July wrap up

Well that month went by fast! I’ll see if I can remember everything that happened…

My first conference

We were in DC the weekend after bébé’s birthday to visit family, eat more birthday related pastries, and so that I could attend my first professional conference! We all flew down Saturday morning and I stayed on through Thursday while the boys went back Monday morning. Of course bébé slept the whole plane ride home, making me very jealous until it turned out it was because he had an ear infection. He tried daycare but ended up staying home with daddy the next day. And then the daycare called to say hand, foot, mouth disease was making its rounds, which he definitely got in addition to the ear infection. So while I had a great week learning and networking and feeling like a super successful professional lady, it was not a super fun week for my boys. But my husband did an amazing job! I’m not in a role where I need to travel a lot (or even that often – this was pretty much the one time per year), but knowing things at home, including the hard stuff, can be handled just fine without me is reassuring. Though hopefully next time bébé will not be suffering from multiple maladies and it will be a bit easier for them both!

Sun, sand, and water

The weather has been great all month, so bébé has been to the pool every weekend, sometimes just with daddy, sometimes with both of us. We also went to the Revere Beach Sand Sculpting festival, and were pleased to discover the beach is equally agreeable to bébé as the pool is. More so, perhaps, since he has much more room to run around.

I will probably repeat this several times over the next few months, but I really really love that we’re less than 30 minutes from the ocean. For someone growing up a good three hours away from the beach, this seems quite luxurious. My husband asked if we could go to the beach every weekend. I said we could go every night after work if he really wanted. It’s probably less of a novelty for him, since he spent elementary school on the island of Mayotte where his mother taught, but we’re still both excited about how much beach time bébé will get in the coming years. Though we are not set on Revere beach as “our” beach, since we still have many more beaches to explore in the area.

Art fail

It seems like bébé decided “hey, I’m two, time to get learnin’!” and his growth in all areas has exploded exponentially this month. To encourage this period of ever increasing curiosity, I thought I’d take him to the Institute of Contemporary Art. Always trying to keep things cheap if possible, we went on one of their Saturday Play Dates, when it’s free for up to 2 adults accompanying children (who are always free). I even found street parking that was only 2 dollars instead of the 15 dollar lot. So while we only spent about 20 minutes in the museum, it wasn’t too expensive of an outing.

Besides the art we (very briefly) saw, the location on the water is really pretty and the building is cool. Bébé liked the area out back with steps to climb up and down, and the walkways along the water. I think he’s still a few years from appreciating art (and not trying to destroy it) but I think I’ll keep taking him to museums when I can (=when it’s free). Getting used to the space, the atmosphere, and having special time with me will hopefully make it something we keep doing as years go by. And there are tons of museums in Boston to discover together!

 

August will hopefully be a little calmer, but still with weekend adventures. And I’ll try to write it down as it happens, rather than attempting to remember it all during the last few hours on the 31st…

Bébé is two!

It’s been a year since my monthly letters to bébé ended, and now that bébé is two, I thought I’d start doing yearly letters to make sure I keep some sort of record of all the cool (and not so cool!) stuff he gets up to.

Dear bébé,

You are two! And you can even say “two” and “deux” though never when someone actually asks how old you are. You do say it when you see the number. You also recognize the number eight, and can (mostly) count to ten in both French and English. You skip three in French, but make up for it by saying “onze” (11) and “douze” (12) once we get to ten.

Starting to count has impressed the people at daycare. You’re good with names too, say “bye-bye” to everyone, and blow them kisses when you leave. Everyone says what a bright, smiling, friendly guy you are, and you are fully aware that you’re everyone’s favorite. Unfortunately, you are going through another bout of separation anxiety, so at least one day a week you cry when momma drops you off.

But it could also just be that you are turning into a huge momma’s boy! Dinner is  complicated with you on momma’s lap, but it’s not so bad since you’re not too heavy yet. You’ll go to the doctor’s this week for a checkup, but you still seem to still be in that 50th percentile for height and 10th for weight. Though maybe weight will be lower than expected, since all you seem to eat is peanut butter and crackers.

However, we’re not too concerned about you being a “picky” eater, since you do usually try most things, or at least stick out your tongue and pretend to. A surprising thing you love is fried calamari. So hopefully that spirit of discovery and adventure continues! (And you eat fine at daycare, so we know you’re just testing our parental limits when you won’t eat at home.)

Sleep has gotten much more predictable in the past few months. You nap very well at home, usually 2 hours, though less at daycare, where there are more distractions. At night, you fall asleep between 7:30 and 8, and are up around 6:15 (pushing back bedtime by 15 minutes has drastically reduced the 5:30am wake ups). Your bedtime routine starts at 7 and is a half hour of books and about 5 ounces of milk (almond or cow, depending on what we have in the fridge). Sometimes you play games first, since recently you’ve gotten better at entertaining yourself, making towers and trains with duplos or playing with the colored peg game your mamie sent you. But you always come back to books; you love them so much! Your favorite books change weekly, but lately it’s been “Poisson un, poisson deux” by Doctor Seuss, and a pop-up book about Lola who goes swimming and meets lots of sea creatures. It’s pretty cute to hear you say “poulpe” (octopus) and “tartoo” (“tortue” – turtle).

Your vocabulary in both languages definitely focuses on animals. You can say all the farmyard animals like cow, pig, horse, sheep, and duck, and their noises. When you say “Oll Do” we know it means you want us to sing Old MacDonald. Other songs you request are “whee bus” (wheels on the bus) and “bababacsheep” (baa baa black sheep). These are all songs you learned at daycare, so sometimes you ask for something we can’t decipher, and you get frustrated.

