The Past Weeks

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Okay so it has been a while, and that’s partly because I don’t have many interesting links to share, because I’ve been spending less time on the internets. Facebook has seemed less and less interesting lately. Like for every one post that’s cool, there are nine that I don’t care about. Anyone else feeling this way? But also I’m on the computer less so it’s harder to bookmark things even when I find something, because it’s on the iPhone.

Whatevs. What has been going on here since we got back from our little escapade to Fontainbleau? I had a wonderful week of staycation with Littlest, visiting playgrounds and reading books. With the improvement in the weather and his growing walking skills we’ve been able to take him out into the yard which he is loving. Today he brought me his shoes and said “Ga” (his new word for when he’s asking for something) and we had to explain that no, it was raining and gross out.

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My thesis advisor from my master’s degree was magically in town this past week and we were able to eat dinner together. It was like a breath of air from another life and I really enjoyed it. Littlest also seems to be letting go of his mama-only phase so it’s been more enjoyable and freeing to be out since I’m confident he’s having a wild time with his dad.

We’ve been working on some new songs with the band which has meant meeting up more often. And I’m starting to look for a new car since I’m tired of putting Littlest in my steamy car on hot days. No AC and no electronic key for locking the car is a drag with an infant.

These next few weeks shoudn’t be too stressful since they are full of public holidays. But in less than three weeks I’ll be off to Warsaw with my students. Hopefully Littlest’s good mood will last through that so I can feel good about leaving him behind.

Links:

Life, Death, and John Prine

Inside The Secret Mind of a 3-year-old: Why they defy you even though they know better and how to handle it with one magic tool: Beyond the “magic tool” that is more complicated than the click-bait part of the title suggests, this was a fascinating article even though my toddler is still a ways off from the defiance phase.

Check out Los Feliz Daycare on Twitter for some laughs.

Patagonia vs. Donald Trump

 

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Rock-climbing with a Toddler

We successfully pulled off a rock-climbing trip with Littlest toddling around! This was a bouldering trip where we both planned to climb, with our rock-climbing club, so about 10 other people. The club had rented a minivan and two mobile homes in a campground near Fontainebleau. We took our car as well which seemed much more manageable given the always present possibility that Littlest will get tired of the car at any moment and start grousing.

Upon arrival we reserved the bathroom in one of the mobile homes for Littlest to sleep in, which meant taking quick showers when we got back in the evening so that we could get him to bed, but which also meant that we were tranquil in the other mobile home eating dinner with everybody.

It wasn’t really all that possible for me to climb in the morning when Littlest was awake. We’d arrive at the boulders at around 10:45 am (we had to wait for the morning dew to dry off) and I would typically get in one or two tries before realizing that Littlest needed my attention and it was his lunchtime anyway. Fortunately he then went down joyfully for his nap in his little tent. There was always some exploratory time in the tent where I could see his little head poking up at the top, but he settled down painlessly within about twenty minutes every day. I highly recommend the tent we bought, a Deryan Child Travel Cot. It opens up super quick and is easy to fold back up. The bottom part is transparent so that air can pass through, and Littlest always seemed to end up with his head there, so I think the breeze was important. But it meant that we had to leave the scene in order for him not to see us and get sad.

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Mornings were wetter than afternoons so we did put his waterproof pants on, which was super cute.

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Once he was napping, I was able to climb freely and am pretty happy with my first outdoor bouldering experience.

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Vacation!

I’m on vacation! I survived the cursed month of March and made it to the spring vacation. I had a lovely but tiring time hosting our exchange partners’ teachers, thankfully with multiple lovely colleagues helping out. All of that along with oral exams, practice exams, grading, and evening meetings, made this the worst March of the past seven years, in terms of workload.

So here we are and what do we have planned? Hanging out with Littlest all day has gotten … umm … boring and annoying (in French there’s one word for both those things). So I’m trying to take him out a couple times a day, pre- and post-nap, for a walk, to a store, to a playground… we’ll see how it goes.

Otherwise, this Thursday we are heading to Fontainebleau to go bouldering with the rock-climbing club for four days. We have been preparing Littlest for this trip for a while, by which I mean buying various pieces of equipment. Using this post from Pregnant Chicken as inspiration, we are now hooked up with:

  1. a toddler camping bed: basically a little tent with a mattress that he can nap in during the day
  2. a harness: yes we are going to leash him to a tree if necessary (and it will probably be necessary)
  3. rain pants and a rain coat: hopefully I can cover him in these and the amount of dirt he gets into won’t matter

So, we’ll see how it goes! It’s rock-climbing trip number three with him and since he changes completely in between trips, one will never be like the others. All of this stuff will be useful for a few years, and we’ll be heading out again on a trip in May.

He will also soon have a little table and chairs thanks to my parents. (But those are staying home.)

Breastfeeding, Part Who’s Counting?

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Seventeen months in and Littlest and I are still breastfeeding. What was so difficult and stressful those first two months has become a long and happy journey. There have been periods of wondering if we might stop, but I haven’t yet really been motivated and Littlest is still all in. I had at one point imagined a plan of eliminating one session starting at Christmas, then another in February, then another in April, but then the Lactalis salmonella contamination happened, and kept happening, and I had no desire to give him anything other than my own milk. So here we are.

He nurses mostly at home these days, though I have occasionally nursed him in very public places (the middle of the rock-climbing gym, for example) and often I think no one actually notices. Our morning nursing session when I wake him up is particularly sweet and followed by a breakfast of solids. I still nurse him at night whenever he wakes up, and night wakings are irregular though typically once per night.

