Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The night before Christmas eve, with a toddler and a baby

T'was the night before Christmas eve, 
when all through the house,
not a creature was stirring, 
not even a mouse. 

I had just dropped off to sleep 
after an hour of folding laundry, 
when suddenly the baby woke 
crying rather loudly. 

I took her into bed, 
cuddled her and shushed her 
but lo and behold, 
she vomitted everywhere. 

I cleaned up the bed 
and held her tight, 
we cuddled until 2 o clock, 
settling in for the night. 

A little voice woke me, "mummy, pipi!", 
I went to his room, sat him on the potty, 
he yawned and out fell his dummy, 
splashed into the potty! 

He cried rather loudly, 
I shushed him and said 
"I'll get you another one, 
get back into bed." 

I ran downstairs, 
grabbed a new dummy and knew, 
from the noises I could hear, 
the baby was awake too. 

Kissing my boy 
and settling him in, 
she started to cry, 
she'd woken her daddy. 

Back into bed, 
comforting the baby, 
she decided it was time to play, 
oh God save me. 

She pulled at my hair, 
stuck her finger up my nose, 
but half an hour later, 
result, she snores! 

And then it was the adults, 
we couldn't drift off, 
tossing and turning 
and trips to the loo. 

Almost sleeping again, 
but a cry from our son, 
his nightlight had gone out, 
the bulb had gone boom! 

FP looked for a lightbulb 
at 4am, 
fixed it up and 
our boy was asleep again. 

But the baby had woken, 
she was sick on me, 
she must have caught something, 
this is so not funny. 

And a while later, 
a storm kicked up, 
the scaffolding on our house 
banged so much. 

It woke our toddler, 
he cried and cried, 
FP went to his bed, got in, and stayed there 
(he was so tired he "could die"). 

T'was the morning before Christmas, 
when all through the house, 
not a creature was stirring, 
except maybe a mouse, 
because there are droppings all over our bloody garage floor again. 


Monday, December 08, 2014

The Little Man's First Birthday

So it was a whole month ago but we've only just stopped the celebrations!  I can't quite believe our baby is one year old.  I know everyone says it and everyone warns you to make the most of it when they're babies but it's so true - the time flies by.

I started planning the birthday party months in advance.  I saw a rainbow cake.  I wanted to make my own rainbow cake.  I made a rainbow cake!  And thanks to the rainbow cake I started to plan a rainbow-themed birthday party.  It was all going well; I'd bought special party plates, cups, wine glasses and had started making decorations all to fit in with the rainbow theme but at some point I lost interest in the rainbow-ness (apart from the cake) and about a week before the big day I changed my mind and started frantically planning a Moustache Bash.  I found some awesome free printables from  I kept the rainbow cake though, even though it had nothing whatsoever to do with moustaches, although thinking about it now, how cool would a rainbow 'tache look!



Friday, March 22, 2013

Off to Scotland we go!

I haven't had an awful lot of time to blog this past week; we're going to Scotland tomorrow and the packing has just been horrendous.  But it's all going to be so worth it once we get there, ohhh yes it is!  You see, it's the first time we've been to Scotland since Little A arrived and I can't wait to take him 'home'.  Can't wait!

Admittedly I'm slightly freaking out about the 2 hour flight with the baby though...My only hope is that we won't be 'that' family with the screaming baby.  I know, I know, I'm certain that I've complained about babies crying on planes somewhere on this blog but that was before.  Now I'm going to be the one trying to ignore the dirty looks of other passengers, pretending that I don't know they're fantasising about punching me in the face while I simultaniously try everything possible to calm my baby.  Oh dear...

So you won't hear from me for the next week or so.  I hope you all have a lovely Easter!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Motherly Love Is...

...Building tents with your 9 month old son.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Big Bad Words

FP comes from a long line of swearers.  I didn't realise how bad his swearing was at the beginning of our relationship because

a) we were young and swore often because it was kind of 'cool'
b) he swore in French.

But my husband, and his whole family, are big swearers.

