Monday, August 22, 2011

Women Need Not Apply

A and I have been having a great summer: lots of fun, better sleep, and nice weather. When it's just the two or three of us, it's great, but A has entered a new phase that makes some social interactions a bit awkward... He pushes women away. It doesn't matter if he knows them or not, he wants nothing to do with them and makes these punching gestures towards them if they so much as try to talk to him! The only ones that he accepts are me, my mom, and his babysitter.. Most men are OK, he'll sometimes seek their attention, and is always ready to laugh with them.

I was talking about it with another mom who has two boys and she says her boys went through the same thing. Her explanation is that they are entirely satisfied with their mom (yey!) and think that the other women are trying to take her place, so they push them away. I think it makes total sense! I also think that men are usually better at playing, and little ones respond to that well.

As with everything else, it's a phase and we'll just wait it out and explain to him that it's not the best way to interact with other people, and I'll just keep apologizing to all the women that cross our path and have the bad idea of trying to say hi to a cute toddler... In the meantime, I'm not sure how he'll deal with his two female teachers when he starts preschool in a couple weeks... oops!

Have you ever had to deal with that kind of reaction in your child? How did you deal with it?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

French Vacation Part 2

We spent the second week of our vacation at the beach in Brittany, in a beautiful town called Dinard.
We were in a great house with a little yard where the kids could play, and about an 8 minute-walk away from the beach. A loved the sea, and the best part of the beach in Dinard is that it has big tides, so you can go swim easily or play in the waves when it's high tide , but you can also enjoy the wide beach when it's low tide, play soccer, build castles, look for sea shells and crabs.. and we did... all of the above.

When we were not busy at the beach, we went for a stroll in the town, enjoyed the market and of course... the manege!

A particularly enjoyed eating crepes (the local specialty), but didn't really bother trying the salty ones... nutella works just fine for dinner (what we pass on during vacation...)
We had a special day for SleepyPapa. We headed over the Dinan to watch the Tour de France. It was something he had been talking about for years, since he's a fan of all sports, so when we realized we would be in France during the Tour, we checked the schedule, and sure enough, they had a stage starting just an hour away from where we were. It was a fun morning, with lots of waiting, for a very quick view of the bikers, but it was all worth it!
how many thunder sticks does one need?

Aren't we the happy family?
After that trip, SleepyPapa flew back home because he lives in the real world where people actually have to work... we spent a few days in Paris before heading down to the south of France, to spend some time with one of my girlfriend and her two little ones at her in-laws gorgeous house. It was nice and relaxing, with great meals and good company.  The only tough thing was that he wouldn't let anyone else take care of him, so I was on pretty much all the time, which can be a bit draining.
Between those two trips, A got to ride the TGV four times, which he was thrilled with. (the TGV is France's speed train -up to 201 mph-.. you know, kind of what Obama wants the US to have, but for some reason, Republicans don't seem to want to make it easier and faster for everybody, including businessmen to travel between our cities?)

getting on the TGV

quite the little traveler

After that, we headed back to Paris, visited family and friends, and then spent a few days in the countryside, at my mom's best friend's place (she also happens to be my girlfriend's mom... ) so it was the three generations together. A still has a few social skills to learn, but overall he had a good time with my friend's daughter, who's just a few months younger than him,

 they enjoyed eating fruits in the garden, paying a visit to the hens and sheep at neighboring farms,

 looking for the cat that they had renamed "big cat".
It was a great trip, A saw and enjoyed many new things, made new friends and I got a chance to actually spend some time with my friends instead of seeing them one night in a year. I hope we can do it again next year. In the meantime, we have great memories to enjoy!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Enjoying the Summer, France Part 1

Wow, I haven't written anything here since the end of June, it will be a true miracle if anybody stops by and sees this post! The reason I've been silent for so long is, mainly, that I was fully enjoying our vacation in France and didn't really have any time to sit down and write. Why haven't I written since our return? A is now happily napping on his own, which means I am not stuck in his room for two hours a day anymore, so I do stuff around the house instead (it's good for the house, not for the blog...)
We are getting back in our Central New York routine, little by little, but I'll try to give you an idea of our vacation.
We spent our first week in Paris, at my Mom's apartment. The apartment is great, but A is used to running around a lot, so we spent most of our days going to parks around the city and visiting with friends. We also took a side trip to Normandy to visit my aunt, uncle and grandfather. We made it an overnight trip, with a great stop in Lyons-la-Foret.

