-Date the use of cell phones while driving was banned in Quebec: April 1st, 2008
-Average number of people I saw talking on a cell phone while driving before the ban (daily): 3
-Average number of people I'm seeing talking on a cell phone while driving since the ban (daily): 3.5
-Number of these people I've seen pulled over by the police to receive a fine: 0
-Number of policewomen I've seen talking on a cell phone while driving a police car: 1
-Number of policewomen I've seen parked illegally at the grocery store, blocking everyone's way, taking her time while chatting boisterously with her friend, even listening to music on the friend's iPod and taking pictures with her cell phone: 1
-Number of times I was pulled over for driving through a yellow light (something I swear I didn't even know was illegal): 1
-Chances that the policemen who pulled me over deliberately tried to terrify LP with the combined effect of blaring sirens, knocking on the car window with his stick and talking really loudly and rudely (he succeeded very well): Pretty high
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
-Date the use of cell phones while driving was banned in Quebec: April 1st, 2008
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
This week is LP's last at his current daycare, before he moves to another one that's part of the same network. I've blogged before about our daycare system and about how last year we won the parenting lottery by being offered an extremely coveted and hard to come by government-subsidized $7 a day spot, in an amazing place. Well, as much as we like our daycare, when we were offered a chance to transfer at the end of the year, we decided to jump on it. It was a difficult decision, but one we felt we should still take.
See, our little magical place was less than ideally located, about 15-20 minutes from our house, but farther away from the city (where we both work), which meant that every day we add over an hour to our commute. There's a lot of traffic, and it is generally really painful, especially in the winter. The other daycare, however, is about a 3 minute drive from our home, and it's already on our way, same exit and all.
I guess it will be alright, even better than alright: it's the same organization, same director, and some of the personnel is shared. But it's just that we were used to something really outstanding, and this place seems ever-so-slightly less so. The building is older (dated '80-ish), smaller and less perfectly adapted to young kids, the yard seems tiny and I've heard that the food is less good. But then, I feel like I shouldn't even have the right to complain about this, with so many parents not being able to obtain a spot at such a great and inexpensive place anyway. I'm not sure LP will even see a difference -it's not like he'll come up to me one night and tell me that he really preferred the food the other chef made.
The bottom line I think is that we'll go from exceptional to very good, which is still fine, but a slight drop nonetheless. Both our neighbor's kids went there, and they only had positive things to say (but of course they never saw the newer, bigger location.) After a few days of adjustment (M is taking a few days off next week to ease the transition), I have no doubt LP will be just as happy as he is now. And for the whole family, it will make such a difference: the gift of time, and with it, the gift of being more relaxed. An hour each day really adds up. And LP will in the end spend more time with us, really, a win-win situation.
Even if I'm counting the days left in driving there to pick him up, it's all weirdly emotional for me to know that it will soon be over. The "éducatrices" are all heartbroken. Every year at the beginning of the school year, the kids change groups and "teachers," but the girls still get to see "their" children all the time, for the next four years at least. They really don't want him to leave, but at the same time they understand... While still wishing there was another way.
It feels odd that we will not get to see these women anymore. After a year of seeing them every day, of leaving our precious child into their hands, of sharing basically everything, suddenly we will never hear from them again. I know that it's all part of the game; after all, this is how it works at school. But "teaching" a 6 year-old is a completely different thing than taking care of a baby/young toddler... We will never have such a close communication with teachers and there will never be such a close bond between our son and them. These women have rocked, cuddled, hugged, kissed, consoled, diapered and fed him, put him to sleep, cheered on all his amazing development in the last year... It was like we were part of a team -united in loving our son and trying to ensure of his optimal well-being-, exchanging information each day about his health and mood, his appetite, his behavior, his napping schedule, even his bowel movements. In the end, they were a really big part of our lives, they ended up knowing almost everything about us, and they were truly loving LP like their own.
