The not so great stuff was that Eloise decided to stop showing off her sleeping skills in front of her relatives and put her mom through hell by waking up far too often for my liking. Before we left for France Eloise was waking up twice a night - which had only started recently and which we decided was due to her being hungry and getting ready for solid foods. I remember thinking that this waking up twice a night business was a bit crap and hoping it wouldn't last long. Oh how ungrateful I was. The first few nights in Paris Eloise woke up every 4 hours. Then we spent the night in Fontainebleau just outside Paris and she woke up every 3 hours. Then we spent the night near Montlucon and she woke up every 2 hours. Then we made it to Millau, The Frenchman's home town, and Eloise woke up every hour. Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse... she was not only waking every hour, but towards the end of our trip she decided that sleeping at 4am was for pansies and would wake up and stay awake until 8am.
I also found it difficult to hold my ground as a new mother in front of all our relatives. When I wanted to let her cry for a bit to see if she would calm herself down, I would cave under the worried eye of my mother-in-law and rush to my baby. When I wanted to rush in and comfort her I would wait a minute or two longer than I wanted when my Father would tell me to let her cry it out. Clearly I still need to find my confidence as a Mother. I also need some fucking sleep.
Now on to the good parts.
Eloise met her Grandfather, Papounet for the first time. I do believe she approves. He of course fell madly in love with her.
Eloise started eating solid food. Gone are the days when I can say the chubby cheeks on my kid are all thanks to me. Carrots, Sweet Potato, Broccoli, Banana, and Avocado have started to work their wonders on my child's growing body.
A lot of Eloise's baby friends discovered their feet weeks ago and I was quite disappointed that Eloise was showing no signs of interest in her adorable little feet. Her hands she can stare at like a 16-year-old on acid, but those toes were doing nothing for her. So when I went to go change her a few days before Christmas I was ecstatic to have my diaper changing tactics thwarted by a foot grabbing baby. Best present I got this year.
Eloise also started sitting up for longer than a nano-second (though no one believed me because she'd have fallen over by the time they turned to look).
Not only did Eloise get to spend quality time with grandparents, her two aunts and uncle, but she also got to meet her great-grandmother and great-grandfather. She met a plethora of second cousins or second cousins twice removed or however the hell that works.
My favorite moment was when my brother Kenny, a boy now on the verge of manhood, a boy who I had met when he was only Eloise's age, held my daughter in his lanky arms, forgot about his self-consciously cool teenage persona, closed his eyes and pressed his lips against her forehead. He'd known her for all of an hour. I guess that's all it takes.
All in all it was an amazing trip. Next year we're staying home.