Although I knew certain French swear words (merde, for example) before meeting FP, he and his family have definitley been the people who have taught me the most 'gros mots' and if you sat at the dinner table with them one evening and counted the number of bad words that came out of their mouths I'm pretty sure you'd be shocked (or impressed, depending on your own opinions on cursing).

Because of them, I've found myself in more than my fair share of embarrassing situations during my ex-pat life in France.  You see, my in-laws swear so much in every day conversation that certain bad words are so indistinguishable from acceptable words that during my first week working at my first job in France I said I was a 'connasse' (stupid bitch) when in fact all I meant to say was 'oops, silly me' (or more likely, 'I'm an idiot').  Roll on a few years and you'd have thought I might have learned the difference between acceptable and unacceptable words but alas...I was working with children, teaching English.  One of my students (age 6 or 7) was doing something revolting and I told her that it was 'degueulasse' (minging, gross,'s not a swear word as such but shouldn't be used with kids).  Yeah.  She cried.

Ah bad words, what would life be like without them!

In my experience as an English teacher, swear words are probably the funnest vocabulary lesson ever and without a doubt - although I'm still not sure the exact reason for this - the naughtiest words are so much easier to retain than any piece of 'useful' vocabulary for an English student.  People are fascinated by bad words in a foreign's true!  I know I can't be the only one who sat at the back of the class at high school, giggling, with a German dictionary open at 'scheisse'.

Ten years on from high school and I still occasionally think swear words are funny.  There are certain times and places where it can make me laugh, like in a stand up comedian's show or if FP is telling a story and uses a 'gros mot' for emphasis.  I've also been known to swear A LOT when I'm angry.  Otherwise, I come from a family of non-swearers where the odd 'shit' or 'shite' is acceptable when emotions are running high but we never go further than that.  I recently used the 'F' word in front of my mum for the very first time while I was driving and panicking and I cannot begin to tell you how ashamed I felt, even though my mum just said 'calm down' and later revealed to me the word has also slipped out of her own mouth when in the car without my dad who, it has to be said, would be shocked to hear either of us use the f-bomb.

And as I'm getting older I'm realising I've been turning into my dad.  Without the beard.  Okay, so I still swear if I'm annoyed but I'm trying to change that habit.  There's a little baby boy in our house, about to start learning how to talk and I'm very aware of that fact.  He already understands the word 'dog' (he'll 'woof' like a dog if you ask him to) and 'dance' (he'll bob up and down rythmically) and I really don't want him to be a baby swearer, in English or in French.

And so the time has come to start changing FP's bad habit of swearing.  When I told him this he looked at me the way a dog looks at his owner when he's sitting on the loo - you know, head cocked to the side, 'whatcha doing?' written all over his face - and said "but Linsey there are no other words in the French language to replace a 'gros mot' quite so elequently."

"There are loads of words to replace swear words."  I said.  "Crotte, mince, zut..." I listed off on my fingers.

He looked at me wide eyed and pointed an accusatory finger my way.  "You want me to sound like a dafty *!  No one uses those words above the age of 5 and below the age of 85."  He hmphed**.  After a moment he asked me what words I'll be replacing my own swear words with.

I looked at him, all dignified and said, "flip, sugar, oh dear..."

FP smirked.  "We'll see," he said and turned back to the TV.

It wasn't long before I got the chance to use my new swear word replacements.  That evening I dropped a full wine glass all over the kitchen floor.  There was red wine & broken glass everywhere and not only that but it was the last of the bottle!  The frustration built up inside me like a bomb about to explode.

"OH F-"

"Ah-ah" FP interrupted me.  "No swear words."  I looked desperately from him to the baby and back again.

"F-F-F-FLIP FLIP FLIIIIIIP!"  I said through gritted teeth.  "OH FIDDLESTICKS!"

It really didn't make me feel better at all.  Not the way a good old fashioned 'shit', 'shite' or 'f**k' would have made me feel better.  And I suppose it was at that moment that I realised I had two choices : sound like a dafty everytime I needed to swear or have a baby swearer.

 I still haven't quite made up my mind on that one...

* dafty = idiot in Scottish slang
** yeah, I did just make up a verb!

Monday, March 11, 2013

What's He Wearing Today?