At his new daycare, LP is also leaving the haven of the nursery... As a new year begins, there will be new babies, and he won't be among the youngest kids anymore. This is one of those things that hit me about how fast he's growing up, and I find it very bittersweet. Putting him in daycare was by far the most difficult thing I've ever done, a little bit because I didn't want to leave him, and a lot because he took it VERY hard during the first month. I remember how it was a year ago, the first few times I left my wailing 8 month-old child into other people's arms, knowing perfectly well that he would still be out-of-control hysterical when I came back, even though we increased the time I left him there very slowly and gradually. How as I turned my back it felt like I was dying inside, and how I was crying in the car like a helpless person. I knew we had to go on, I knew he would adjust, I knew it was the right and only thing to do, but still, my heart didn't want to listen. It took some time, longer than most kids, but it worked, and looking back, it was also one of the best things we've done. Going to the daycare has helped smooth his personality so much... And countless times, I've seen how he simply loves being there.
Things have changed so much in a year... He went from barely sitting to running and climbing, to going on the slide alone, to talking all the time, to displaying affection and expressing humor. The abrupt transition is making me reflect on all of that a lot.
So goodbye, beloved daycare... Goodbye caretakers who've done a stellar job, and goodbye all the other kids whom LP loves so much, and who in the past year have been like the siblings he doesn't have. We will be ready for a new place, new "teachers," and new friends. New challenges, as well (potty training, anyone?).
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Although only someone from a Third World country could truly consider us rich, you'll never hear me complain about our standard of living. We're lucky to both have good jobs, we have a house which is old and imperfect but which we made our own, we're above average and we don't really have (serious) money-related headaches. It could always be better, because really there's no limit, but it could also be much worse.
Still, I drive one of the most inexpensive cars on the market (which I bought not solely based on this factor but rather because it was a good value, reliable, with great gas mileage and remarkable eco-friendliness). And except for a few items (like winter coats, an adorable Ben Sherman checkered shirt or that WornFree "No Pictures" t-shirt which is a replica of one Debbie Harry wore 30 years ago), I've never bought any clothes for my son that cost more than $25. I just don't think it's worth it! There is amazingly cute stuff out there that's really cheap, and you always need to keep in mind that it'll get stained, washed a lot, and overgrown soon. This is how I'm thinking, and this is also why I want our wedding to remain at a decent cost (which you should never forget is still more than what many people make in a whole year in a lot of countries), equally because it does not make sense to us to spend this much on a single day than because we couldn't necessarily afford it.
Now, I've always viewed the "éducatrices" (sort of degreed "teachers" for kids that are too young to go to school) at LP's daycare like I view waitresses or nurses: doing overwhelmingly feminine jobs that are both incredibly difficult and underappreciated. The "éducatrices" are always women who love children a little more than your average Jane, and I guess their job fulfills their need in this way but at the same time, wow, I could never do what they are doing, especially with the younger kids. Can you imagine 10 babies/young toddlers who cry all the time, can't really express themselves, fall down a lot, have different napping schedules, need to be diaper changed and then need to be potty trained? I do like kids, but I would lose my sanity in a record amount of time.
Being so generally underappreciated, I had always assumed that they were also underpaid. I can remember them (all unionized) being on strike a few years ago, because they didn't earn nearly as much as similar public-sector jobs that require the same level of education and are traditionally performed by men. But was I wrong, or did they hit the jackpot with their new contracts? Because this week, I've been asking myself whether I was at the right place. I saw one of them drive off in her brand new Volvo, while the next day another one arrived in a few years old Beamer. Then, I overheard one girl talk about the clothes she had bought her pre-school age daughter: a $235 dress? A $399 winter coat? I don't think I ever spent that on one item for dressing myself. Is her daughter Suri Cruise and I didn't know it?
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Ever true to himself, LP talks and talks and talks up a storm. I am stopping myself from writing about it all the time, for fear of becoming incredibly boring and redundant. How many times can I repeat that his language development is the most fantastic and impressive thing for us by far, that it's truly astounding to watch him take giant leaps into the (notoriously difficult) French language, learning over 10 new words -including verbs in different tenses, adverbs, abstract concepts...- every day by now?!
A few days ago he spontaneously started to say "Merci!" (Thank you!) when we give him something, take his food away after a meal, etc. I'm all for politeness, but I had not really started teaching it to him yet, thinking he was way too young.
