Feeling grown-up

Sometimes it’s the little things that can make the difference between feeling grown-up and feeling like you’re still faking it. For whatever reason having a baby doesn’t actually help me feel grown-up. I suspect it’s because most of the time as a new parent, you feel quite incompetent, so it’s a lot more faking it than most non-parents realize . . .

This week at work there was a big financing thing to send off to the government, and it meant dealing with auditors and courriers, and triple checking numbers, and getting signatures, etc. It was a relief to finally send it off, and while it wasn’t really a “little” thing, the fact that I was the one to send it and not my more senior colleague felt pretty good (even if technically it was because she was out that day). Just being the one to have the final say whether something is ready or not definitely made me feel like a grown-up.

There was also my first “lunch” at work this week. Most days, around 11am, we all look around the open space and ask “So, what are we doing for lunch?”. I’ve heard everyone else say “Oh, I have a lunch today” at least once (in French they all say “J’ai un lunch” which makes me laugh and cry at the same time). So this week it was my turn! I finally worked up the courage to ask someone from another department if she wanted to eat lunch together. This may not seem like a big deal to some people, but I am quite shy/awkward, and even eating in the cafeteria is hard for me since I’m a classic introvert who needs lots of alone time. If she wasn’t fairly new to the company, and if she hadn’t mentioned it in passing one day (“oh, we should do lunch to talk about xyz”) and if my colleague hadn’t agreed to go with me, I never would have done it. In the end, my colleague couldn’t go, so I was on my own, and more than a little nervous. It felt like being a freshman and asking to sit with a senior varsity (insert popular sport in your school) player at lunch. But of course it went fine, because being a grown-up is not only sometimes like high school . . .

And finally, the most grown-up thing I did this week was renew my monthly train pass BEFORE the end of the month instead of remembering on the way to the train station and waiting in the huge line the first morning of the month and being late to work.

Crazy week

This week has just kicked everyone’s butts. This three-day weekend could not have been timed better.

It all started last weekend, when a friend came over to do some baking. About a week before bébé was born, I went to a “tupperware party” for Guy Demarle cooking products, and they’ve been sitting in their bag ever since they were delivered a few weeks after he was born. Last Saturday, the friend who invited me to the party (and who recently took the same patisserie classes  as I did last year) came over and I FINALLY used almost everything that I bought. While I’ve made a few things over the past 10 months, I haven’t done any serious baking since before bébé was born. Most weekends we spend cooking and preparing his food, so it was nice to do something for the grown-ups instead!

We were just going to make a pâte à choux to make eclairs and religieuses, but we ended up making escargots au chocolat as well. It was a good thing we did, because it meant easy and quick breakfasts for most of the week, though the eclairs were pretty much gone by Sunday night!

pastry

Saturday night was our date night, so my brother-in-law came over to babysit. But he called us around 9:30 to say bébé had thrown up! He’s never done that before (spitting up is something different), so we rushed home to find a very sad, sick baby. His tooth was finally cutting through the gums, which was hurting him like crazy, plus he was a little regular sick too. BIL did great though, and handled it very calmly, especially considering that at 22, he’s never really been around babies that much besides ours. I do wonder if maybe bébé was also kind of freaked out to wake up in pain and not see his parents, but I think he was just in tons of pain and would have been sick no matter who had been there.

After a night without much sleep, Sunday was pretty miserable for everyone, but we knew that teething is never a fun experience. So unfortunately we started the week without the usual chill weekend to regain a bit of energy, and for me at least, this week at work was always going to be rough with someone on vacation and a new intern to train.

Somehow we struggled through on even less sleep than usual, but bébé still had a runny nose and was pulling his ears more than usual, then my husband started feeling sick too. He ended up being put on sick leave for Thursday and Friday by the doctor, and bébé stayed home from the nanny’s. Ear infection and cold for bébé, pharyngitis for my husband. It’s interesting because bébé seems to get sick every three months, so we’ll see what happens in August  . . .

Of course by now, I’m starting to get a sore throat too, but tomorrow we’re headed up to MIL’s so at least we’ll have some help for the next few days. It’s the annual football fête this weekend in her town, and hopefully we’ll all be able to have a little fun despite not feeling our best. For last year’s fête I was almost 8 months pregnant, so it’ll be nice to be able to walk around normally and fully sample all the different food and drinks this year.

Ten months

My tenth monthly letter to my baby boy.

Dear bébé,

This month you’ve been “on the move” in more ways than one!

Crawling is fully acquired, and you can go fast enough to make the cat nervous. You always have a big smile for momma when she gets home from work and you crawl to her as fast as you can. You hold up your arms to get picked up, and you’re a little cuddlier this month than the past few months. You’ve given a few “kisses” lately, which were really just opening your mouth and putting it on a cheek or a nose. A little icky, but very cute. You probably like to do it because it makes everyone laugh, and you love people laughing. Giving kisses or “tickling” momma and daddy’s feet and tummies makes everyone laugh.

If you’re held up by your arms, you can stand and do a little dance. You’ve even started to push up on things a bit to try and stand on your own. But walking and standing don’t seem to be your priorities quite yet. Still a few more months until you’re running around the apartment. You seem to be focusing more on mastering your hands. Banging your stacking cups together always makes you smile. You’ve started bringing your hands together, maybe to sign “more”, maybe to try and clap, or maybe both. You smile when other people clap.

You smile a lot, actually. You still don’t have any teeth, so it’s an adorable gummy smile. No teeth hasn’t stopped you from eating bananas, however, and you even manage to get a few pieces in your mouth yourself sometimes. Usually you prefer when someone else feeds you though, since it’s faster. You get breastfed in the morning and at night, and bottles during the day. Plus yoghurt and fruit for breakfast, veggies and chicken for lunch, and more fruit and veggies in the afternoon. You can hold your bottle, but haven’t figured out you need to tip your head back to drink from it. But you eat and drink plenty with help, and you’re growing right on schedule.

