Sunday, June 04, 2006

A few intense weeks

I have diserted ‘blogosphere’ for a little while, busy with life around me…I missed blogging and I hope to post more regularly again, especially in the next month. We are at – 36 days to the big day (or ‘jour j’ as they say in French), that is the baby’s due date (July 10) and I feel at once that there is an eternity ahead of me and, at the same time I will never have enough time to have everything ready!

The greatest news is that I am finally on maternity leave! And it feels great! I am rather active and I like my professional life, but the stress was really getting to me, expressing itself with insomnia and palpitations, which have miraculously disappeared ever since I have been at home…

We have been busy trying to fix the apartment around, especially Milo’s room which had to be reorganized. I read on a French parenting magazine that 70% of parents wait until the last trimester of pregnancy to do this and purchase the necessary furniture and stuff; apparently it is recognized as the nest building syndrome! We meant getting a new bed for Milo this winter already, but we only got to it 2 weeks ago…the initial transition has been seamless, Milo felt rewarded to leave the ‘cage’, that is the bed with bars, and finally sleep in a normal bed. But it lasted too little. The problem now is simply convincing him to stay in it at sleeping time…it takes a loooooooong time to put him to sleep. He has never been a sleepy baby, but now that he can actually run away from the bed, evenings are rough.We try to stick to the ritual: bath, dinner, book reading, lullaby, lights off…but as soon as we’re gone he tiptoes to the living room a hundred times, and there is no argument, voice raising, scolding, sweet talking that works…He finally collapses around 11 pm, and so do we, after having spent the last two hours taking turns in chasing the rascal! In any case, at least he does sleep through the night, looking at the bright side! In a few weeks we will put his old bed back in his room, camouflaged with different draperies, ready for his little brother.

In the same week he also got his first haircut at the hairdresser! Up until now he got his hair cut only two or three times by his father; in fact, Milo’s hair was as long as that of a girl, which despite making him look very trendy and fashionable (AND a girl indeed), it was a pain the neck to wash and brush: it would tangle in rasta locks in his back and he’d refuse to have it combed. Every morning I had the impression to wake up a child version of Rod Stewart! So, after another first attempt by his father which resulted in the worse massacrating chop-work I have ever seen, the nanny and I took him on a rainy Monday morning to a tour of the neighborhood’s hairdressers, looking for the courageous one who would not be impressed with Milo’s screaming and fidgeting techniques and would go for the task. We found it shortly, and the experience was certainly not a gay one…no blood was shed, mission was accomplished but a lot of the other salon’s clients were troubled by his pulmonary capabilities (as in he screamed for dear life). The haircut completely changed his look and I still have a hard time recognizing him at the park…but bath time is much more fun now!

While at the hairdresser I was served my first “why does he not speak?” pep talk by an older French lady who was having her hair washed, and to whom Milo was explaining in Italian that the water was cold…she could not understand him and it frustrated her. When he finally uttered a comprehensible “pas chaud” to her, she looked at me and exclaimed “See! You can speak if you make an effort!” to which I could not resist replying:”Oh, but he does speak: in Italian, Dutch AND French!” The lady was simply amazed. (Alice docet!)

Last but not least I finally took Milo for a long due visit to yet another pediatrician, for a vaccination recall. In the last two years, I have consulted almost all of those in our neighborhood and I am coming to the conclusion that I am setting my expectations just too high each time. Every visit is simply diappointing. They always, inevitably prescribe heavy medications (antibiotics are as common as bread in France), they hardly explain what is wrong, and I simply cannot stand their lack of psychology and their indifference to Milo’s fear of them. This time I called the lady in advance to let her know about his sensitivity and asked her to be extra nice to him: she greeted him screaming to his face that no matter what, she would have visited him, that he could decide to cry, kick, whatever, it was not her problem: she WOULD have visited him, no matter what. Thanks a lot, bitch!!! If I hadn’t called in advance, would she have smacked us straight on the head?!As usual Milo cried during the visit and at the mere sight of the stetoscope, and really panicked when the shot was done; once it was all over he seemed ok. So I am back to the list of pediatricians…

Finally, we have had some doubts about the nanny. Milo and Antoine are now 2 and 2 and ½, an age which is certainly very peculiar, ‘the first adolescence’ as good old Fitzhugh Dodson defined it, and it seems she has reached her level of competences and has a very hard time handling them. She has been great as long as they have been babies, but boys are another affair: they need to be managed, anticipated, to be fed information, games, things to learn constantly, and she’s rather passively just making sure they don’t destroy the house too much and they don’t kill themselves. Milo has also started to express a certain independence, while Antoine starts being more and more physical and controlling. I have been thinking to sign up Milo in a local halte garderie (a part time day care) for a few mornings a week, as a start, to let him meet other kids and socialize and expand a little his social network. This garde partagé will end by December the latest anyway, and as we don’t have any family close by, I cannot imagine being home alone with a newborn and Milo at the same time, this summer. What depresses me is that I tried talking to the nanny about it, and while she recognizes herself that she’s a little lost with their capricious behaviour most of the time, she is not at all receptive to the numerous articles, books, activities I have presented her with and suggested. I am no expert, by no means, and I do understand her frustration, but I thought we could try to find, together, a strategy to get through this phase more harmoniously and for her it could have been a significant professional learning experience too. I am seriously considering getting a new one for the new baby, when the time will come.

4 comments:

Lilian said...

Wow... lots of stuff going on at MTK home :) New bed, first haircut (I'm extremely lucky with my oldest son, he's a perfect angel at the hairdresser as well as the pediatrician's office), pediatrician troubles, child care troubles... Phew!

I'm glad you're in maternity leave! I think it would be pretty tough to take care of two boys at 2 years old, though a 4 y.o AND a 2 y.o. is pretty tough as well!!

I'm sure I could comment on many other things, but I have to go to bed now :)

giovanni said...

Quite a character, your little Milo! Up to my fourth or fifth some people believed I could not speak any language because I did not say a word. So here you go, Milo, becoming fluent in Italian, French, Dutch, and English, I guess. Ma sei capriccioso... Allora, fuori!, a giocare, correre, combattere (con tuo padre)... e dopo règnera nuovamente la pace nella casa.

kristell said...

around the same age as milo i changed my daughter from her cot to a bed and i faced the exact same problem. From the day she was born she wasn't a great sleeper but from 1 year old we could after her bed time routine, leave her in her cot to fall asleep. all that changed when she moved to her bed and we spent endless nights trying to get her to bed and stay there. we were both stressed and shattered the only thing that works for us is that after a bed time routine and a story i lie down with her for 10 minutes max until she falls asleep and then leave the room. Job done!! it might not the right thing to do but it works really well for us.

Clo said...

Thank you all for your supportive messages! Giovanni, you are right: Milo is very 'capriccioso'!I think hthe arrival of his brother will fix that up, perhaps not right away, but in the long run...

Kristell, we try that as well, but he gets super excited at bed time and at the end it's us falling asleep in his bed and him running around the house like a party animal!!! I think we just have to be patient and persistent...hopefully iy will not take years!