⪧ We left our life in New York City to make a new one in Provence ⪦

March 15, 2016

Alpha girls.



Oh my. My little girls. Xavier is away for a trip and his absence always means special saturated time with the girls. I love it. Ignited by their vim. I think about my life before I had these ladies and then I think of the delirious pace of things now - and then I think about my addiction to them. Almost mania. It has to be that way or it wouldn't balance out. It can be so hard.

For example, tonight Colette lost it.

Background: as you probably know, Colette is an intense soul. I mean, consuming, in all senses. She regularly spends time explaining how our family would still be better if Romy weren't part of it. We thought that line of reasoning would get old. Not yet.

Tonight: Xavier called for a quick chat from Europe. Time difference makes it hard to do later, so I took some time while downstairs in the kitchen after dinner with the girls. Colette was working on an art project at that point and really wanted to show me every iteration of her work. I told her that I wanted to talk for 3 minutes and then I would focus on what she was doing. Her face turned fiery and she sat fuming with her arms crossed. The rest of the night was shot. Screaming incessantly during the bath. After 15-20 minutes, I raised my voice to tell her to stop. It never works. Her screaming just surges and crescendos to a point where she is totally out of control. So I backed down. We've come up with a special signal to communicate the level is too high. Two hands up, stop. She knows what it means. When it gets this intense, the only way I can effectively use the signal is to put up my hands, but make no eye contact whatsoever. I feel myself doing it, furtively glancing at her from only the corner of my eye to gauge any progress, but afraid of the consequence if she sees me. Seriously dealing with an alpha animal.



And then the same little Colette can be years older than almost 4. We had a date on Sunday - a birthday party and a hot chocolate together at a little cafe - just the two of us. We sat and giggled outside, sipping our drinks, making a little acorn she found "talk" - telling elaborate tales of his life being licked by squirrels and where around NYC he would like to be transported, the tree he might become. After she finished her mini drink, she sat straining to raise just one eyebrow (like her papa when he tells stories) and then laughed with her belly and eyes at all my jokes. Dazzling light from her.

Despite being wished away by her older sister, Romy is honey butter. Sweet and creamy. Colette will smack her and Romy will cry a bit and then walk up to Colette with a candied voice and say, "Sorry Colette." Thankfully, her cheeky side is sprouting. She likes to tease Colette - especially when Colette is feeling petulant - poking her in the side and running away giggling; deliberately drawing on top of beloved, fresh artwork on the big chalkboard; sitting a little too close in the bath and scooting even closer when told to 'get away.' All with naughty eyes and a big grin.



She is well-known at our local Harlem park: 'Elephant Park.' Our fabulous Claire spends as much time as possible outside every day with the girls and Romy has picked up some great habits out there. She raises up one leg high in the air, while scooting rapidly on her little razor. Many parents have remarked, "she really shouldn't be doing that." Also on the swings - the big kid swings - commanding, "higher, higher." Underdogs. Daring Danda.

Like most other things, sleep is straightforward with Miss Romy. Even nights where she doesn't want to sleep immediately, she will lie in her bed for 30 minutes singing ABC, Baby Beluga, Frère Jacques - full auto-applause and "Bravo, Romy" to herself following each song. Again and again. No lost enthusiasm between the rounds.

One of the cutest Romy sayings at the moment is "Ras le bol" (sounds like 'rall bull'). In a French children's song (Une Souris Verte) there is a verse with the lyrics 'j'en ai ras le bol' (the phrase means I'm fed up). Romy loves the ring of it and repeats it around the house - which is a very funny thing for 2-year old to be parroting from French. She says it with her nose scrunched up and a lot of guttural emphasis on the 'r' - mimicking the recording we have. "Ras le bol"! Fed up!

1 comment:

Lillian said...

Oh dear. I recognise so much of myself in Collette (including the younger sibling comments - it must be an alpha thing!). All attributes which will be immensely useful to her success as an adult, but which will make for a sometimes traumatic childhood as she learns to harness them. Best of luck to you and her.

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