Last week, in my arms, with a friend's baby nearby: "En bas, voir le bébé" (Down, see the baby)
All the time during the last few weeks, with a very dramatic tone: "Ha non, ... ... (Oh no!, plus two words, for instance "Ha non, le lait!" (Oh no, the milk!) when dropping his cup, or even "Ha non, la pluie!" (Oh no, the rain! when we got out of a store during a downpour).
This morning, when I put on a long-sleeved sweater on him for the first time in a few months: "Non, ça pique!" (No, it itches!)
Right after my sister's wedding, pointing to a beautiful historical train station with very ornate architecture: "Regarde le château" (Look (at) the castle -a word I swear I never taught him).
While I was rinsing his hair in the bathtub, something that he HATES: "Non maman, bobo" (No mommy, boo-boo) Me: "Where do you have a boo-boo?" Him, pointing to his ears: "Ici le bobo" (Here the boo-boo) Me, thinking: Am I really having a relatively articulate conversation with my one year-old during which he's telling me about something he feels...?
Hundreds of times a day in the last few days: "Cé quoi ça? Cé qui ça?" (What's that?, who's that? He uses both expressions interchangeably, and not always correctly)
As we walked a friend and her young son back to their car after a visit: "Bye-bye, le bébé! Bye-bye, la maman!" (Bye-bye, the baby! Bye-bye, the mommy!)
Arriving home yesterday, shunning his usual watermelon wedge or all-natural-fruit-juice popsicle, opening the freezer door by himself and taking out the crescent rolls: "Un croissant, maman" (something I've just never given him as a snack, and another word I have never taught him).
Seeing the waffle maker on the kitchen counter: "Veux des gaufres, des gaufres! (he pronounces "gauches") (Want waffles, waffles!)
Thursday, August 14, 2008
I didn’t necessarily planned on getting married after becoming a mother, but this is what happened and this is our own timeline. Ever since the wedding planning began (we’re largely still in the "ideas phase" rather than in the "active phase"), I’ve been thinking a lot about LP’s role in the whole thing. It’s pretty clear to us that our son will be completely involved in the wedding, because it is just as much a celebration of our family than it is a celebration of our relationship. We are still a couple, of course, and I honestly hope we can continue to see each other this way for the longest time possible. But becoming parents changed our lives so much, and raising a child together is such an important part of who we are, that there are really three people involved in this process.
I am trying to look for examples, for some sort of "role models" on how this is usually done. This is how I am: I like to see what other brides-to-be are doing, getting inspired by how they plan their day (the Web is such a fantastic source of ideas, and visiting wedding blogs reassures me every day in my belief that I can pull off a fabulous wedding on little money). It wasn’t too hard to find brides who more or less think like me (outside-the-box and "practically"), but at the same time none of them share my own little reality: I simply cannot let myself go on too many flights of fancy and daydreaming when I have a little one requiring my constant attention in very specific, pragmatic ways. I am thrilled to be a bride, but being a mom will always takes precedence!
I can only think of a few weddings including the newlyweds’ children (even here in Quebec, where marrying after having kids is, although not a norm, still slightly more common than in the rest of Canada or the US). I remember the wonderful South of France wedding of a friend from my hometown, and the way she held her cutiepie 18 month-old daughter during the whole ceremony. The groom’s father, an eloquent Frenchman who delivered a speech at the church, asked the priest to "forgive them for their obvious sin." It was a half-joke and everyone kind of laughed (although somewhat uncomfortably), but I was still taken aback and thought it was pretty inappropriate. I just hate the word sin, so intertwined with the very Catholic concept of guilt. How could one ever consider a child, so full of life and joy, probably more precious to her parents than their very own lives, a sin? And I really don’t want to offend anyone here, but I mean, just because you do not show up to the altar with a child certainly doesn’t mean that you haven’t "sinned."
I much prefer the few other accounts I’ve had of marrying parents who told me of a really positive experience: the children who were supremely excited about the event, who talked about it fondly for years after, the fact that is was "the whole family’s wedding". This is exactly what I want to focus on: although certainly not conventional and not for everyone, isn’t there something incredibly appealing about sharing this special day with your children, (among) the most important people in your entire life and the ultimate product of your love, of having them witness your commitment, with the pictures to tell and the memories to share forever?
