Monday, May 27, 2013

Perfect Moment Monday: big boy

M. Sensible, now almost 4 years old, sometimes doesn't seem to want to be a big boy. It probably has to do with having a little brother around and the feeling that the baby gets more cuddles and attention than he does. It took him forever to want to drink his morning chocolate milk from a mug instead of a bottle (he finally agreed when I bought him a special mug that said "chocolate" on the side and he can choose which color straw to use). He even wanted to sleep in a baby sleep sack one time (it still fit, although really snugly and after that one nap he never asked for it again, so it must not have been too comfortable). His most persistent trick to get mommy's attention regression - that started about two months ago, around the time M. Gourmand learned to walk - is to flat-out refuse to go to the toilet when we ask him to and to wet his pants numerous times a day (only with us, not at preschool). So I'm trying not to let my frustration show, just change him into something clean, do laundry non-stop, and praise him for everything he does well in order to try to change this behavior (not much luck so far though).
Another thing he refused was trying to bike without his training wheels. He already was a pro on his balance bike (without pedals) and on the other one the training wheels seemed to get in the way (he sometimes almost tipped over because of them) but any suggestion to remove them was returned with a "no". But then, two weeks ago, we went to the park and there was a classmate from preschool, riding his bike without training wheels! M. Sensible wanted to try, and once he figured out that he needed to keep pedaling if he didn't want to fall, he took up speed and made one turn around the park after the other. Hubby and I took turns running next to / behind him and both cheered and cheered. The look of pride and freedom on his face was priceless. A true perfect moment for both him and me.

A few days later we took his own bike out of the shed. He initially refused to let us take off the training wheels, but after one round he came back to us and asked if we could please take them off. The bike is still a bit big, so getting on and off it by himself is still a challenge, but once he's gotten the little push he's off like a rocket. Even M. Gourmand is impressed and applauds him from his stroller. M. Sensible is still beaming with pride and tells everyone he meets that he can now ride his bike without the training wheels, just like a big boy!

Perfect Moment Monday is hosted by Lori at It is about noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between.
On the last Monday of each month we engage in mindfulness about something that is right with our world. Everyone is welcome to join.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Cultural Differences - May Day

Welcome to the third installment of my monthly cultural differences series! I'm running almost two weeks late with this one but that's because I've adapted/resigned myself to the fact that in May nothing much gets done here in France (it's not yet as bad as August, but getting close!).

The reason why not much gets done in May is the sheer amount of public holidays this month, and the French custom to "faire le pont", which means you take one or two extra day off between the holiday and the weekend, so you now have a nice long break without having to take up too many vacation days (not that we lack those here - 25/year is about the minimum). It all starts on May 1st - May Day, a BIG public holiday in this socialist country. On this day everything (except the fresh market) is closed. And most astounding, in the city where I live, there is no public transport at all on May 1st. Power to the workers!

Many people might think that Holland is a socialist country too, and in some ways it is, but May 1st is no public holiday there and (obviously) it's not celebrated in the US either, so this was a whole new experience for me when we moved here (and I still can't get over the fact that there is no public transport service!).

Then May 8th is also a public holiday (WWII Liberation Day) and this year Ascension Day fell on May 9th, so obviously no one was working on May 10 (oh, yes, my hubby was - and actually the public schools were open too, but half of M. Sensible's classmates were absent) and many actually took that entire week off. And then last Monday was Whit Monday, so another short week. This all following on the 2-week Spring break and kids have no way of getting back into a normal rhythm (and there are only six weeks of school left before the summer holidays).

On the other public holidays in May many stores are "exceptionellement ouvert", so you can spend your free day with hundreds of others at the giant blue and yellow home furnishing store if you'd feel so inclined (or in my case, you can just go to the grocery store and don't have to think what's for dinner two days in advance).

Before we moved here I thought July 14th (Bastille Day) would be the biggest public holiday in France, but no, the post office will be closed that day but almost everything else will be open. May 1st though, is the sacred day in this laic country.

Which public holiday is most widely observed in your country? How much is closed/non-operational on that day?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Spring Shed - week 7

Woohoo, I'm posting my week 7 report on time! The full back story of this blog hop hosted by Kathy at Bereaved and Blessed can be found here.

To be honest, I just can't wait for these school holidays to be over so I can get things done again! Next week won't offer much respite though, because Wednesday and Thursday are public holidays. The sitter is taking Friday off so she'll have a very long weekend (and probably 90% of the country will do the same), but M. Sensible's school is open and boy am I going to take advantage of that (I wonder how many classmates will show up though)! My SIL from Holland will be visiting, so we'll probably take some outings around the city - no need to get into the traffic jams trying to go south.

To recap my goals for this Spring Shed: my only goal is to keep finding things to not fall into complete mommy mode again (because I do think the Winter Shed accountability helped me get out of mommy mode) and so my weekly report will be on what I did to make that happen (or what I didn't do and why I fell back into mommy mode), whether that be reading more, getting more paid work, blogging more frequently etc.

So here's how I did during week 7:

I read a lot! I actually only recently (like late last week) read Mel's "Life from Scratch" and had planned to ask my sister to bring "Measure of Love" with her but when I finished the first book I didn't want to wait that long to continue reading the second one! So I downloaded the Kindle app and bought the Kindle version on Amazon. Have been reading every single free minute since...

I got a request for a small project from the agency I did the web intelligence work for in November/December and March. I sent them a quote today (which should be accepted, more a formality) so I will start that on Monday when the kids are back at school/sitter (and finish it on Tuesday because it's really that small). So even though this and the translation jobs I did a few weeks ago are small (I won't really make more than about 100 bucks with it), it's nice that they are from repeat clients and that until now I still have gotten some project, however small, to work on.

However I find that this freelance, working from home thing is quite tough - it really still is more like moonlighting when I can get a few hours off from my mommy-duties, and when hubby's away on business (which is a lot) and especially if combined with school holidays (ie the kids home all day) it's really impossible to get into work-mode. I find it unprofessional telling clients that I can't respond right away because I have the kids at home etc, but it is the truth and I don't want to work too much at night either trying to give the impression that I can do everything for everyone. I have a separate post brewing in my head about this, so I won't delve much further into it now...

Other than the reading and getting the request for the project I was still mainly on mommy-duty this week and I'm longing to have some time to myself as of Monday (but at the same time looking forward to the weekend too - which should finally bring some respite from the rain we've been having).