I am still pumping at work. I lost my fabulous pumping office last week though, and French law only requires employers give you a space up till the baby is one year old. At the nanny’s he only drinks about 40 mLs with his afternoon snack, out of a cup. So I am able to pump once every two days. What with another school trip coming up, I may pump every day in order to leave milk with J. However I had to pack up my double electric pump and bring it home, and am now using my hand-held one in the teachers’ lounge toilets—super glamorous, I know, but it does give me access to hot water to wash it and then the same fridge to put the milk away in.

So that’s where we are these days. It’s still a mystery to me how long we’ll keep going.

The Past Week

I remember reading an article online a few years ago complaining about how Americans write “Saint Patty’s Day” instead of “Saint Paddy’s Day,” because Patty is a girl’s name and Paddy is the diminutive for Patrick in Ireland. At the time, I wanted to point out that in American English they are pronounced the same, so who cares. And yet nowadays I find myself a little annoyed every time I see “Saint Patty’s Day” show up on the web.

Anyway for Saint Paddy’s Day yesterday I did dress Littlest up in green this year. Last year I hadn’t yet thought of it as a suitable tradition for his saint’s day, since we aren’t actually practicing Catholics or anything. I took a few pictures of him and hope to do so every year if I can get my act together. Truthfully I’ll probably just have to keep an eye out for green clothes year round, since it’s not really a color anyone seems to buy just casually—at least that Irish kelly green.

This next week should be pretty busy because our Polish students are arriving Wednesday evening and we’ll be hosting one of the teachers here. Fingers crossed Littlest sleeps well! Also his nanny is out sick for the week so we are scrambling to figure out where to put him. This was sort of inevitable at some point so hopefully we will figure out a solution that we can use next time she gets sick.

Some reading:

Changement d’heure, l’argument anti-gaspi tient-il encore ? I still can’t imagine getting rid of winter time here in France, where the sun rises at 8:40 in the dead of winter. Unless we full on changed time zones to line up with England instead of Germany.

Every Excuse The Americans Has Used to Hide Henry Jennings Offscreen I’m way into season five of the Americans right now, and this was funny.

The Wire, 10 years on: ‘We tore the cover off a city and showed the American dream was dead’ Yaaasss the Wire.

Women’s Health Today: Should HIV+ Mothers Breastfeed? Interesting read on a subject I knew basically nothing about.

The Past Week

The past week Littlest has been sick and cranky. I thought it was just a cold but turns out it was severe laryngitis and the beginning of an ear infection. Poor dude. So he got antibiotics and steroids which he is just loving (not). We did manage to get his hair cut again last week at the beginning of the sickness.

I finished the Good Wife, with mixed feelings about the final episode (especially the Diane-Alisha conclusion) but I still have entirely good feelings about the show. Now season 5 of the Americans is on Netflix so I can follow up with that.

March is always intense in terms of work so I’m trying to delegate a little bit more than usual and not take on quite everything that is expected of me. However our Open House day at the lycée falls on Saint Patrick’s Day this year so I AM excited about wearing green to that. I’ll be dressing Littlest in green this year to take a picture of him, hopefully making it a yearly tradition.

Reading this week:

Daily Update On Hildegard Von Bingen’s Health Condition: I did have to look up who she was and she was sort interesting but this is mostly just funny.

Barbie Unveils 17 New Dolls Based On Inspiring Women Like Frida Kahlo And Chloe Kim, And We Want Them All: Yes please for future birthday/Christmas gifts for Littlest (particularly that Amelia Earhart one)

‘RBG’ Documentary Trailer Is Here, And Even More Inspiring Than You Can Imagine

Avec elle, vous êtes tranquilles: This book summary both sucked me in and put me off reading it (but I still sort of want to but omg it looks so stressful and sad).

Mortalité routière : la France mauvais élève en Europe pour la sécurité des enfants sur les routes: Ah HAHA to all our friends who thought it was weird we kept Littlest in his rear-facing seat so long (he’s still in it in my car). COME ON France.

Pas d’écran avant 3 ans, lit de bébé dans la chambre des parents: les conseils du nouveau carnet de santé: A new carnet de santé for French babies with more up to date information (but still nothing about rear-facing carseats). J didn’t believe me when we were expecting Littlest and I told him it was recommended to share a room with the baby the first six months. (Not that we ended up doing that.)

 

Skiing in the Alps 2018

Not that I skied—still not over my last trip.

We got back over a week ago now from our trip to the Alps with J’s family and their friends’ family. I’m still not sold on the whole “winter sports” vacation thing since it seems to be so much effort in planning (where will we fit the skis and snowboards? what about the heavy coats? what do we have to buy this time?) and also there is so much traffic.

There were fifteen of us so we rented a big chalet at a ski station in the Alps—waiting just a little too long to rent meant that there wasn’t that much choice left and so we couldn’t go to the Pyrenees, which would have cut out some driving.

We left Friday night and slept overnight at a hotel in Lyon in order to avoid ten+ hours of driving with Littlest. He was all right about the drive though—but each way there was one point where we had to stop because he was tired of being strapped in.

Anyway, me being more of an introvert than I realized made evenings a little stressful for me, and being tied down with a toddler while everyone else did mostly whatever they wanted was as much fun as I expected it would be—but overall it was a good trip. J skied to his heart’s content, we went on a nice mountain hike together, and Littlest got to ride in his sled and walk in the snow.