As I was pondering this post this morning, I was really pleasantly surprised to see the amazing story of a wedding involving long-time partners and parents to two little boys on a popular wedding blog called A Practical Wedding. I could not thank San Francisco blogger Meg enough for providing me an example of a wedding that I can entirely identify with, at last! And what a beautiful West Coast, low-key, simple and heartfelt wedding it appears to have been. I was starting to feel like we were the only parents who decide to tie the knot! I’m so glad that I’ll be able to refer to this event and see the boundless love of a family, instead of the usual "how to avoid emotional pitfalls when dealing with stepchildren" you get when you google including your children in your wedding.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
I’m the written version of a chatterbox, and in general I like to leave comments when I visit a site I enjoy or add my two cents to a topic I especially relate to… In the last few days, however, I experienced a very unpleasant backlash for the first time, and it’s making me rethink a lot of things. (That, plus another very personal event I want to discuss later, to some extend.) Rethinking whether I am actually thick-skinned enough for all of this, my own blogging included.
On a parenting website I pretty much live by, I found myself unwillingly put at the center of a very heated online debate regarding women who work vs. those who stay home. What started as a simple comment regarding a situation I once found myself into resulted in an exchange of rather nasty and personal replies and comments, some directly targeted to me. I’m always a bit surprised how some topics are so controversial and end up being taken so personally by people. Among them, breastfeeding and staying home with your children or not are especially sensitive, the “religion” and “politics” of our new century, I guess. It’s like at some point there is no way to simply exchange points of views as adults anymore, but it rather becomes an irrational issue which completely exceeds the topic in question and lets way to many past personal frustrations.
I don’t know why I care that I get understood correctly and that I’m not perceived as judgmental by strangers, I really shouldn’t. But I do. I know that in this type of empty debate no one really listens, but everyone rather only tries to shout the loudest. Still, being called “shallow and short-minded”, then served all the usual crap about the “idyllic” stay-at-home mom, who has a clean house and happy kids vs. the working mom who’s disheveled, stuck in the rat race and whose family is “neglected and in crisis” hurt me more than it should have.
I know how both difficult and valuable it can be to stay at home, but frankly, as I tried to reply, I think happy and balanced families have little to do with whether the mom works outside the home or not. Good, loving moms who care and have an honest set of values and priorities will succeed in making it work, no matter what. There are always bad, anecdotal examples you could use for trying to prove your own point: on one hand, disorganized and disconnected working moms, on the other hand, lazy and dumb stay-at-home moms who aren’t doing their kids a favor by caring for them. For most people, however, nothing is ever this black-and-white.
Nonetheless, it hit me where it hurts because like any other working mom, I do experience some guilt towards not spending a lot of time with my son, and about imposing our schedule to him. Our routine works really well I must say, as the months go by we’re getting better at it, and I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything because we have plenty of bonding time and I see that LP is happy, not affected by it in any way. But still, there are specific situations sometimes which I would prefer to avoid altogether, like for example slightly pressing him to finish his breakfast because we’ve got to go, when I know that the binding concept of time will hit him soon enough and that for now, he just wants to play.
I think I’m discerning enough to know that these situations happen in all families, however. All families will have their specific stressful situations, moments-to-forget, as well as their specific episodes of so-so parenting judgment! Portraying working women as stressed out and “slaving away at menial jobs” seems just as wrong to me as portraying stay-at-home moms as necessarily lazy and stupid. The truth is in both cases, life ain’t always easy. Whether you have a job or not, except for a few moments of sparkle here and there which make it all worthwhile, life means going to bed every night and knowing that it will all need to be started again tomorrow, whether traffic and work, or cooking, cleaning and watching soap operas, or caring for a disabled relative, or simply trying to keep on top of it all. Kids grow up too fast, the fridge empties itself too fast, the laundry hampers fill themselves up too fast, and there you go, a year has gone and you need a new calendar.
People who took part in the debate often pointed out that most women have unrewarding, borderline degrading jobs anyway, as if staying at home was all at once easy and extremely fulfilling, and provided the leisurely free time of an 18th-century French royalty member. Are we really living in the same reality? The woman who “called me names” even cited the frequent sex her husband was having (since “she’s not burned out all the time”) as one of the greatest perks for her staying at home. Seriously? What does this have to do with anything??? I simply wish we wouldn’t idealize staying at home any more than we should idealize the workplace, which is yes, sometimes repetitive and debilitating. Just like cleaning toilets and changing poopy diapers.
