November 28, 2013

November 27, 2013

My irrational pregnant fears.

I have a few.

Fear #1: Getting punched in the stomach by someone on the subway platform.

Fear #2: Baby kicking/swiveling so hard it rips a hole in my uterus (this little lady seems strong).

Fear #3: Getting suddenly sick at work and vomiting all over the carpet and walls because I can't make it to the bathroom. (Oh right, that actually happened this week. Now all of my colleagues inch away from me as they ask how I am feeling).

Fear #4: That I'll be like this forever: this big, this cumbersome, this unable to run fast.

Fear #5: That this thing keeps growing every day inside of me and has to come out eventually.

November 26, 2013


They are in piles now - winter is gathering and NYC has turned cold. The decamping leaves make me jittery - the cold too. The trees blossomed the day Colette was born (I was anxious to leave the hospital because I felt I was missing the transformation). The trees will be bald and barren in January when this baby arrives - bleak. Makes me nervous.

November 22, 2013


Voilà: a hearty critic of America's produce. "These grapes are the size of my head." You should hear the commentary about strawberries in the middle of winter and their size. Cherries in April. Peaches in November. We do miss les marchés de Paris and our fruit/vegetable vendors, where fruit is generally quite small, seasonally appropriate and sometimes imperfect looking (but tastes like heaven).

Food is probably still the biggest source of tension in our house. A Frenchman's perspective on American food consumption is pretty scolding across the board. It just gets compounded by the presence of small beings, whose food intake is entirely our duty. I readily admit that peanut butter is not the healthiest choice for every snack, but it is not dog food either. And every evening when 7:00pm rolls around and I want to get dinner on the table so little lady isn't going to sleep at 10pm - Xavier feels a sense of impending distress. Dinner before 8:00pm is a frightful way to live.

I do love how he follows the "course" methodology even for an 18-month old. Each thing at a time - there is no large plate, where a main course, a vegetable and other dishes mingle. Colette starts with an avacado, tomatoes, or some other "starter," followed by the main course and then yogurt, cheese and fruit (distinctly and in succession) and then possibly a dessert. (She does say "chocolat" perfectly). Food and children: repositories of culture.

November 17, 2013

Queen Colette.

In the first few months after Colette was born, I had the impression that she was unfolding - letting her limbs and body uncoil to occupy the space of the world. I still have that impression - but with her personality. Her little 'yeah' replies - wide eyes, head nodding when I pose questions or make statements, sometimes even adult ones (this evening: "I'm feeling tired tonight Colette, bath time might be short, OK?" - "Yeah," she agreed, head confirming that she could empathize and was OK with the call).

Love the feet. And the way she greets her doudou regardless of the time of day or how many times they've already said hi.

Stringing words into whole songs. She is almost there.

November 10, 2013


We had a special outing with a small visitor today - a French beagle puppy (2 months old). This puppy took Colette for a spin. First, the dog's name is Bingo. Colette is a big fan of a certain song by the same title and the dog was like a direct transfer of the song into a live being in front of her. She kept repeating Bingo, Bingo, Bingo over and over again like a chant - convincing herself of the verity of it all. Once she engaged with Bingo, though - down on the ground at about the same level as the little one - her Bingo chant was a mixture of trepidation and attraction. Magnetic repulsion. She was terrified of his little whetted teeth and his yip and hurried breathing and movements and yet, she cried when hoisted up on our laps or arms away from little Bingo.

November 9, 2013

November 7, 2013

Les histoires de Xavier.

"Une histoire, Papa!" she begs. And so it begins. While Marguerite is in NY, there is a tradition of telling stories at dinner. Here is how it goes: each person gets to choose one "personnage" (character) and then Xavier must create a tale around these beings (the story should generally induce laughing fits or Marguerite crosses her arms and pouts increasingly). These are such excellent moments to soak in French culture. I usually choose a French being - someone very specifically situated in a French context, who cannot be placed elsewhere - mostly because I love: 1) Xavier and Marguerite's reactions to my choices - puffed out cheeks and 'pfff' - rolling eyes at such a humdrum choice and 2) to hear how Xavier naturally finds a place for these rather alien beings (in my head) in his tales. Examples include various French shop owners: a poissonnière (female fish seller), a mitron (a baker's boy), a cordonnier (cobbler), a concierge (caretaker of a building) and one of the best: a Motocrotte...

Our friend Meredith jumped right in when given the opportunity when she was over for dinner and her lineup included the Motocrotte, a blind-man and a little baby. A Motocrotte (seriously) is a French scooter with a built-in vacuum for sucking up dog poop on the sidewalk. Proposed by Jacques Chirac - this invention gives one a sense of the feces situation on Parisian sidewalks. In Meredith's brilliant tale, the blind-man's missing eyeballs ended up in the Motocrotte machine, but were then retrieved and placed back in his head. Xavier's incorporation of the cordonnier (cobbler) included the tale of a helicopter pilot who had webbed feet and held tryouts for a cordonnier to design the perfect shoe for his situation. The tryouts were hilarious - a gathering of all the best cordonniers in Paris (measurement methods included laser beams and diagrams and odd results: toeless shoes to make room for webbing, the softest leather, and on and on). In these stories Marguerite was not crossing her arms or pouting.

In other French news, Xavier's most recent proposal for incoming baby's name: Bérénice. We are having a hard time this round.

November 2, 2013

New York Botanical Garden.

Xavier said it while soaking in today's unashamed November sun (which felt like September sun): "I wish I could freeze this moment forever." Those are the best moments - when life really feels that good and beauty is swarming. We went to the Botanical Garden in the Bronx (Marguerite's last day in NYC before she heads back to Paris). The girls both sensed how unique beauty of that sharpness is and we all wished it could last and last (just as we wish Marguerite's stays could go on and on). The picture above is what Colette trying to keep up with Marguerite generally looks like. Wide-legged dashes.

Marguerite's treasures from the woods.

We ran into some canoes along the way and decided we had better take a tour of the river. Miss Colette was quite delighted by the prospect of everyone wearing puffy suits for the ride. She got in and didn't begin to insist on standing until about halfway through.

Xavier paddled us along, cocky about his canoe-monoevering skills. He brags better than anyone I else know.

When Colette's standing up bit began, she also decided that she would take over paddling. It was hard to convince her otherwise.

But then she was tired.

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