Will this baby eat leeks soup?

A review of Bringing up Bébé by Pamela Druckermana.k.a. Why you’ll never catch a Parisian mother with a Ziploc bag of Cheerios….

I should start by saying I’m a total francophile. I pretty much adore the language, the land, the people, and the snobbish culture that has endured and persisted despite global sophistication killers like le Big Mac and Paris Hilton. More than anything, I love the way they dress their babies… those knits!

So it’s no surprise that I’m a little taken with this book that spills the secrets of french-style parenting. A book that, incidentally, might help us all bring up better behaved, less bratty babies — and therefore preserve our sanity.

Think… a leisurely glass of wine at the end of the day because you can, not because you have to…

Bringing up Bébé is about how the french (once again) do things a little bit different, and maybe a little bit better. The book introduces crazy ideas like:

  • Parents enjoying long adult conversations while their children play quietly. (Mon Dieu!)
  • Birthday parties where 5-year-olds sit patiently at tables waiting for their slices of cake.
  • Babies who sleep through the night at just 2 or 3 months old.
Yeah, these certainly got my attention. And then more:
  • Kids that act more grown up: The idea that kids don’t need you to applaud and entertain them at every second. Kids can learn autonomy, and will be more self-sufficient if they understand that while they ARE the centre of your universe, their universe is not the only one. Mommy needs mommy time.
  • Civilized meal time: Eating is about flavor, taste, and the experience — not just food in, food out. French babies have a snack time once per day (4:00) and eat better because they aren’t noshing from morning to night.
Do I plan to be a french-type mom? Uhh.. yeah. There is nothing so far that turns me off the idea, I’ll say that much! So probably yes, in many ways, I will strive to have a food-appreciating, parent-respecting, sophisticated child. Yes indeed. Yes please.

This is an interview with the author of Bringing up Bébé, Another article here, from the Wall Street Journal

and here, from New York Times

In other news…. Wish me luck! We may have a bébé ourselves by the time I post next. Somehow I think I’ll probably sneak one more in under the wire though. Hard to believe the pregnancy journey is nearly complete and the parenting one is just beginning. My first three months seems like a lifetime ago…. Time is about to start flying, isn’t it??

9 months pregnant belly with 9 days left….
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If you saw me on the bus, would you give me your seat?

I just spent 30 minutes giving a young blonde girl the evil eye on the subway. Because there I was, big as a house, standing in the doorway holding on to a pole for dear life, and she has the nerve to sit there staring at me. Not even bothering to pretend she couldn’t see my pregnantness like all the rest of the fuckers on the train.

Didn’t her mama teach her?!

I used to think that giving up one’s seat on the subway for a pregnant woman was just a polite thing to do. Her back probably hurts or something, right? But now I understand.

Now I reaaaaallly understand.

It’s so much more than that.

First of all, the pregnant lady might fall over. Her belly weighs THAT much. Public transit isn’t kind at the best times but add the weight of a baby to those jerks and swerves and you’re pretty much at the mercy of wherever that train is headed.

Second, the pregnant lady probably hasn’t been able to wear comfy shoes or clothing for weeks. NOTHING is comfy. There’s just no such thing as comfy anymore. Her Fred Flinstone feet barely even fit into those UGGS that are twice her usual size. And yes, they hurt. Especially after having to stand still for long periods. So give her that tiny bit of comfort. It’s all she’s got.

Third, she’s not in the mood to be gaped and stared at. Seven people at her office have already made “ready to pop” jokes today and they make her feel a bit on the circusy side. Get her out of the spotlight.

Fourth, yes her back hurts. Or if it doesn’t, by the end of this ride it will. If not her back then her hips, or her stretched belly or compressed lungs or seven other things that take turns hurting. Sitting will at least temporarily help ease one of those.

Fifth, she feels shitty overall. The glow has melted into lard and her formerly svelte face has gone balloony. She’s got a layer over her ankles that trumps grandmas cankles, and when someone is nice it really makes a big impact. It might just make her day.