I was lucky enough to have a long mat leave and during that time when I was actually a stay-at-home mom, I’m sorry to say that things were not running as smoothly as that woman would like to make it look. Taking care of a baby was pretty much consuming all of my time, the house wasn’t actually much better tended than it is now, and it’s not exactly like I had long quiet afternoons of cake baking and reading. Being a woman is great and I am lucky enough to live in an era which gives me choices, but at the same time, being a woman is tough by nature, and despite all the opportunities, it means women probably still have to make more sacrifices and take up more on their shoulders, whatever their own life path.
I know I somehow asked for it by leaving a comment expressing my opinion on that site, and so far my readership on this blog is not important enough to have generated such stormy reactions. But it made me aware that by doing this, writing about my life and sometimes about anything that randomly goes through my head, I’m exposing myself to it, and I’m not sure that’s what I want. Just sayin’.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Seems to have been LP's motto as soon as he was out of the womb...
Yesterday a colleague brought his 4-week old daughter for a visit, and of course I couldn't believe how tiny she was (she's huge now compared to when she was born!, he replied), and couldn't believe that LP had once been this small, only last year. But what struck me the most was how "babylike" she looked. The jerked movements, the obliviousness. All newborns are like that, of course. But "consciousness" appears to come to babies at different stages, and since it will all even out in the end, I think that the later, the better (or more exactly the easier) for the parents! A few houses from ours, there's a little girl who who was born about six months after LP, and who'll eventually be in his class. We see them almost every evening after dinner, as we're all walking around with the strollers. And every time I'm surprised by how different from LP she looks, with her babylike features, her babylike cries, the way she holds herself, still a little bit hunched like when babies first start to sit but their bodies has not caught up with it yet. She's about one now, and only recently has she started to have that little spark in her eyes, like she's finally aware of what's going on around her.
I only remember LP being like that for a few weeks. Very, very early on, he just seemed to be "all there," fully conscious, and completely focused on overcoming this very annoying "baby" stage as quickly as possible. At three weeks, he was not only following us around with his eyes, but also distinctively watching TV, although for short periods of time, obviously (I wouldn't have counted on him to dissert on Lost's convoluted plots). At five weeks, he was smiling, not "gas smiles" but full-on social smiles; that's when he wasn't wailing of course. I have a little video of him at two months where he's babbling incessantly, probably asking us to stop treating him like a baby at once.Here he is all 10 weeks of age, with a slight "I've seen it all" air to him already...
I've mentioned it often, but he was a VERY difficult baby, to say the least. From about three weeks until about 6 months, it was pretty much hell. We ruled out every single possible physical cause to his extreme fussiness, to finally realize that it was simply his personality. Being a baby was definitely not for him. We'll never know what caused that awful period, but my observation and intuition (which is rarely wrong) tells me that it mostly had to do with the fact that he became fully aware very quickly, and that he hated being trapped in a body that could not do anything, hated not being able to express himself.
Apart from those very early weeks, he never looked so much as a baby than as a "little man." I never liked dressing him in too baby-ish clothes and much preferred him looking like a -unknowingly- cool teenager, but anyway these didn't work on him at all. The footed PJs and other soft, one-piece suits looked completely wrong on him, and he just seemed to hate them. "Get me out of those friggin' mortifying baby clothes!" I imagined he wanted to say, in a Stewie- from-Family-Guy fashion.
Four months old...
Not yet five months old, during our first family vacation
Later that day, for the first time, he eagerly wolfed down chunky applesauce the 9-month old daughter of the people we were visiting rejected because she found it too textured. All the while he totally made me feel like I had waited way too long to finally feed him food, and it seemed I could never reach the next culinary stage quickly enough. He now eats (almost) anything and has been having the same food as we have since he was about 10 months old.
8 months old, in Bermuda
I remember that during that trip (a cruise, which meant we spent a lot of time on the ship bumping into the same people), everyone thought that he was between 18 months and 2 years old. It took us by surprise every time. If it was the case, did people think that there was something wrong with him since he didn't talk nor walk?
