Tuesday, August 30, 2011


On the bright side, we have hot water! People are clean! On the other, less bright, possibly very dark side, we also have a crazy toddler.

One who insists on jumping off furniture even though you have explained MANY TIMES that that is not allowed and in fact is VERY DANGEROUS. One who runs at top speed through any store you allow him in and who screams bloody murder when you pick him up because you decided that maybe the other patrons don't appreciate being rammed by a 2-year-old. One who also screams (I think there's a theme here) when he sees spiders, because they are scary, but who has no fear of running into oncoming traffic. Seriously, people, this kid is loud.

OK, I know there are some of you who are laughing right now and going "I wonder where he got THAT from?! Chortle, chortle" but I swear he's louder than me. STOP LAUGHING. IT'S TRUE. (I am not shouting, I'm just using the CAPS for emphasis.) (I SAID, STOP LAUGHING!)

Besides the loud, he also seems to be developing a cheeky streak. Like, doing exactly what we've told him not to do and then looking at us and smirking. And short of taping him to the naughty step, I am having a hard time figuring out how to discipline him. He doesn't seem to respond well to threats of loss of privileges (probably because he doesn't really understand consequences yet) and will just sit and scream his head off when being made to do something he doesn't want to do. OK in the house, less OK in public.

So, suggestions are welcome. Have you had good results with sending kids away to Siberia? How about just wearing earphones all the time with the music turned up all the way and saying, "La la laaa I can't heeeaaar yoooouuu"?  Tell me about it! I'm all ears.

On another bright side, M is being really sweet (for the most part) (when she isn't egging on O) (ok, so maybe it's sweet in relation to O) and is very much looking forward to school starting next week. Year One! So big! We are very impressed at her ability to grow. We keep making really profound statements like, "Wow! She's getting so big." and "I can't believe how OLD she is. Five and a half!" If we start talking like this within earshot, please feel free to look at us like we are idiots.

But there seems to come a phase where you realize that your kid is not "little" anymore and you can glimpse the older child they are going to be. They look taller and more kid-like and have so many surprising opinions. It's amazing. She's so big! (God, I can't stop. Sorry.)

Next time: Our newly recovered sofa and how it maybe, sort of vaguely looks like a shiny cheap suit. I'm sure it will get better when I'm more used to it! Oh please let it get better. Throw cushions will help.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Call Me Monica

All day long I've been waiting for something really exciting to happen to post about, but so far the choices are:

1) Woke up and had coffee and decided that I really prefer fresh milk over UHT
2) Went to the grocery store and bought chicken, fresh milk and some socks (ok, fine, and wine)
3) Made dinner

I'm just trying to decide which one will provide the best narrative and/or life lesson.

This is why people make fun of blogs. Because seriously, NO ONE GIVES A RATS' ASS WHETHER I LIKE UHT MILK OR FRESH. And apparently the grocery store is not known as a great source of life lessons. All very hard to believe.

Tomorrow will be much more exciting, mostly for the plumber's visit and the fact (oh god, please let it be a fact) that we will have hot water again. The hot water heater quit on us the day we arrived, so we've been washing dishes with freezing water and not showering taking cold showers ok fine not showering. You should come visit. Not only do we have pretty floral velour couches but we also smell! We head back to England on Tuesday, so I'll try to squeak in a shower before we get back.

Only a couple more days of vacation bliss, and then it's back to reality and work. Did I mention I have a job? Well, a "job." I'm not sure whether it counts yet or not because....ahem...I'm an intern. It's a temporary and part-time role to get some experience in another industry, and so far, so good. I just have to get over the mental hurdle of being in a job that I usually associate with recent college grads. Maybe that's the way around it; maybe I'll just pretend to be 22. Ignore my wrinkles and jaded demeanor! I'm young and carefree and totally can't remember a time when there weren't cell phones. Text me! Rock on! (Shit - do young people say that?) 

I actually love the company and the other people working there, and it's a part time gig, so it fits perfectly into my parent life. Because this is a public space, I won't spend too much time discussing it, but I think it's a good fit for my current situation and I'm excited to be involved in something new.  I'm also really happy to being doing something that doesn't involve wiping noses and cooking fish fingers. Wait. Unless they can make interns do that. Can they? Crap. I guess it's ok as long as there are no dirty diapers.

M actually congratulated me on getting a job. I think her exact words were, "Good job, Mummy!" She stopped just short of patting me on the head. 

OK, off to bed. We 22 year olds need our beauty sleep.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


It's Friday, right? Tell me it's Friday, and I didn't already break my promise of "posting every day" after only one day. Because that would be pathetic. So, Happy Friday, everyone! TGIF!  

You can also forget what I said about potty training, because we are not doing that either this weekend. I made some excuse to myself about it being better to try that kind of thing at home, and isn't this a vacation weekend, and after all I bet O is just not ready for it, and something about the alignment of planets. So, never mind, no potty training.

