Thursday, 27 January 2011

Hair Cut

We trimmed Eloise's bangs/fringe for the first time. She sat in my lap while the Frenchman snipped away. And no I didn't cry, but yes, I thought about it. She's turning into a little girl!

Here we are showing off our hair cuts. Or is that hair Cutes...? Oh YEAH!

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Dix-septieme et Dix-huitieme mois avec Mademoiselle Eloise

Eloise -

Bear with me here because we got 2 months to cover and you are just shooting off in all sorts of directions of awesome wonder that I’m having a hard time keeping up. I know it’s been a few months that you’ve been walking, but my heart still sings a little ditty whenever I see you run towards me - it sings even louder when I see the back of you walking away, on to the next adventure.

Your nursery song knowledge is ever expanding. You can jump in on the E-I-E-I-O during Old Macdonald, and picked up on Frere Jacques within a week. I love when you sing to yourself, and when I can pick up a familiar tune hidden within your baby take on music, I join in. The look on your face when I start to sing with you - like yes! YOU know what I’m singing about, Mama - you get me - is priceless.

Although I’m not Mama anymore am I? I remember when pregnant, people asked me what you would call me - would it be the French Maman? - The American Mommy? I told them it would be Mama.

Little French girl playing with an onion

Universal. Warm. Big. But Mama was short lived, you have since moved on to a very English Mummy. If you told me when I was 17 and imagining what my future child would call me, Mummy would have been the last thing. But coming from you it is insanely cute. A lot of your words only your father or I can understand. Ba means Banana. Aww Doh means All Done. Jen TOE means Gentle. But Mummy. Mummy comes out clear and precise and with great conviction. And I love it.

One of my biggest concerns was how our relationship would evolve now that we’re done breastfeeding. I worried that I was loosing my magical power to soothe you and bond with you. How silly of me to worry. You quickly found other ways to get the closeness from me you need. Every night when I take you out of your bath wrapped up in your towel and place you on your changing table you immediately shrug off the towel, despite my best efforts to explain that you’ll get cold and to put the towel back on. Instead you prefer to rest your head on my chest, if there is a scarf or a necklace in your way you hurriedly move it out of the way to be sure that the side of your face is in contact with my skin and nothing else. One night I made the mistake of wearing a high neck sweater and you were very grumpy indeed. If I don’t immediately wrap my arms around your little body you will move them there for me. And we stay like that. Your warm face against my chest, my cheek resting on your damp head and my arms cradling you. You have no idea how this moment every night feeds my soul. If I could I would stay there with you till the world fell apart around us, but there are bottoms to be diapered and bedtime stories to be read.

After about 2 weeks you had stopped signing for milk during the day, but if we ever brought you into bed with us in the morning you would still turn to me asking for milk. So we stopped the family morning bed routine (much to your father’s and my chagrin as it afforded us a few more minutes sleep) for a while to help you forget. Then a few weeks ago you weren’t feeling well and kept waking up, finally by 4am we caved in and had you sleep with us. And thankfully you did not ask for milk because I was so tired I just don’t know what would have happened if you did. As you still weren’t yourself the next night, your father slept downstairs and the first time you woke up I took you into bed with me. Let me tell you Eloise, you are one cuddly sleeper. Normally I cannot stand to be touched while sleeping, I practically bite off your father’s head if so much as a knee cap grazes me and have more than once threatened to divide the bed in half with duct tape. But you give me no choice. You start off sleeping more or less on top of me, your head nestled under my neck, and through out the night we do a sleepy dance, you constantly trying to snuggle up as close as you can, like some adorable little animal searching for warmth in the night. It is not a habit I want to make, and it certainly does not make for a good night’s sleep for me, but I do wake up feeling extremely loved.

As ever you are very affectionate. Hugging your father and me whenever the mood strikes you, and lucky parents that we are the mood strikes often. Though your father is slightly miffed that he doesn’t get as many kisses as I do, perhaps you don’t like the spiky beard. You have however found a compromise. When I ask for a kiss, you give me one, when your father asks for a kiss; you push my head towards his so that I will kiss him instead. It is beyond adorable.

You are becoming quite the opinionated little madame. You’ve started choosing your own clothes. You are much more daring in your fashion choices than I am, but you have a great color palette.

You certainly have an opinion on what you eat. Some days it seems like you are running on oranges alone. While it can be frustrating when you refuse a meal I’ve made for you, you’ve developed a sophisticated palette (anchovies and capers? Guinea fowl and truffles?) and you are a very independent eater. So I try my best not to get upset when you have less of an appetite than usual and just let you get on with it. Because while one day you may choose to only eat cereal, the next day you will tuck into lentils and duck with gusto asking for seconds.

This Christmas was wonderful. Simple and cozy and full of love. Your paternal grandparents came over and spoiled you rotten - with gifts yes - but more so with their undivided attention. They spent the entire week just drinking you up and of course you adored every minute.

Thankfully you were on good form appetite wise and really seemed to enjoy the “posh” meals I made for Christmas (Guinea fowl stuffed with truffles with shallots, potatoes and green beans and for Christmas day Game pie with peas and mashed potato). My favorite moment this Christmas was on Christmas Eve. I had put the presents under the tree weeks prior but kept a close eye on you. A part from a few moments of curiosity you mainly left the gifts alone. As is our tradition, we each opened one present on Christmas Eve. You opened your gift, said Wow in your funny little E.T. voice then turned to look at the rest of the wrapped packages underneath the tree, your eyes widened to large blue saucers and we could all see the cogs in your head turning as your mouth dropped open and you finally understood what all those pretty colored boxes under the green tree were.

May there be many more penny-dropping moments of pure wonder in your life Eloise. And may I be lucky enough to bear witness.

Je t’aime


Eloise at 17 months

Eloise at 18 months

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Aren't you glad I shared?

Aaaaaaand we're back after a long hiatus (unplanned hiatus I should specify - turns out I can't cook Christmas dinner, entertain guests, try and keep the house from looking like a bomb site, help Eloise play with all her new presents AND blog at the same time).

So Happy Christmas, Happy New Year etcetera etcetera. I come back from this blogging pause with an announcement...we won worst parents of the week award! (oh, you were totally thinking I was going to say I'm pregnant! or The Frenchman and I are finally going to stop living in sin! well, no).

Eloise woke up this morning after sleeping through the night - a bit of a rarity in this house - at 6:45am. I let her cry a little bit and she fell back asleep for another 45 minutes (sweet!) and at 7:30 I decided she'd been stuck in her crib long enough. The sickly sweet smell of barf hit me like a wall when I opened her bedroom door. I quickly turned on the light and there she was, happily smiling at me covered in pink vomit. Stuck in her hair, dried into her blankets, smeared into her sheet. While our dinner of whole wheat spaghetti with seafood in a cream sauce was delicious last night, the sequel this morning was vile. From the state of her sick I would say she had thrown up well before we went to bed, probably while we were eating our own dinner, drinking a couple glasses of Sauvignon Blanc and commenting on how poor Eloise's cough was pretty loud as it came through the monitor we barely pay attention to these days.

This picture has nothing to do with vomit!

So let me make this clear. My daughter, the one who is a sensitive sleeper, the one who cries at night when she has a cold, when her skin is dry, when she'd rather be showing off some new motor skill she's just acquired. That daughter threw-up a pile of regurgitated crustaceans and then WENT BACK TO SLEEP FOR THE REST OF THE NIGHT.