His first birthday party
As soon as he became more mobile, more "independent", and more capable of expressing himself (through sounds, facial expressions and gestures more than through language at this point, although he already said 7 or 8 words by then), things got much, much easier. Turning one was a good period for him!
Now one and a half, he has definitely left babyhood, and makes sure that we know that as much as he knows that. He funnily continues to reject everything that he associates with babies: high chairs, changing pads, bottles, baby toys, baby clothes... Nothing annoys him more than someone trying to help him eat. He calls "babies" children that are actually bigger than him, suggesting that his own self-image is somewhat skewed (but isn't the case for all of us?) He likes his toys, of course, but really not as much as he likes playing with real life stuff and imitating everything we do.
The "big" boy. Sometimes I wish I could freeze his cuteness forever!
Plus he'll soon be able to microwave his own meals!
Last night I made one of my favorites 5-minute dinners (instant Chinese egg noodles, lightly sauteed with shrimp, a bag of fresh, shredded cole slaw veggies, scallions and Asian stir-fry sauce. Yum!). I gave LP a fork, but when he saw us eating with chopsticks, he wouldn't have any of it.
Watching him wresting with them, and somehow succeeding in bringing food into his mouth, was really hilarious!
He's already started asking for no-way foods to eat, like chocolate for breakfast a couple of weeks ago, or chips this morning ("dé tsips maman!") What's next, he'll want a beer with daddy while they're watching their Sunday afternoon sports? He knows babies don't drink but after all he's NOT one of them!
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Saturday was my middle sister's wedding to her longtime partner. All in all, it was a really heartfelt, simple, and fun day, a celebration much like the brides themselves. I had never been to a same-sex wedding before, and we didn't really know what to expect, but except for the MC who, out of habit, kept saying "les nouveaux mariés" (a plural formulation in French which means the newlyweds but implies that at least one of the parties is masculine -the correct expression would have been "les nouvelles mariées"), it turned out to be remarkably similar to any other wedding: filled with emotions, proud parents, tears, expressions of deep and true love...
I am really happy to live in a country in which same-sex unions are legal. That her relationship was recognized just like everyone else's meant a lot to my sister, and she was so happy to now be able to call her soulmate "my wife". Like I said during my bridesmaid toast, I am very proud of her for having had the courage to accept who she was and not be ashamed of it, however hard it still is sometimes (even in this very progressive society).
I did the flowers of course and this time I did not forget to take (several) pictures...
Here's the finished result: I was thinking that it was probably the only time I would need to do two brides' bouquets!
Here are the flowers as I first took them home. The sunflowers were not part of the wedding but rather a nice gift from the florist, I guess as a token of appreciation for having given him some good business lately (with both my sisters getting married within a month!)
There were also two bridesmaid bouquets, 10 boutonnieres (including one for LP, the ring bearer!) and two arrangements for the reception hall. There were pale pink roses with a hint of fuchsia, pink Asian lilies, pink freesias, white orchids, white calla lilies and hydrangeas. Those came from my own garden, therefore I was able to pull this off for only 120$! The hydrangeas first bloomed in white, but they turned green overnight a few days before the wedding. At first I was wondering what to do, but I finally decided to go on with them and I'm really glad I did! First because pink and green is a really pretty and chic combination, and second because they highlighted green accents present in all the other flowers, and especially the calla lilies and the orchids. The ribbon cost about 20$ and was bought at an amazing sewing accessories store in NYC called M&J Trimming. While there, I also got a smaller version of the same ribbon to use on the ring cushion (which my mom made for a song). It was lovely!
The ceremony took place at the City Hall in Quebec City, and the reception was held at a nice venue overlooking the St.Lawrence River. The weather forecast was 80% chance of heavy rain, but in the end we had none, and there were even a few stray sunshine rays.
The brides... Sis is on the right...
I just love family portraits... Let's just say we have not had many of those since my parents got divorced 17 years ago... Other sis looks so tiny for 5 months pregnant! (Totally unlike me, alas!)
I'll be adding more pictures soon, at the very least of cutie LP in his wedding attire (M did not look bad at all either). It might take a little while, since I have to wait until the brides come back from their New England honeymoon (Boston, Cape Cod, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Martha's Vineyard). Bon voyage, les filles!