In fact, maybe I'll just sit around this weekend and eat cheese. And we are in Normandy again, which is perfect for cheese. And wine. We are excellent parents.

The highlight of my day has been the purchase of a new mattress for the guest room here. When we bought the property, the former owners very sweetly threw in most of the furniture as part of the deal - including, but not limited to, a floral velour sofa with matching arm chairs, a lamp with tassels, a pink fluffy bathroom mat and several large framed needle-points of scenes of Venice. They also left us a sweater that Monsieur used to wear to trim the hedges in, just in case. Husband hasn't worn it.

It was fantastic to be able to use the house right away, but little by little I've wanted to replace things, and we only just got around to getting rid of the ancient mattress upstairs. Not that it was in bad shape or gross or anything (I actually don't think it ever was used), but it was more that there are probably several museums around that have requested to use it in a display. Also, I slept on it last night and that thing was really effing uncomfortable. Apologies to all former guests. Lucky for everyone we still have the pretty sofa and matching chairs.

We also finally got around to changing our French bank account details from the address in Paris. Where we lived in 2007. The biggest issue has been that France is approximately 10 years behind the rest of the world when it comes to the magic of the internet and any changes to your account have to be done IN PERSON and AT YOUR ORIGINAL BRANCH. We had a meeting today with lovely lady who explained that she could help us with everything just as soon as we fax her some proof of address, and by the way, would we be interested in setting up this new service they have available called "email?" She, personally, was unfamiliar with it, but would soon be attending a technology training course. Until then, fax please.
See you tomorrow! That's Saturday, right? Great.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Happy! Sad. Happy! Sad. Happy! Sad.

Man, living with a two-and-a-half year old is like having someone with multiple personality disorder in the house, only you can't medicate them. At the moment, O changes moods so fast I think I'm getting whiplash. One second he's happy and laughing and playing nicely with his sister, and then you make him stop to eat dinner and oh my god now you have incurred his wrath. But it's ok! Because if you give him milk, he'll be quiet again! Unless, whoops, you put on the wrong television channel and now all is WOE AND WHY WOULD YOU RUIN HIS LIFE LIKE THAT? But don't worry, soon he needs to brush his teeth, which he likes! Unless you try to help him and then he gets REALLY ANNOYED.

It's exhausting.

Recently it's been particularly bad, as we've been walking on eggshells with him while the kids adjust to being back from vacation. Our time in the US was fantastic: we went to my brother's beautiful wedding (where the kids were flower girl and ring bearer), and O and M were constantly entertained by grandparents and other extended family and friends, enjoyed frequent trips to the pool and beach, and ate ice cream with almost every meal.

Now it's back to the grind of the local playgrounds, where there's no pool and they only get ice cream sometimes. What a drag. I think that for their next getaway, we'll be sending them to the coal mines. I know it doesn't sound like fun, but imagine how happy they'll be when they get home! I think I'm onto something.  

While M is pretty flexible (and old enough to be mostly reasonable), O has trouble adjusting to new things and is more, um, vocal about his displeasure. I would create some sort of sound track to share with you, but I don't think your computer speakers could handle it. As I've mentioned, he likes his routine and is not shy about letting you know when you screw it up.

Besides coming home from vacation, we are also trying to cut out his pacifier, start potty training, and are thinking of moving him from a crib to a real bed. This is possibly crazy, but it's also the age when you are "supposed" to do all this stuff, or so everyone helpfully tells me. I don't really remember it being a big deal with M, but I get the feeling that O might be less thrilled.

So far, all we've made him do is leave his pacifier in his bed when he wakes up, but he hoowwwls in protest every. single. morning, as though it's a new and particularly cruel form of torture. This weekend, we have our first try at potty training to look forward to, and I haven't even begun to think about the bed situation. I don't think I can take it. He might have to stay there another few years or so until we can summon up the energy to deal with him being free to roam in the middle of the night. And we'll see how the potty training goes. This might be my least favorite part of parenting, and it's also a bank holiday weekend. Maybe I should put it off for a little longer.

Ok, so we're in good shape! Just the pacifier to deal with! Excellent. Thanks for the talk.  Isn't Age Two a delight? That must be why they call it The Delightful Twos. That's right, isn't it?

Other than that, summer is flying by. It's almost September. And school! Sweet, sweet, school. Oh, how I've missed you. It's all new pencils and binders and backpacks and kids in class from 9 til 3, and for me, the time of year that I like to make new starts (more so than January, really). I'm resolving to be present on the blog and am going to try to post every day for the next month.


No seriously. Especially now that I've said it out loud and hit the "publish post" button. No going back on my word. I reserve lying for when I'm trying to get the kids to do stuff.

See you tomorrow.