July 2, 2015

France.



Breathing a lot of good, aromatic air here with these three lovely ladies. We were all over the moon to meet Marguerite in Nice - Colette had been dreaming of her big sister since the last round in New York. Romy lit up when she saw her. Now we are lazing about in a little village in les Alpes de Haute-Provence.

I will not lie - the voyage itself was misery. Colette was a delight on the plane - we made a little 'bed' for her on the floor and she rolled into a ball and slept until we landed. Romy, by contrast, just couldn't get comfortable - she was fitful and cried a lot. When she did sleep, she took one seat and half of both Xavier and mine, so neither of us slept that night. I don't deal well without sleep - Xavier is more resilient.

We arrived and headed to the airport car rental area in Nice, which was completely packed with people / lines for hours, crowded, hot, sweaty. We had a cart of luggage | 2 car seats, a pile. Xavier went to wait in line for the car while I stayed with Colette and Romy and bags. Colette got theatrical. She started calling out "Mommy, Mommy!" in a loud voice and in the opposite direction of where I was standing. I went over and stroked her head and said, Colette I am right here. She took off shouting "Mommy! Mommy! Where are you?" I ran after her confused. Got in front of her - Colette I am right here. She persisted: "Mommy mommy! I can't find you - where are you?!" Shouting and crying running in opposite direction. Blatantly ignoring me. Chasing through mazes of people - abandoning our luggage, bags cameras. Romy in my arms trying to chase down a lunatic three year old. She kept insisting. "Not you! You're not my real mama! Where are you mommy?" Multiple personality disorder? crossed my mind. People all around looking alarmed, worried, disdainful - depending on their culture of origin. I finally wrestled her to the ground while she shouted, "Get my papa - I want my mama!" A very compassionate Swedish woman with two bigger kids came over and pulled out a box of candy - showing it to Colette. She immediately pulled herself out of hysteric mode and brightened up, wiping away her tears and almost shaking her hair out, like - ok, good performance, let's move on now. At this point, I was in tears. Xavier arrived back to find us - baffled. What happened? Wow. Thank goodness for northern Europeans. Colette!

She has also been calling us Emilie and Xavier. One of us will go out swimming and she will call out, "Xavier!" "Xavier, bring me with you, Xavier!" Or, "Emilie, get me that bucket and shovel over there, please."

Feeling breezy now that we are properly "installed" and roaming lovely streets and fields of lavender.



June 19, 2015

Danseuse.



I love a 3-year old's emotional force. Ballerina Colette.









June 14, 2015

Dirt and dust.



Xavier has been gone for a week, traveling for work. A fine time with the little ladies. Parenting a 3 and 1-year old alone can make a weekend feel long. We explored new parks and sort of made a rule that we would eat as few meals at our house as possible (lots of picnics - big fans of cherry tomatoes). I realize when I am alone how smothered I feel by prepping, cooking and cleaning up a meal. Give me endless baths, stories, swings, playground potty crises, pushing a stroller up 50 hills, diapers, everything but cooking. Glad for Xavier's newfound devotion to it. If we ever break up it would be my biggest inadequacy.

Being alone with the girls heightens perception. Children are so miserable and glorious. Every onerous part of the experience is counteracted by an equally blissful force. So sometimes, you end up just neutral, but the undercurrent that gets you there is so wild.

One thing I love about parenting is the physicality of the experience. I've always been affectionate. Pushing it a bit far some might say - licking people, for instance. I love handling little roly-poly bodies - necks right up against my nose. The best smell. Dimpled hands, always grabbing. Hot breath - exhaling laughter. Dirty feet - shoelaces, sandal straps. Four dress changes in a day - with every swap, closeness. So, tonight, when I found myself being licked by my "baby cats", Colette and Romy, I didn't for a minute try to wipe the slaver away.

We get away from that as adults - not licking, specifically, but touching people we don't know well. We have our own outposts - gaps between each other. I love the girls for sweeping me closer. Even when it is dangerous. Romy has taken up biting. When I took away a screwdriver she had discovered and picked her up, she shrieked and turned to my cheek to take a bite today. Animalistic. I sympathize though.

Crazy how it all feels so permanent - set in concrete. The hysterics feel like veritable impasses. Then I go and look at some images I took from 6 months or 2 weeks ago and realize it is ephemeral dust. Blowing away.

June 8, 2015

Sea.



We followed the coastline north on one of these spectacular early summer days. We were chasing after wind gusts free of city air - definitely felt them here. Made us wonder if we should rearrange and live somewhere else.













June 3, 2015



We caught Colette catching up on some important topics the other day.
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