Monday, August 4, 2008
I recently wrote about how we were wondering what to do with LP's pacifier. Well, now, it is mostly gone, or rather I must say that it is mostly confined to the crib. There were a few times when we gave in, but overall tremendous progress has been made.
It all started really well last Saturday, when LP behaved perfectly during a long stint at the grocery store. I was amazed, thinking surely this cannot be that easy? He usually likes the grocery store, where he wants to hold everything ("Coli!" he leaps with joy when he sees the green vegetable, among his favorites. "Ti-tron!" he enthuses over bright yellow lemons. "Melon!!!!" he shouts with glee, unable to hold himself anymore at this point.) At the end though, and especially during the "long" wait at the self-service register, he's usually bored and ready to move. "Go maman!," he says emphatically (funnily enough, in English). But this time he passed the test with flying colors even without his comforting paci, maybe because I had gotten him a few articles of clothing (Joe makes some great stuff, and everything was on sale!) and for some reason he loves playing with hangers.
On Monday though, we went to my little corner fruit and vegetable store, one of those great places that are only open during the summer, and where you can get outstandingly fresh local produce on the cheap. It was only a five-minute stop, and he usually loves that place, where he makes many friends. But as soon as we got there, he exploded into an unexplainable tantrum, with no rhyme or reason to it, and I really could tell it was one of those moments where the paci would have been a great fix. I simply hate these situations, during which you just know that everyone is looking at you thinking: "There you go, another bad parent, another uneducated brat!" There was another kid about the same age, who wasn't saying a word, and I could tell that the mother was feeling very smug and righteous. There was really a sad lifelessness about her boy though, and I have to say that even with the tantrums and the roller coaster intensity, I much prefer having a kid who's just really lively and expressive. Fortunately the classic "awful tantrum in stores" thing has not happened to us that often, but I still never know what to do when it does, and I mostly just try to stay calm and composed, go about my business and get the hell out of there ASAP, without paying too much attention to him (and thus making him "win.") On Wednesday, unfortunately, he did the same when I picked him up at the daycare, and then history repeated itself on Thursday, when his dad brought him to the golf store and he was having a blast on the putting green, until it was time to go.
Generally, LP was much moodier, emotional and whinier than usual. The paci was definitely missed, but then I can tell he's also quite tired these days (his naps are longer than before, but lately he just won't be put to bed until very late, because of a combination of growing up, late daylight, having had his routine broken by our vacation, and us being generally more relaxed during the summer. We like to do a family activity after dinner instead of going straight to the bathtub, whether it is walking, playing a little basketball at the nearby elementary school, rollerblading, biking, playing in the pool, accompanying daddy at the putting range, going to the slides at the park, etc. The weather is so bad this year that we try to be outside as much as we can when it's not pouring rain, and figure that it does LP some good too!)
He sometimes asked for the paci and sometimes just cried aimlessly, unable to express what was missing. We just gave it to him a few times, since I figured the important thing was to gradually phase it out, not necessarily traumatize him with going cold turkey. We spent the weekend with family as it was my other sister's wedding (more on that when I get some pictures), and surprisingly everyone told me that they thought 18 months was still early to take it out. Funny how child rearing concepts widely vary from person to person!
The baby days seem so long gone! He was the official ring bearer at the wedding, although of course it meant I had to escort him. He kept on hugging a little girl, wanting to kiss her but not really knowing how, which was the most hilarious thing ever. I already have to watch him around girls?!!! In the last few days, he had another one of those sudden, noticeable language progressions, and he yet again completely amazes us with what he says, remembers and/or at least points to (dinosaure (dinosaur), papillon (butterfly...)) On Friday as we were driving back home, I pointed at kids playing soccer in a park and said: "Regarde, ils jouent!" (Look, they're playing!) And he immediately replied: "Y zouent... ballon" (They're playing... ball).
He never wants to go in his high chair anymore, but would much rather have his meals at the table with us on his booster seat. This morning, after breakfast, he asked to be seated on his dad's chair, and pretended to drink coffee and read the paper. All weekend long, he was all too eager to meet and "talk" to people, not minding at all being left with them for "long" periods of time... I'm just so proud of him, of how he's really come a long way, my sweet
little big boy.