Here are A's favorite things about Paris, in no particular order:
  • the buses
  • the metro (which he, at first, named "tchoo-tchoo in the night", before switching the "metro")
  • the taxis
  • the camions-poubelles (garbage trucks)
  • the busy traffic ("regarder voitures encore!")
  • the parks
  • the "maneges" (merry-go-rounds -- they are everywhere: parks, street corners, etc... a great incentive to go out)
  • the bread
  • pains au chocolat and brioches

My favorite things about being in Paris with A?
  • Taking him to the parks where I played as a child, watching him ride the same "maneges" I rode.
  • Having him taste the great fresh foods and the amazing stuff boulangeries have to offer.
  • Seeing him play with my childhood friends' children.
  • a major plus: kids- even toddlers! -can ride the maneges on their own in France, so you can actually get a break while they have fun (why can't we have that here???)

here are a few pictures of A in Paris:

this manege is in the Champs de Mars, it's manual wind-up carousel

the kids get a little stick and they have to catch rings on it

A was just happy to hit the ring-holder

a modern "manege"

same one, different car

yet another manege

A walking in "les Tuilleries"

Next post: week 2: Brittany

Sunday, June 26, 2011

What We Do for Fun

Some people think that staying home with your kids is boring, but I think those people just lack imagination. Of course, we all need some adult interaction, but that's what playdates are for! Anyway, maybe it's because I know my days at home are numbered, but I am thoroughly enjoying it.
Here are a few of the things A and I have been doing to entertain ourselves (besides playing trucks, doing the dishes, going on the swing, and visiting neighbors, etc...).

- We go to the zoo with friends (gotta love that yearly membership!)
he loved milking the cow, but handing over the teats to the other kids was not really part of his plan...
 - We pick berries (but you already knew that)
 - We go feed the ducks at the village pond, then sit by the Mobil station to watch cars and trucks go by...

and sometimes we flash them....
And here's what I consider a perfect morning (that was Monday)
- we started out with breakfast on our deck (nutella anyone?)
- spent an hour or two playing cars, then headed to the pool
- ran a few errands (post office/ shopping), then treated ourselves to lunch at TGIF Friday's

- and A fell asleep in the car on the way home, can life get any better?

Monday, June 20, 2011


As much as I hate living here in the Winter, I have to admit that our area is quite nice once the weather gets better. One of the things Sleepypapa and I have always enjoyed is going fruit picking. So on Sunday, we got up and had a late breakfast, then decided to head out to a strawberry patch. A and I went strawberry picking earlier in the week.  We had fun, but the farm we went to didn't do anything to fight off the weeds, so it was tough to pick and A just stood there and ate the berries I picked.
So on Sunday, we decided to try a new farm. We found this great patch, the farmers are retired and just do strawberries and a bit of sweet corn. Their strawberries are organic, but they do some weeding, which made the patch more accessible, and the strawberries far more beautiful. Even A got into the picking!
and he got to check out the tractor...

check out those berries!

I got some rhubarb from my little garden, and cut up everything while A took his nap.

When A got up, we made a crumble together

he enjoyed eating some of it while we made it... who can say no to butter and sugar?


here's the result...

And do you think A had any of it once cooked?

Of course not, he had some raw strawberries and pizzelles...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Bedtime Wars

Wow, this week went by so fast, I didn't even have time to sit down and write about it. It doesn't help that bedtime has been a struggle, and I have spent a few evenings in the crib next to A's bed. I know, you probably think "oh that's a terrible idea... blablabla", well, I'm willing to bet you money that if you are thinking that, you either haven't had a baby in over 20 years, and therefore don't remember what it was like, or you have one of those "good sleeper" children and you therefore have no idea what it's like...

Bedtime usually is easy for us, so it's just that much more frustrating when it isn't. These past few days, A has been refusing to fall asleep by himself. Let him cry, you say? Now that he's in a toddler bed, he is more than likely to trash his room rock-star-style, and hurt himself in the process... So we go up, and we stay with him, and then he plays this game of "I can keep my eyes open for hours even though I'm tired". Then, when he finally shuts them and you think he's been asleep for a little while, you start to get up and walk out of the room, but at the first crack of the floor, he springs up in bed, like a jack-in-the-box and you're back where you started... It is incredibly annoying, not to mention that I feel like I have no evening whatsoever. The worst of it, is that I clearly remember doing that same number on my own mother... and if I can remember it, it means I was much older than A is right now.