Happy Valentine’s Day, baby.

Today is Valentine’s Day.

Next year, we’ll have a one-year-old to celebrate this day with, and in a few more years we’ll be helping her write Valentine’s for all the boys and girls in her class.

She’ll know us better than anyone, and love us more than anyone. And vice versa of course. But I was really touched by this quote about giving it time:

“All new parents work at knowing, understanding, and loving their babies. Your baby will work just as hard at learning to know, understand, and love you. This is the process of attachment-the work that parents and babies do together to form a deep and lasting love. It is what becoming a family is all about.”

– From You and Your Newborn Baby – A guide to the First Months After Birth

By Linda Todd

Need a baby shower favor idea?

Easy Baby Shower Ideas Baby Shower Bomboniere Ideas Mason Jars

In January my family threw a lovely shower for us, and I couldn’t resist doing the favors myself. What I came up with was sourced from a lot of different ideas around Pinterest and Google, but I adapted to keep it simple (mainly with no printed labels, although they look good, if you’re up for it.).

So these are them! I hope you can tell from this picture how ADORABLE they are… I loved them! On the cards I just wrote a little Thank You note.

Like? Hope so. : )

What you’ll need: 

– 3 – 5 rolls of thin ribbon
– 12 sheets japanese or stiff craft paper (available at craft stores)
– (# of guests) x 250 mL mason jars and lids, enough for each guest and a few tests.
– (# of guests) x 1 cup of candy. (I got 2 cups of everything and filled two different mason jars with each candy type) <– picking the candy is THE best part. I went to Bulk Barn. Probably gained 5 lbs.
– hole punch

How to: 

1. Sanitize and dry each mason jar
2. FIll jars with about 1 cup of candy, close lid.
3. Cut japanese paper into small squares (about 2″ x 2″)
4. Write your thank you note on each square. Hole punch one corner.
5. Measure and cut ribbon x # of mason jars, long enough to tie a bow.
6. Tie ribbon around neck of mason jar (secure with glue gun if it slips, mine stayed though)
8. Tie a knot. Then thread the thank you square onto ribbon.
9. Tie a bow. Trim the ribbon.
10. Done!

 

What’s your parenting spirit animal?

I’ve never related to bears before. Squirrel, sure. Industrious beaver maybe. Fast wild cat, definitely at times.

But recently it’s the polar bear that keeps creeping up in my mind; that playful tumbler, with her solemn expression of dutiful living, and that commitment to motherhood through anything – just 100% pure protection, nurturing, teaching, and cozy cuddling…. love ’em!

Pregnancy weight gain
Lean, mean, mamma machine

I even love what I’ve been affectionately referring to as my polar bear layer.

Before getting pregnant I weighed about 107 pounds. Now, I weigh 150! Ok, it’s true – I’m giving birth in less than 3 weeks (hear that baby? Not a day later! ok?!) so I’m about at my maximum weight gain but the crazy thing is – I don’t feel fat. I don’t feel like I’ve gained a huge amount of weight other than “the bump” which is taking up a large portion of my smallish body right now, and the layer on my legs and arms that makes them just a bit more thick and taut then they were before. Could be water, could be fat stores – but it’s not wiggly jiggly. And speaking of which. Guess how much weight polar bears gain in pregnancy? Wait for it…… yeah….. around 400 pounds.

I’ve just hit term today (37 weeks) and for the last few days I’ve had this tremendous urge to eat, like biologically my body knows that this is a crucial time for foraging because my baby bear’s coming soon and I will need the stored resources to feed her.

It’s so cool.

I think it’s made me a bit more relaxed about the weight gain, and even the pressure to be a perfect mom. Polar bears are instinctual providers, fierce protectors, and also maintain that good-natured ability to roll around in the snow with their little one. Why overthink parenting when the most important things are really quite simple. Eat, sleep, play.

Anyway, here’s a list of some other pregnancy spirit animals (or totem animals) and their qualities. Which one are you?

