it....

The separation from Max is a lot harder than I realized it would be. I kept reminding myself that this would be so good for Max. Good for him to be around other children. A wonderful growing experience.  During his first week, the adaptation week, I cried everyday after I dropped him off. Only one day was it so bad that I broke down in front of Tata.  Now Max has been going to Tata's for two weeks and he seems to really love it. I feel a tinge of jealousy when I drop him off, seeing Tata scoop him up and give him a hug.  I am standing at the door watching someone else take care of my child.  This is the price I pay to pursue my dream.

Do I sound bitter? I feel a little bit bitter. Are these feelings I have normal? I have to think that they are. I just don't know how to deal with them just yet. I think that if I can get my Thursdays organized and prioritized, I can make the most of this day with Max perhaps this bitterness will go away. 

Last night, Max woke up crying and he only wanted his father.  I went to him first because  I hadn't seen him the entire day. When he saw me he cried even harder and moaned for "da da". Julien came and scooped him up and he stopped crying.  Is this his way of telling me he having a hard time adjusting? Two hours later, he finally let me hold him. I was on the brink of tears because I so desperately needed to hold my baby.  He collapsed into my arms and let me rock him while he sucked his thumb. Does he forgive me for leaving him during the day?

I am worn and ragged around the edges and I'm just starting this adventure. No one said it would be easy this dream of mine...Like I really asked around but this is my naive self talkin' here who didn't realize what it'd feel like to miss my son's new tooth. I guess I better prepare myself for other firsts I am bound to miss... but dang it, I hope that I catch a few on my days off with Max.


How to juggle it all?

I work everyday of the week now. Just like I did when I was a stay at home mom with Max. Granted the work I do now is very much different than mothering and nurturing Max everyday.  Harder? I wouldn't say so. Different. Yes, indeed. 

Now I guess I am considered a full time working mom. I work six days a week and have one day (Thursdays) off  from the café.  Max goes to the baby sitters 4 days a week and we spend Thursdays together.  I find that even though I am not physically working in the café, I am still doing café work at home (planning, sewing, calling suppliers, running errands etc..) on my day off and on top of that taking care of Max. 

I need to learn to juggle. Toute de suite!

Right now the apartment is a huge disaster area. The kitchen is a mess. The hall way is a mess. Our bedroom is a mess. Laundry piled all over the place.  I have no idea where to start.  Thursdays is also my day to clean as well.

So, let's see here... on Thursdays:

- Max.
- I get things done for the café that I can't get done every other day of the week.
- I need to clean the apartment.
- Figure out dinner situation for the rest of the coming week.
- Run family errands.

What would I like to do on Thursdays? I guess all of the above and try to find some time to relax.  Right now I am battling a wicked sinus infection and what I really NEED to do it sleep but I can not because of well that list of things up above which looms in my mind.

How do you juggle it all?  Sure, I can let things go like cleaning the apt but after a while it has to be done.  And yes, we can eat take out for dinner but we can't do that every night. Remember Le Muffin Maximus... I'm still trying to tame the beast.

Sigh.

Max isn't having it with the nap today. So, my chance of taking a quick one probably won't happen either.
Give me some time and maybe I'll figure it out but for now... I'm completely lost on how you full time working moms do it. Could you share your secrets with this newbie mama, please?


Testing 1, 2, 4...

I mean 3.

This pretty much sums up the state of my mind right now. I can't count straight. I can't see straight. I am dead tired.

We got back from the United States on Sunday.  I was glad to be back in France. I missed our home. The US has become a place to visit for me now. I like it that way. 

So, back to my state of mind. I am tired. I am extended beyond my capacities.  I type this at 2:15am and my son is not asleep. Jet lag. Certainly. Stubbornness. Most definitely. But you say to yourself, "oh this will pass once he's over the jet lag". Let me tell you this: he has been doing this screaming at 2am for the past month. In central time zone and then the mountain time zone and now in 0 +1 or Paris/Amsterdam time zone at 2 am, the boy screams.  I just timed him with two interventions from mama, Max just screamed his head off for nearly three hours. Not crying. Not the wind down crying. Screaming. A scream so loud that it wakes my husband up and he is wearing ear plugs.

Our trip to the US? Almost a bust. I was so happy to see my family especially my aunt and uncle that came from far to meet Max. Christmas eve was wonderful. I loved seeing Max with his cousins who are the same age play together. They will have so much fun growing up together.

