The Past Week

Well I made it to vacation! This past week was a little easier than the others because my workshop (those extra 3 hours) students were on a trip. It also snowed which took two classes out of my Tuesday afternoon and allowed me to get some stuff done. Littlest is going to the nanny’s three days this week so I can get ahead on some work and then next Friday afternoon we will head off in the direction of the Alps.

He has been really adorable this weekend which did us both some good since post-nanny evenings this week had been rough. Hopefully these next few days won’t be too hard because I can drop him off a little later and pick him up a little earlier—but who knows, that might not make any difference.

Other than operating on work survival mode, I’ve been watching season 4 of Grace and Frankie, catching up on French music with the Victoires de la Musique (MC Solaar’s new album is excellent), and getting over a cold.

Links:

Taux de césariennes, d’épisiotomies… : comparez les maternités près de chez vous: The clinic where Littlest was born has a surprisingly high episiotomy rate.

Un mama 10 trucs: Sevrer un enfant 2 ans ou plus: This is funny but also points out my very real worries about potentially weaning Littlest (BUT ARE YOU SURE REALLY SURE YOU WANT TO???).

Meet Hardy, a sea otter pup (for Sea Otter Awareness Week): I like the explanation they give for why we find sea otter pups so cute.

And I added a page on my sidebar: All My Breastfeeding Links Ever

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The Past Week-ish

An extra 3-hour class was added to my work week during this brief five-week period between vacations and it has made things INTENSE. Basically every minute of my day is counted and I have no time to waste on photocopiers eff-ing up—but they still do, of course. It’s a sprint. Wednesday is my day off with Littlest and last week I had to give in and send him to his mamie’s so that I could get some work done and live through the week. I don’t really want to complain about that, since my day off is a luxury of the profession (but also my mad time management skills). I did briefly start wondering if I had been wrong to ask for this day off (to be clear—my work load isn’t reduced, it’s just crammed into four days), but it’s a financial and family time decision that I really can’t regret.

Anywho, my motto these past few weeks has been “Don’t get mad” because the whole just barely holding it together thing has made me very irritable about other people’s minor or major bull-sh*t.

Soon we will be on vacation—again, yes, I agree that this five-week period of classes is very strange, it happens once every three years—and I will be able to get ahead with some work, and then go to the Alps with fourteen other people. (I’m counting Littlest, which seems a little silly, but he is a person.) Again I can’t say that I would have chosen to take this trip of my own motivation, but hopefully there will be some Littlest-walking-in-snow cuteness and some spa time for me.

Other than work, we have been watching Littlest toddle around and it is pretty darn cute. He is getting interested in toddler puzzles which feels huge. He has also figured out that the milk comes from under my shirt so is often looking in there, and also that I have teeth and they are fascinating. He now has twelve of his own. We have new favorite books (me: Pat the Bunny, him: Les Animaux from Lidl), and a new shower routine since he stopped wanting to go in his play pen a few months ago. He’ll happily play in his bed for about fifteen minutes if I pack it with toys and books, though they’ll mostly all have been tossed over the edge by the time I come back freshly showered.

I also finally started rock-climbing again. I’m going slow, only about an hour and a half per week, to let my arms adjust. At some point I hope to be able to do a little more of it.

Here’s one interesting thing I read:

The Hollywood Reporter: Ellen Pompeo, TV’s $20 Million Woman, Reveals Her Behind-the-Scenes Fight for “What I Deserve”

Involuntary Post-Pregnancy Weight Loss

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8 months pregnant

Let me just preface this by saying a few things.

  1. In putting this out there (and I already have in other ways) I am by no means trying to throw any shade on anyone else’s pregnancy or post-pregnancy or motherhood weight gain. I’m very aware that what I’m going to talk about can be frustrating to hear for people for whom things have gone the other direction.
  2. I have, in the past, gained amounts of weight that I was unhappy with and then struggled to lose weight and deal with the shock of a new body image. That is an experience that I have also had.
  3. I know that weight is annoying and uncomfortable to talk about in general.