Bear

  • Bravery
  • Peace
  • Resurrection
  • Powerful
  • Benevolence
  • Sovereignty
  • Motherhood
  • Duality
Mother Bird 
  • Love
  • Safety
  • Growth
  • Healing
  • Security
  • Provision
  • Nurturing
  • Protection
  • Satisfaction
  • Compassion
  • Self-sacrifice
Turtle 
  • Order
  • Creation
  • Patience
  • Strength
  • Stability
  • Longevity
  • Innocence
  • Endurance
  • Protection

Dolphin

  • Grace
  • Playfulness
  • Transcendence
  • Gentleness
  • Harmony
  • Intelligence
  • Contentment
  • Friendship
  • Community
  • Resurrection
  • Generosity
  • Power

Squirrel

  • Energy
  • Play
  • Prudence
  • Balance
  • Socializing
  • Preparation
  • Resourcefulness
More here. 

Lofty aspirations on the eve of parenthood…

With a baby coming in less than a month my parenting ambitions are kicking into high, HIGH gear, but those other more personal (selfish?!) dreams and aspirations are fading into the background.

Is that good? Bad? After some careful thought… I think it’s pretty awful actually. And I want to consciously put an end to this back-burner instinct. Pronto.

How terrible, that so many people must feel like we feel do right now… that babies and children mean the end of personal dreams and aspirations. Its almost as if we feel irresponsible about dreaming freely and imagining wonderful and exciting things.

I want to put together a quick little Pre-Baby Bucket List to remind myself, and my husband, that we need to keep dreaming to stay alive. And no matter how practical we try to be for our child, it doesn’t mean that we stop walking our own path to personal fulfillment. So here it is…

THE PRE-BABY BUCKET LIST

1. Start a charity

2. Publish my novel

3. See Leonard Cohen in concert. I hope he tours again!

4. Learn to make a scrumptious, braised Beef Bourguignon (in a Le Creuset pot that I don’t own yet.)

5. Create a pied-a-terre in the Caribbean.

6. Get chef/resort/dinner party idea off the ground (could include #1, and #5)

*With only six things on this list, my mind is filling with worries about my mother’s finances, my child’s education, and my own retirement. I can see how it’s much easier to put this sort of list in permanent limbo. But isn’t it through additional income and entrepreneurship that we can escape the loop of pay check dependancy? (P.S. Notice how none of the above involves Twitter or Facebook… why do I waste my time on that crap?)*

7. Write an article for a national newspaper.

8. Give an inspiring speech (And yes, I’d happily settle for giving a reading while on a book tour)

9. Live in a glass house. Surrounded by beautiful trees and/or water.

10. Take a wine tour of Bergundy by canal.

11. Learn to play piano.

12. Learn French (#11 and #12 have been on my list since forever!! I’m terrible…this is really kind of helpful for focusing. Although I’m finding it kind of depressing for some reason. Onward ho!)

13. Earn a Master’s Degree. Likely an MFA in creative writing.

14. Tour Japan. Visit the zen gardens. See the cherry blossoms. Eat the food.

15. Learn Scubadiving.

16. Dive.

17. Get nominated for an award.

18. Attend an award show.

19. Learn some tricky salsa moves/get thrown in the air.

20. Start a Speaker Series (I’m thinking this will tie in with #1, #5, and #6!)

21. Grow hair long, like past elbows.

22. Finish reading Proust, Remembrance of Things Past. Seriously. Finish. It.

23. Publish second novel.

24. Become a stronger swimmer.

25. Go to Greece. Island Hop.

Wow, ok. So 25 things… and it would be hard to come up with more at this moment. I feel inspired though, and focused, and I truly believe that happy, fulfilled parents make happy, fulfilled children. I want my daughter to know me as a writer, a doer, a maker of change. So why put my own life on the back burner?

Thoughts? Oh, and if you make a list of your own, send me the link!

~ ♥ LMF