But right now another trip to the US is the furthest thing from my mind. Another trip anywhere just isn't even fathomable.  You know what else I've been thinking about? Not another child!*

Now it's been three hours after the scream fest started and I think I can go to bed. I hear my son hiccuping from crying and sucking his thumb. Perhaps sleep will envelope him and he will dream sweet baby dreams? More on our trip to the US soon...

Good night!


*Ask me again in a few months.


I have crazy ideas sometimes.

Hacking the carrot

Not the best photo taken but I was cooking dinner, washing dishes and trying to keep my very active, attention needy son busy.  He's been biting into everything lately, including me so I had to find something that would ease his teething pains and that he would not get bored with.

I hacked this carrot using a pacifier ring. Attached it  to his shirt et voila! I got 20 minutes of quiet time from Maximlien so that I could finish dinner and well relax.

It's pretty self explanatory how it works: Big, fat carrot + Pacifier ring = Mama not going crazy from picking up carrot off the floor every 5 seconds. Give it a try... ;)


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


What just happened?

The world must be off its axis or something because Maximilien just slept for 12 hours straight last night. And 8+ hours the last two nights.

And he napped twice yesterday OUTSIDE of his bed. He's NEVER done that.

I'm not going to let myself make the mistake of getting used to this because the fact that I am typing this on my blog may jinx us and we'll start the sleepless nights yet again.


Getting back to our normal routine

I think it's the same for everyone no matter where you live when out of town guest come to visit your daily life is put on hold. It can be disruptive especially for a baby who is used to his naps in his own bed and early dinners in a relatively quiet kitchen. But Maximilien did pretty well going out to dinner nearly every weekend. It helped a lot that my father brought with him an awesome portable high chair that we used while dining out. Paris restaurants won't always have seating for infants and Max is too mobile to sit on our laps anymore. The high chair folds down and we were able to strap it onto the MacLaren without it bothering the person pushing the stroller. Since we were constantly eating out I opted to feed Max jar food from the grocery store. I had visions before Max was born that I'd make all his food for him. Well, things didn't work out as I had planned. In the beginning, Max actually preferred jarred food over what I was making him. It perplexed me. But it turns out that he just wasn't really into solids yet. Now nearing the 7.5 month mark, he's really into solid foods. I no longer puree his foods. I just use my food processor or robot as the French say to mash up his food and he eats eagerly. Last night I made fish cakes for Julien and I and I used the potatoes, fish and green beans from the recipe for Max's dinner. I just cooked the fish in the leftover water from the pressure cooker and then threw everything in the robot. In case you're curious, I made Max perch. We'll try salmon soon. He absolutely adored the fish. Seafood lover like his Mama and Papa. Another new thing has been Quinoa and rice cakes have been good for fussy moments. They are entertaining and he enjoys trying to eat them. Though he mostly sucks on them and they dissolve in his mouth.

Breakfast this morning

I have also started him on rice cereal for breakfast.  Another quinoa and rice melange that I found at the new organic coop by my house. I have been using formula to make the cereal and like a true French child he drinks his breakfast from a bowl albeit Mama has to be the one to hold the bowl for him. For a few months now Max has refused to take a bottle of any sort. It sort of coincided with the moment we started solids and eliminated his extra bottle of breast milk at bed time. My stash of breast milk in the freezer has long been used and the breast pump returned.   Nearly 8 months into breast feeding I am starting feel ready to get my body back. I will keep it up until Maximilien is one  but I am preparing him for the transition to happen after his first birthday in March.  Getting him to take formula with his cereal has been a little mini victory for me because before he literally would spit the formula out all over the place.

I don't know why I was nervous about making the transition to solids but things just happen to work themselves out.  Max nurses less during the day but has been making up for it at night.  Textbook speaking, he is not sleeping through the night. He goes to bed around 7pm and sleeps until one am-ish. Then from there on out it's awake crying to nurse every two hours until around 5am and then he sleeps until around 8am.  I am tired but I don't feel it. I've gotten used to this sporadic sleep every night. I believe the teeth are really bothering him and he's gotten used to Mama's comfort in the middle of the night.  I don't want to take away the comfort I give him at night especially since his teeth are hurting him so much. But I don't know what else I can do.  I've decided to keep on keepin' on. I'm dedicated to breast feeding for the first year of Max's life. After that we'll have to make changes if need be. I am hoping after this second wave of teeth(top two) he (and I) might get a break.

Two weeks of family visiting was fun. Sad to say goodbye in the end.  It does makes me miss the US but I appreciate my life in France. I've finally found my way here. My routine.