October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween.

Colette monkey

Marguerite witch

October 30, 2012

The next day in Harlem.

Hamilton Heights, as its name suggests, is fortuitously on high ground. That wind I posted below got stronger and stronger as the night went on and lights flickered on and off and the windows rattled, but we were totally safe, with power and no flooding. We obviously can't say the same for those south of us in lower Manhattan, however (still waiting for word from Marc and Stephen, who probably have no battery left in their phones...going to send out pigeons or get on my bike soon). Colette and I had had enough of staying indoors by early this morning and with our rubber boots (for fear of live wires!) we went out on a little tour of the neighborhood. In Harlem, our friends the trees were the victims of this storm. It always makes me sad to see injured trees - they looked assaulted. The streets were still eerily quiet, except for the song of the sirens wailing from north, south, east, west.

One building on Broadway had pieces coming off of it and firefighters were there to guide them to the ground. Overall, our area of Manhattan fared extremely well for such a storm.

October 29, 2012


While the tempest exhales and rushes outside, we girls are having a fête inside. No work today or tomorrow (no subways, trains, no city!). The city is silent while the hurricane roars. Little video below (warning - shaky camera - shaky wind).

Colette listens to the wind howl.

From our front step.

October 28, 2012

The witch at Wave Hill.

Wave Hill - only about 7 miles from us - along the bluffs of the Hudson River - such hush from the city. The leaves were remarkable - perfectly timed. And the witch who accompanied us was everywhere twirling.

This tree we found had skin like an elephant.

Wave Hill has an arts program for kids with a different theme every weekend. This weekend was insect masks and disguises. Marguerite made us a few masks.

October 27, 2012

Marguerite is here! These three. Oh. So sweet.

October 26, 2012

French Food.

One afternoon last weekend I took Colette down to the kitchen for a squished food sampling. Her papa soon tromped down the stairs to find us a little messy with food smattered about. He looked at the clock on the wall and looked at me quizzically, "What are you doing?" I replied that I was letting Colette try out some different things. "At this hour?" (it was 4pm). "Well, technically, it is the hour of the goûter," I countered (trying to fend off an already well-known argument that I did not realize would apply to babies too). "It is not a meal time," he insisted.

So fascinating. Food will always be cultural embroilment between us. I was baffled that a baby of 7 months would be held to a meal schedule. And he was totally flustered by my disregard for a clock and set rhythm for eating. I am of the persuasion that Colette should decide when she is hungry and should be fed whenever that may be. He believes that we set eating patterns for children very early on and one of the biggest reasons that Americans are obese is because they eat indiscriminately between meals.

To be fair, we have moved toward each other on the food conversation. I have readily agreed that Americans snack far too much. I've also looked at French eating culture and admire the type of foods they consume - the fresh produce that is sought out at the market for meals on a daily basis. I admire the way a table is a place to eat and never a desk or the street or the subway. (While Xavier's dad was recently visiting, he had finished eating his hamburger and fries and had a bit of Coke left to drink. Xavier suggested getting up to look in a shop nearby and his dad looked confused and said that he hadn't yet finished his drink. The French are serious about sitting to consume. You do not see people walking the streets of Paris with coffee in their hands).

For Xavier's part, he has agreed that allowing babies and children to use their fingers when eating as a means of exploration and control over their food is a great idea. Many French kids never touch their food except through the metal silverware they eventually handle. Up to that point, someone else spoons the puree into their mouths.

We've also come to agree that a child should decide how much she eats - that the table should not be a war zone and when you as a parent start dictating portions, there will inevitably be push back and bad patterns around eating.

Breastfeeding has been another interesting cultural exchange. As you can imagine, many of our friends on both sides of the Atlantic are having babies. Not one of Xavier's friends in France is breastfeeding her baby longer than three months (most of them not at all). Many of my American friends have chosen to breastfeed for at least 6 or, more often, 12 months. When you ride in a cab these days in New York City, taxi television features a new public health campaign that encourages breastfeeding (and even "locking up formula" in hospitals). At work, there is the designated room for me to pump during the day (a legal requirement in NY).

France is a different place than, say, Norway where 98% of women breastfeed. In France, a recent article in Le Monde sites that only 35% of women are breastfeeding by one month after the birth of a baby (France also has one of the highest rates of women in the workforce in Europe). Xavier (and other of his country-people) couldn't believe that I was going to pump my milk for Colette after returning to work, while for many of my co-workers and other American women, this is commonplace.

These conversations are loaded. Anthropologists all over the place have already made this point, but culture is divulged most noticeably in its smallest beings - and not just those little people innately, but their parents - the way certain things get insisted on and prioritized. It is amusing to co-parent with a strong Frenchman, to hear him bemoan some of my fundamental preferences for Colette, when I feel like they are just so "natural."
(Not fundamental but amusing: the teething biscuits Xavier had never seen before for human babies and have since been labeled as dog biscuits and banned).

October 24, 2012

Eyes and a tongue.

7 months is such a funny age for such a creature. She is frustrated by what contains her - her own body. She wriggles and writhes and squirms, but can't quite crawl yet. Her "crawl" goes: down dog position --> flopping on her side in the direction she aims to go --> roll over --> repeat. She is the most blithesome, smiley cat until she is around people she doesn't know. She isn't shy though, just watchful and curious then - staring people down in the subway, arching her back to see the faces of the people sitting on the bench across from us (upside-down like a bat in the baby carrier). The only time she cares to snuggle is in the middle of the night. I will take it.

October 20, 2012


Her papa felt she was without question channeling the King.

October 15, 2012


Stephen's Moonman is on display in a gallery in Hudson! If you are in the area, the gallery will be open October 28, November 18, December 1 and December 8. If you are not and want a piece of moonman (who wouldn't?)...you can buy prints here: moonmanprints.com (framed or not). So thrilling. Having traveled a bit with him, I can say moonman is one inspiring gent.

October 13, 2012

To the Lighthouse.

On the mushroom spotted path, we walked to the lighthouse.

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