Exploring Boston and meeting my twin

This week’s adventures included a friend visiting, which was a great excuse to explore Boston. I also met my name twin, which is probably not a big deal if your name is Sara Smith, but mine is a little more unusual. Only around 600 people born in the States in the past 35 years have my first name, according to Social Security data. For comparison, over 20,000 girls were named Emma in 2014. So this was kind of a big deal for me. Also, our last names are super similar, like Smith and Smithson. Add to that a few other weird similarities, like the fact she also just moved to Boston, and I made the joke that I shouldn’t bring bébé, lest he get confused about which of us is his real momma.

In the end, I didn’t bring him in order to have a girls-only afternoon, which included my first ever Thai food (yes I know it’s weird I’ve never had it before) and a walk along Newbury Street, the Commonwealth Avenue Mall, and the Boston Public Garden.

Newbury Street

The afternoon started off a bit dreary, but it ended up being just beautiful weather, perfect for strolling around a new city.

Commonwealth Avenue Mall

It probably seemed like I was super excited about moving Boston, and I was, but now that the initial move is over and things are starting to settle down, I have been feeling a bit more blah about it. Since we do live a bus/train ride away from the center, it’s not like we can get to everything really easily, and with a toddler, long bus rides aren’t that fun. While I am still happy to be mostly car-free for now, working around nap times and train schedules doesn’t make for the most spontaneous weekends. And it really is very different from the environment I’ve been in for the past 8 years, so being back in an American urban aesthetic will take some getting used to.
Boston Public Garden

But making the trip in this weekend and walking around in the sunshine definitely helped me start to like it a lot more. I kept thinking “this will be great to show my mother-in-law” when she visits this fall, since I want her to approve of where we live now more than I’ve ever wanted her approval on anything! I missed out on some of my husband’s initial explorations those few weeks I was working and he wasn’t, so it was nice to discover a few things he hadn’t seen yet and tell him about it (since Boston is small and he’s seen a lot, just Newbury and Thai food).Boston Public Garden

We still had time to explore together, mainly new restaurants in our town, since having friends visit is also a great excuse for exploring local dining options. Walking around with her also helped me feel like this is “my” town now. She’s visited us in every single one of our apartments, so now we just need to plan a trip out West to see her and start exploring the States with bébé!

Getting used to a new routine

It’s been 2 weeks now since my husband started his job, and almost two weeks since bébé started daycare. He got his first ear infection the weekend before he was supposed to start, so I was at home with him for two days. I was able to work a little from home, and was grateful for how flexible my job is to allow me to do so, though it was definitely a challenge. I think any future work from home days will be while he’s at daycare, so I can actually work!

Even this week wasn’t a full week, because of the snow on Monday (Massachusetts weather continues to mystify me) I picked him up a bit early. So we are getting used to a new routine little by little, and hopefully next week will be a full, normal week!

The new routine involves waking up a half hour earlier than we’d been doing previously. It doesn’t seem like much, but I am really feeling the difference today – I even had coffee for like, the third time in my entire life (result = no increased energy, only increased acid reflux, boo). It’s only a tiny bit of sleep debt, but it builds up day by day, so after two weeks, I’m rethinking my whole morning and evening beauty routine to be able to catch some extra Z’s.

Other than the sleep, we seem to be managing pretty well. We’re all up by 6:30 (though this week bébé has been waking at 5:30 so that is a major contributor to my exhaustion) and bébé and daddy are out the door around 7. I have a bit of time to finish getting ready or to tidy things up, which makes a big difference at night. My husband drops him off on the way to work (on the bus) and I walk the 2 miles after work to the daycare and we bus it back home. And twice this week my husband’s been on the same bus as us coming home! So that was nice, to have some extra time to chat about our days. One day I week I have a late meeting, so we switch, and it’s nice because the same teachers don’t work morning and evening, so this way we both get to talk to all of them. We’re all home by 5:30 or 5:45, and I made sure to meal prep a bit on weekends so we’re all eating around 6. Bébé is (usually) asleep by 7:30, and we have so much time in the evenings for ourselves, it’s great.

It’s so completely different than the schedule we had in France, but that really was due to the long commute we had, and the inflexible schedules at our jobs. And while we could have moved to Luxembourg to be closer to our jobs, or changed jobs to get better schedules, I know we never would have. Small changes are hard once you’re really settled into a certain way of life, but one big change can be the catalyst for lots of little changes.

Starting daycare after being at home with one or both of his parents for the past 5 months was definitely a big change for bébé, but he absolutely loves it. He is just so outgoing and curious, and interested in trying new things, that even the daycare workers are a little amazed at how quickly he’s adapted. I think having him with a nanny who had two older children must have really helped. We’re trying to do something new every weekend (past adventures have included Harvard Natural History Museum, a local diner for breakfast, and walking the trail along the river), so hopefully that will also help keep him excited and comfortable about new things and experiences. Or maybe he’s just naturally extra adaptable, which will come in handy in the bilingual, binational, bicultural life that awaits him as he grows up!