That said…

I’ve lost, to me, disquieting amounts of weight since Littlest was born. To start with, I felt underweight at the beginning of my pregnancy; I had just dealt with the flu, which involves a lot of not eating, and also was nauseous through most of my first trimester. On top of that I didn’t gain all that much weight during the pregnancy—about 8.5 kg (19 pounds) on top of my normal pre-flu and pre-morning sickness weight.

Add that all up and since Littlest was born I’ve lost 16.5 kg (36 pounds). I went back down to my regular, “ideal” weight and then kept slipping. For a while it was unalarming—and then it was more and more curious. At a few points I tried to make efforts that seemed fruitless: eating avocados, peanut butter, allowing myself “unhealthy” foods that I used to steer clear of. Since I kept losing, I sort of gave up. But in retrospect think those efforts were actually making a difference because the weight loss seems to have just accelerated since I gave up.

Here’s the thing: I was happy weighing 15 to 20 pounds more. We make lots of assumptions about losing weight being a positive thing, or some sort of judgment on other people’s NOT losing weight. It’s a hard thing to bring up, and I swear I try to bring it up less, but my whole body image is changing and I’m starting to wonder if this is just, once again, the new way that I look. (But also, will I stop losing weight?)

I know it’s not a medical problem, since I went to a “bilan de santé” a few weeks ago and my thyroid and iron levels are normal. So it’s a lifestyle/metabolism/breastfeeding thing. I asked Littlest’s doctor about it and she said that lots of new moms actually do lose weight after they become mothers, because their whole lifestyle—sleep, for example—has changed. So I’m not convinced it’s just a breastfeeding thing. Moreover, I would hate to stop breastfeeding in order to gain weight just to find that it actually wasn’t the driving reason behind it.

So, I guess I’m writing this just to say that yes, this is also something that happens to new moms, and it is confusing. It may not be as soul-crushing as weight gain can be, but it is preoccupying. Part of me doesn’t want to get comfortable in this new body because I’m wary that the previous one will come back and I’ll have forgotten how to love that one. I looked good twenty pounds heavier. There’s nothing inherently better about less.

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Whose body is this?

The Past Week

Littlest is walking!

He’d been taking timid mini-steps here and there and working on standing up on his own from sitting down. But last Monday he finally bit the bullet and starting walking and he is progressing like gangbusters over here. So it looks like we’ll have to get him some après-skis for our upcoming family vacation in the Alps. I might have to create a new “Toddler” blog category and retire the “Baby” one.

Totally unrelated, we are considering getting an Air France credit card. We will probably do a good amount of flying back and forth to the States and some around Europe over the coming years, and Air France, in spite of the strikes, is a pretty good solution. Of course it’s not really a credit card since we are in France—it’s just a debit card with end-of-month debits. Anyone have any experience with this, or other airline cards? It is American Express so we won’t be able to use it everywhere, including grocery shopping at Lidl, as far as I can tell. But we’ll keep our other, cheaper bank cards—in fact I’d cancel my Visa Premier and get something cheaper so that the insurance wouldn’t be redundant.

For example we are considering a trip to Bologna just the two of us at some point. Air France/Hop flies from Poitiers to Bologna (or Venice, but for a four-day destination I think I’d prefer Bologna) with a short stopover in Lyon.

The Past Week

We’ve all gone back to work with a bang here and it proved to be an exhausting week. I think J and I ate dinner together once this week what with meetings and work dinners and rock-climbing sessions.

Otherwise nothing too noteworthy is going on here. Littlest is working on standing up on his own, which he seems to have gotten the hang of, and taking a few steps here and there. I went into town to take advantage of the soldes and bought myself a new Desigual coat, bag and scarf. We baptized my new Le Creuset Dutch oven with mussels last night and it was yummy. I also started reading Hillary Clinton’s book about the election, another Christmas gift.

I’ve finished the Crown and discovered that Season 7 of the Good Wife is FINALLY ON NETFLIX. Netflix of course neglected to alert me to this vital development. It may have happened months ago.