Most of your onesies are 12 month sizes. A few 6 month jackets still fit, and the rest of your clothes are mostly 9 month. Your hair is still getting a tiny bit lighter, but no haircuts this month, even though you could use one. Everyone comments on what beautiful big blue eyes you have. Your dry skin has almost disappeared, so maybe it was just a cold weather reaction, rather than a food reaction.

You had a great time on your first family vacation to Bordeaux. You saw (and felt!) the ocean for the first time, and really enjoyed crawling in the sand. Crawling in the grass at the park near home is not something you like, however. Expressing your likes and dislikes is happening more and more, and your personality is starting to show. You’re pretty chill and happy about most things, as long as it’s new and interesting. You get grumpy when you’re tried and hungry, which is normal. You’re still waking up once at night to eat, but really just a few minutes, then right back to sleep. Though there are still more than a few nights when you wake up a second time for some unknown reason and then everyone is grumpy the next day. Momma and daddy are still going to bed around 9 to try and get as much sleep as possible to be able to keep up with you during the day.

Babbling is starting to become a little bit more intentional. “Dadadadada” definitely comes out more often when you see daddy. “Buh” and “guh” sounds are fairly common. But your favorite sound to make right now is “yahyahyahyah.” Maybe it means “yes” or “hi” or maybe you just like the noise, or the feeling it makes in your mouth. You make a clicking noise as well when you’re particularly happy, which worried momma until Dr. Google assured her that lots of babies do it and you’re not spontaneously speaking Khosian. You’re getting about even input from French and English; more French on the weekends spent with mamie, and more English the weeks momma is on vacation.

So all the elements are in place for walking, talking, and developing into an independent little guy. Momma and daddy are having so much fun with you right now, figuring out who you are and who you’re becoming. You seem so big yet so tiny at the same time. This is definitely one of the fun ages, and watching you explore and test your independence is exciting and sad all at the same time. Your babyhood is reaching its end, and toddlerhood is right around the corner. This nice in-between time is something really special.

Bisous & kisses,

Your momma

 

Bébé’s future royal wife

For a few days in July of 2013 I was glued to the television and live feeds online to catch the first glimpse of Prince George. My husband put up with it because a) he loves me and b) while waiting to find out the gender, I made both blue and pink cookies to take to work and he got to eat the pink ones. While my husband’s own birthday celebrations yesterday meant I couldn’t follow the coverage in the same way this year, I am currently in the middle of making pink cookies for work tomorrow.

I unashamedly love all things royal. Being at the right age that I could have theoretically married either English prince probably helps. You “grow up” with them, but in a different way than pop or movie stars. They didn’t spend high school on a tour bus, or in exotic locations filming movies. They actually went to high school. Sure, it was a private, expensive one, but you know their lives were probably much closer to “normal” than Justin Bieber or Britney Spears.

So as we all grow up, it’s fun to note when things in my life sometimes seem similar to William and Kate’s: I studied art history at college, my husband is a few months younger than me, we got married on the 29th of the month, our baby boy was born in July . . . Okay, so maybe that’s it! Though tere’s also the whole “outsider coming into a situation governed by rules that are hard to adapt to” that I could compare to being an expatriate, but I’m pretty sure Kate had to deal with slightly more complicated things than bises and apéros. (But still, the stress over behaving correctly at the first family dinner had to be similar, right?)

Having had my baby boy in the intervening year between royal babies, it was interesting to see how my reaction had changed this time around. In 2013, I remember thinking “Gahh, whyyy is this taking so long?? Why isn’t she coming out yet?? Where is he?!”

Yesterday afternoon, it was more along the lines of “Holy cow, the baby was born less than three hours after getting to the hospital? She must be relieved it didn’t last ages!” and “What?! They’re leaving today?? Doesn’t she want to rest with someone else to clean and cook and . . . oh, yeah, she already has that.” And while I am maybe a tiny bit jealous how good she looked, despite knowing she has a team of people to help, I do feel bad for her, that she had to face the world so soon. I remember being a little annoyed when my mother-in-law came by the hospital the same day bébé was born, because it meant having to look fairly presentable and not do anything too embarrassing that showed her I didn’t 100% have things under control. (Basically Sunday lunch at her house, but with a lot more pain in unmentionable places.) So I imagine Kate maybe felt like that, just multiplied by a thousand.

She does give the impression that giving birth is easy, and maybe it is for her. Mine was certainly far from horrible, though it’s not something I’d want to do every day. With all the tests and stuff new babies have to do, how much they sleep the first few days, and a helpful husband on hand, there totally would have been time for me to see a team of stylists, had one been available. Plus, this is her second time around so she knew what to expect, what to pack, which clothes would feel best . . . There are plenty of other people who will tell you the horror stories of birth, but sometimes things go really well and you feel great, and that’s fine too!

Honestly, it’s just like Facebook, where new moms meticulously scrutinise which post-birth picture to post first. As silly/superficial/whatever people may find it, it’s actually a good thing to care so much, because it means everyone is healthy and you can focus on the superficial, silly stuff. (Whether or not it “should” matter is an entirely different conversation I am not in the mood to discuss while my pink princess cookies are baking!)

While I don’t intend to be a copy-Kate and give my husband a little princess anytime soon, it will be fun to see our kids “grow up together.” And who knows, maybe bébé’s future wife was born yesterday . . . After all, the Middletons didn’t start their business until Kate was a few years old, so we still have some time to work on getting a coat of arms!