I know it's probably just another phase, but it's a highly frustrating one and my patience is reaching its limits. Anyone have any suggestions, or should I just stick with "this too shall pass"?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

A Special Bond

Some people put their family above all, but to me, great friends are just as important, and I have to say I am blessed with many amazing friends that I have gathered throughout my life and that I consider part of my family. Some of my more recent friends are part of a special group that formed about five years ago, and has slowly been disintegrating, because its members are all moving away.
The group was  made up of dynamic, fun-loving, smart, beautiful young women and most of us shared a unique time of our lives together. When we first met, most of us were newlyweds. We would get together at monthly dinners where we all brought a dish we made, and a little bit of ourselves to share... The conversations were so much fun, we just couldn't wait for the next dinner. Then, we started talking about having babies, and month after month, we would start watching who was drinking wine and who was not...

in 2008, the five of us either had a baby or got pregnant

We all started getting pregnant and having babies, and we shared all of that too; we helped each other through the hard parts, the lack of sleep, the breastfeeding... and we delighted in each other's babies' births, first steps, and other milestones.

The "girls" visited when A was just a few weeks old

My best friend here in the US, who was part of the group, moved away when A was three months old. That departure was really hard for me. It's been almost two years now, and I still miss her daily. Four of us remained and got to see our children share special moments throughout their first and second years....

But after another year, one more left... and this year, a third is leaving. I write this post now because three of the group members got together today at my house, and it was a blast.

After our normal "warm up" period, the little ones played and laughed together, and the moms got to chat. Like all good things, it was too short, but it was so good to be together! It was a little bittersweet too, because only two of us will now remain here in Syracuse, and everybody else will be spread out around the country.

This group was unique because we met when we were all at similar points in our lives and we all "clicked". That kind of harmony does not happen everyday, so we should learn to cherish it when it happens. I can only hope that we manage to get together in the future, despite the distance, so we can keep our special bond going, and enjoy hearing our children laugh together for years to come.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

I Did It!

It finally came... the dreaded Oneida Shores Open Water Swim day! If you read my post on Thursday (Not Ready At All), you know I wasn't really feeling ready for it, but I sucked it up and figured, if anything, it would be an "experience". Following my friend Katy's ( and my cousin's advice, I ate pasta and bananas last night, and went to bed early. Of course, this is the night that A picks to wake up at 3:00 am and then 5:00 am, but SleepyPapa was nice enough to take care of him so I could go back to sleep faster.
At 6:15am, the alarm went off, I got ready, SleepyPapa got ready, and we transferred A to the car, still in his PJ's and still asleep. Everything went very smoothly.
When we got there and I saw the lake, I felt pretty pumped. Isn't this a gorgeous sight?
Then it was time to put on the wetsuit. Isn't it hot?
A woke up in a good mood and had a chance to throw some pebbles in the water before the swim started. He wanted to go swimming too, ("moi, piscine"... translation "me, pool") but that was not an option.

One last hug before the start...

my cheering squad!
As I went into the water, I told myself my only goal was to not be the last one. I know, it's not much of a goal, but I'm not much of an athlete either, so that was sufficient for me. At the start, everybody was going with freestyle and I succumbed to the peer pressure and started out that way too, even though I am much better at breast stroke. But very quickly, I realized that I was not going to be able to keep it up, I was almost out of breath. So I switched to breast stroke and got into a pace I felt was fast enough but still sustainable. I took a few looks back to make sure there were people behind me (I may not be an athlete, but I'm still competitive) and just kept going. It was really neat to see that booey become closer and closer, then make the turn, and head back to shore. I was happy to see that even though I was mainly doing breaststroke, I was able to keep up with other swimmers who were freestyling.

end of the race look: not-so-hot...

In the end, I finished my 800 meter in 20:31, and I reached my goal... I wasn't the last one, I was 24th out of 46 (men and women combined). I'm pretty happy with that.

 To top it all off, I won a medal!

 Well that's kind of a joke because I came in first in my age group .... but I was the only one in my age group. Nevertheless, I was happy to have a medal to take home. I set out to try this, I trained (or tried to), and I did it! To me, that's what the medal symbolizes, me trying something new, and completing the goal I set for myself. This was a great event, and it benefited the YMCA's Partner With Youth Campaign, in particular Y-Kids Inc., which supports children with special needs.
Now, all I need to do is figure out what other open water swim I can register for!