You still use a pacifier for naps and at night, but almost never during the day. Once you see the dentist for the first time later this month, it may need to go away forever, to keep all your teeth in line. You have pretty much all of them, and you absolutely love to brush them! But you hate if momma brushes them, so we’re not sure how clean they’re actually getting.

Some funny things you do:

  • take off your socks so we can put them on your hands, then you try to eat and play with them like that
  • at the splash park, you do this little “fountain dance” where you move your fists up and down, imitating the way the water shoots up
  • you like to imitate a video of yourself at 13 months making lion noises
  • holding a phone (or any rectangular object) to your ear and have a very lengthly conversation on it, mostly saying “aloo?” a lot, but also some babbling

You don’t just babble though. In addition to animals and body party, you say “daddy,” “papa,” and “boubou” (momma’s name for daddy) but only “mama.” You say “peeese” (please), “si pait” (s’il te plait), “merci” and “tank oo” when prompted, and you’ve started using “terminé” instead of “all done” when you’re at home.

We speak only French at home and when we’re out just the three of us, but we’ll read you books in English if that’s what you pick out. Your favorite videos are in English, but we managed to switch the one app you play into French. It’s Crayola Colorful Creatures, and you love to color and play with all the different animals. It’s hard to say how much screen time you get, because sometimes you go four or five days without anything, then other times it seems like you manage to charm us into a few minutes in the morning as well as the evening.

And you are definitely charming! Just insanely cute, with a mischievous grin that pops up whenever you know you’re doing something bad (which is more and more often). You know what you want and say “no” to almost everything, but almost never to kisses and cuddles. Which is lucky, because if how you spent your birthday is any indication of how this year will go, it won’t be just fun at the pool and running around parks. There’s also going to be lots of tears and tantrums. So kisses and cuddles will help to balance all of that out.

It’s getting both harder and more fun for momma and daddy, and we can’t wait to see what new things we’ll all learn this year.

Bisous & kisses

Your momma

Cars and cable: two things America does badly

Just to balance out the recent happy, sunny weather posts, I do think it’s important to say that not everything we’re discovering about our new city/life has been wonderful. I feel like the ranting about France started after a few months, so I’m right on schedule for annoyances popping up on this side of the ocean! It’s funny that the two things that have frustrated me the most are cars and cable, the two things America is supposed to do well, right? And also the two things I didn’t see as “essential” when we first moved. We made it over two months without a car, and nearly four without a television. Now I really wish we had gone a little longer without both!

Not only was buying a car not so fun, we’re still waiting for the title over a month later, which was supposed to arrive in the mail two weeks after we bought it. I can ask for a copy at the RMV, but that costs 25 dollars I already paid the dealership, since that’s part of the package when you buy a car from them. Every time I try to call to speak to somebody about it, I’m on hold for a long time, and I haven’t had the patience to wait more than 10 minutes for someone to pick up. I’ll keep trying, but I’m almost tempted to be super French and send a registered letter to them informing them of the situation, rather than waste more time on the phone.

Most of my time on the phone in the past weeks not on hold has been with Comcast. They’re the only cable provided who services our building, and I’ve never heard good things about them. So I shouldn’t be too surprised that the hour long phone conversation I had with them led to nowhere. The issue was very simple: I was not told my internet was the basic, super slow kind, when I thought I was paying for the faster speed.

It all started when we moved in and I got the bundled fast internet and cable, but when the guy came to install it and we didn’t have a TV, they didn’t leave the cable box. Everyone told me I could just watch on the app. Which we did for a few days, until it stopped working. When I called, they said they couldn’t sell me cable (even just through the app) if I didn’t have the box, and I couldn’t have a box without a TV. So I said whatever, just internet is fine, and it cost less, so that was nice. The past few months we’ve noticed it was slow, but again, since everyone I know complains about it, I thought that was normal.

There was an offer for cable through the internet without a box, so we finally bought a TV last weekend, but I decided to call first to complain about the speed. No sense getting the TV if the internet was just going to freeze the picture all the time. And that’s when they offered an “upgrade” to the speed I thought I’d been paying for these past 3 months! So my choices were to pay 30 more per month for the high speed internet to start immediately, or 20 dollars more for the cable bundle, but I’d have to wait a week for the box, since they couldn’t upgrade my internet until I installed the box. I picked option three, complain to customer service, since a) I thought I’d already been paying for the faster speed, and b) why is it 20 dollars more now for the same service that cost only 5 dollars more 3 months ago?

The girl was super nice, but after a half hour of back and forth, she couldn’t offer me anything else. She said she put in a ticket so I’d get a call back this week to see if someone higher up could do something. Unsurprisingly, I have had no call, and I’m not really in the mood to call them back quite yet. I can’t decide if I am being unreasonable or not, but I honestly cannot understand why the exact same thing costs so much more 3 months later, just because I’m not a “new” customer anymore. I know 20 dollars versus 5 dollars more per month is “only” a difference of 180 dollars a year, but I’m just so annoyed I feel like complaining anyway, even if it won’t change anything. And after 8 years in France, I can do some pretty good complaining!

In the end, the TV works fine plugged into the modem and isn’t as slow as watching on the computer can be. My husband is a little disappointed he can’t watch the Euro right now like we’d planned, but there are plenty of bars he can go to, so silver lining. Except the bar tabs may also cost 180 dollars or more by the end of the tournament, so maybe it will be cheaper to just suck it up and get the cable!