May 2, 2016


Romy and Colette have finally been playing. Interacting without anyone necessarily getting hurt (Romy). Mostly it goes like this:

Colette: "Come here my little one. Sit down here. Take this. Be good my little one."

Romy: "OK mama"

Colette: "I'm not your mama. I am Lily (or Alexa or Samantha or babysitter)"

Romy: "Ok Lily"

Colette: "Don't cry my little one. Take this umbrella; it is going to rain today. Now you be good today while I am gone."

Romy: Making baby noises, "OK mama."

Colette: "I am not your mama!"

Romy is asserting herself a lot more. She screams back at Colette what Colette is screaming. It shocks Colette – she stares at Romy with disbelief: her expression reads, “Sheer audacity!” But Romy carries on being cheeky.

Romy is also living up to her age. Everything is about independence. “That is my decide,” she announces when she thinks it is her turn to choose. She has also taken a strange liking to chicken. We actually rarely eat it, but when asking her what she would like to eat, invariably she responds, “chicken” (sounding like her French papa with a ‘cheeken,’ a hard e sound where the i goes).

Romy continues to take hard falls – undaunted by fear. Xavier wonders why she doesn’t learn to be scared, but I think the thrill of ascending just dominates. Paired with her triumphant/showy little laugh when she gets to the top, it is a good show.

She has also gotten into the bad habit of going silent and getting into trouble (des bêtises - as branded by her papa). e.g. smearing desitin all over her favorite stuffed animals. The soft fur of the penguin, her own hair and face totally covered. Now when we change Romy’s diaper, she says with sincere eyes and nodding head for emphasis, “Cream for Romy’s skin, not for animals. Not for fur.” We emphatically agree.

One morning last week, I was dropping Colette off at school. It was a frenzied morning, where sock seams and the milk level in the cereal bowl were all wrong. I had an early meeting and was already going to be late, so was taking little micro breaths trying to keep the pressure I felt in. Finally got out the door, up the hill, around the corner and into the school. I walked Colette to the central drop-off spot for her class and as she entered the space, all the kids lining the benches of the lunch tables started chanting,

"C O L E T T E,
C O L E T T E,
C O L E T T E..!"

The stress instantly cleared. Big smile on both our faces - Colette's teacher's too. Such a great start to a day.

A great Colette quote recently: "Can I feel my soul in my chest? (Concentrating) Oh! I think I felt it - kind of jumpy in there."

She's also been asking about death. One good question on the subject: "Is bumpy or smooth?"

Good news. Bindia is back. I frequently find Colette in intense conversation with someone. Arguing, but there are pauses for a response to the points she is making. One time I asked her who she was talking to: "Bindia. She is back! I don't see her anymore, but I do hear her. All Bindia talks about is poop now," (with a disappointed expression).

Colette is a very serious artist.

Our grande Marguerite – leading them all. Tall and lithe, lines of a dancer, she headed back to Paris this weekend after one of her visits. Colette dreams of time with Marguerite, imagining moves she wants to show her or dreaming up how Marguerite might react to an idea. After Marguerite headed to the airport, Romy spent all day yesterday asking where Marguerite was. In the middle of the night, “Where is Marguerite?” Vanishing act – after good time together.

One Saturday morning we went down to the kitchen and found all three girls sitting, eating breakfast together. Marguerite had quietly herded everyone down the stairs, gathered the bowls and spoons and served cereal to her sisters. Xavier and I stared at each other, raised our eyebrows and said bravo! She had also unloaded the dishwasher. Loves order. Wonder where that comes from.

I love the 10-year old moment – curious, super creative, dying to help and so sweet. Especially Marguerite. She is really delightful. Memorizing beautiful French poetry and gracefully dancing along. I marvel at her independence, her emotional balance. We celebrated her birthday with a treasure hunt and her good New York French friend, Brune.

Colette is convinced Brune’s name is Broom and can’t be persuaded otherwise.

A great moment from the birthday sleepover with Brune. We were eating rotisserie chicken for dinner (a rare, fulfilling moment for Romy).

Colette: Why are there bones?

Brune: We have to kill the chickens to eat them

Colette: So they are not alive, Broom?

Marguerite and Brune: No.

Colette: But how do we kill them?

Brune: With a pistol

Marguerite: NO! We just break their necks

Colette: (crying) OK I am not eating chicken then

Romy chimes in: Cheeken

Xavier and I just sat shaking our heads.


Anonymous said...

You don't know me Emilie but many, many years ago I stumbled across your blog. I love reading about your girls and your life. I live in Australia and have two daughters myself, an 8 yr old and one who, just like Marguerite, recently turned 10. Natalie

Emilie said...

Thanks, Natalie! Always really nice to connect with people on the other side of the world...really appreciate it.

Maria Petrova said...

This is so priceless I don't even know where to begin. Can't wait for the book you're going to write for us. xo

Sarah said...

4 year follower here and thanks for this post. I laughed out loud several times, especially with the last bit about eating chicken with Broom (snort)! What a complete delight these girls are to follow!

Emilie said...

Thank you, Sarah! Maria!

Rosie said...

I am still giggling about the cheeken, the soul bumping around in Colette's chest and the love of three little girls. I am so glad you write about these everyday pleasures. Hugs!

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