So, here’s some reading.

NPR: Black Mothers Keep Dying After Giving Birth. Shalon Irving’s Story Explains Why

and, I feel, relatedly: Serena Williams on Motherhood, Marriage, and Making Her Comeback

Emily Writes: I tried to recreate the magical Christmases of my childhood and it was a wonderful disaster: I cried from laughing reading this.

France Gall passed away: VIDEO. Mort de France Gall: Dix tubes qui ont marqué la chanson française

2018 Wtf

Here were are in 2018 and my feelings about that are mostly, “How did this happen? We were looking forward to the movie 2012 coming out just a few minutes ago, is that over already?”

In terms of accomplishments this year I feel like I’ve really only got the one: I kept my baby alive and happy. Hurray!

But I mean I guess some other stuff did happen. I ordered our 2017 family photo album from Apple the other day and it was 54 pages long so there was clearly some stuff to put in it.

Trips, as always—though we’re planning on slowing down on the transatlantic voyages with the baby: Ireland including Northern Ireland, rockclimbing in Spain, summer and winter in Boston, rockclimbing in Germany, a little sightseeing in the south. Baby births (Tiniest) and birthdays (Littlest). My aunt recovering from breast cancer and treatment. Changes at work that make me happier. New, friendly colleagues.

 

As soon as Littlest wakes up we are off to the in-laws for a third present-opening day of this Christmas season. So that’s all I have to say about the new year.

A Transatlantic Trip with a 14-month Old

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Train fun

Several things were different about this trip with Littlest compared to the one last July.

For one, he was now mobile: crawling, standing up, cruising.

Also, we didn’t buy him a seat.

There were no grandparents, just me and J.

But we also had no overnight in Paris and no connecting flight in the States.

We bought our Paris-Boston ticket through Air France and had time to take the TGV directly up to Charles de Gaulle the morning of the flight. Baby seats on TGVs are very cheap (like 9€, I think, for this trip). We didn’t take his car seat this time and so made arrangements to be picked up and dropped off at each end by someone with a car seat. We just took his Quinny Yezz stroller, which folds in three and fits in the overhead compartment. We also had his diaper backpack and my purse as carry-ons.

With Air France we were allowed a third suitcase for traveling with the baby, though the return flight was operated by Delta and they called it a “baby bag” and said that it really should only be up to 20 pounds (it was 21 on the way back so they let it slide). It was a sleek new purple carry-on sized suitcase that my parents gave us for Christmas. We also checked my big suitcase and Julien’s travel backpack.

The most complicated part of all that luggage is getting it on and off the train, especially at Charles de Gaulle where they repeatedly don’t stop for long enough for everyone to get on and off, given that people can be real morons about their suitcases on trains (leaving them in the aisle? thanks…). So it was important to be as compact as possible.

So anyway, how did it go? Littlest did indeed fall asleep on us, once he was to the point of exhaustion. On the Air France flight, we had the bulkhead seats and the bassinet (up to 10 kg and Littlest was 9.3), so we would then set him in the bassinet and be free to move around. Unfortunately Delta didn’t give us the same courtesy, though they did put us in slightly roomier seats, so Littlest just slept across us, and my butt definitely started hurting at some point.

He loved the kids’ play area at the Boston airport, and I got him to take a nap at the CDG train station on the way back by strollering him around for twenty minutes. He LOVED the train and was constantly moving around on the able, to the window, over the seats… and then falling asleep twenty minutes from our stop.

All in all, it was a success, but I definitely don’t feel like doing it again soon. Littlest was in a mama-only phase especially on the way there, so J couldn’t really help out much with holding him on the plane. I watched a number of animated movies without the sound that looked pretty good (Baby Boss, Captain Underpants, Moana…) and kept Littlest sometimes entertained and sometimes calm.

But I hope to put off any other transatlantic trips for a while. In all honesty this will probably be the only one we do with him on our laps.