Dribble bib from Next
Plain white vest from Marks and Spencer
Grey sweater vest from Okaïdi
Navy cords from Boutchou
Grey and navy socks from Okaïdi

Story time

Little A was refusing to nap but, having been awake and on the go for the past 5 hours, he was getting pretty grouchy so I sat myself down on the sofa, put him on my knee and chose a boardbook to read together.  It was 'That's not my puppy' from the 'That's not my...' series (I highly recommend these touchy feely books, they're so cute!).  Miraculously, as soon as I started reading, Little A's grumpy wee face lit up and he reached out eagerly to stroke the puppy's fur on the front cover.  We were halfway through when I realised that I couldn't turn the next page.   The cardboard pages seemed to be firmly stuck together.  Being very careful not to damage the book I slowly managed to peel the pages apart and opened the book at one of Little A's favourite puppies :  the puppy whose 'ears are too shaggy' .  But lo and behold one of that puppy's poor shaggy ears was covered it really?  I gave it a good sniff.  Yes.  Yes, it was. 

Baby vomit.

What a glamerous life I lead.

*photo was when he was 4 months old.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

What's He Wearing Today?

Ok people.  I am obsessed with baby fashion.  Obsessed I tell you!

There's a post on a parenting forum I know where people post photos of their scrumptious wee babies in scrumptious wee outfits.  I love it!  But I can't participate because I've completely forgotten my password and my user name so...I'm going to do it here.

This wasn't today.  This was a few days ago but it's one of my favourite pairs of dungarees that Little A has ever owned and I think this is probably the last time he'll get to wear them as they're a wee bit nippit (that's a Scottish word for too tight / too small).

Checked dungarees from Sergent Major.
Green t-shirt "stop les punitions" ("stop the punishments") was a gift and I don't recognise the label...
Beige long sleeved vest from Petit Bateau
Socks with non-slip grips on the soles from Baby-Walz

La Belle Saison : Part Three

The beginning of part three should probably have started when Little A was born.  His arrival was evidently what changed everything.

FP, the pussy-chat Ollie and I had been living in Versailles since I moved to France.  However, if you know the Parisian region of France you will be aware of the impossible housing prices and the tiny apartments.  We wanted out.  With a baby on the way we wanted to buy a house with a garden and enough bedrooms to have a couple more babies in the future.  But with FP's job keeping him in Paris, and him not wanting to add on any more time to his 2 hour commute to and from work every day, we were stuck renting a 58m² flat in Versailles.  As we prepared the new baby's bedroom - a cot and chest of drawers squashed in beside our desks and computers in the office - we couldn't help but feel disappointed that we would be raising our first child in a tiny flat with mould growing up the walls.  It just felt wrong.

When Little A arrived two things happened.  The first thing was that we lost our poor little cat to an unexpected heart attack before I got home from the hospital.  He is still very much missed in our lives.

The second thing was that FP, without telling me, began to consider leaving his job.  Now that our baby son was here he couldn't bear to have us stay where we were, paying for the over-priced cost of life in Ile de France without getting anything out of it.  So on the very first day back at work after his paternity leave he started searching for another job.  And funnily enough, the company in Germany, where FP had worked as a student, was looking for a new engineer.  He sent a CV and a cover letter immediately and got a reply the next day from the boss, saying they remembered FP well and when could he come for an interview.  With us both feeling very hopeful, FP went to Germany for an interview and was offered the job of his dreams 3 days later!  

Now, we weren't ready to leave France completely, and luckily FP's new work was on the German border so the obvious solution was for us to move to Alsace...Somewhere near Strasbourg but not too near.  We chose a village.  A beautiful, friendly village.

And here we are, 6 months later.  We now live in a big, modern house (220m²!) with a garden and a beautiful bedroom for Little A.  Life here is much, much cheaper than Versailles and for us life is also much better here.  It seems we're not really city dwellers after all.  We get to make the most of our weekends together as a family and Germany is only 15 minutes away, where groceries are even cheaper!

We're very happy here.  Of course we often stop and think about how Ollie the cat would have loved life here.  Though I guess he's a happy kitty in cat heaven right now, probably playing with a ball of wool or drinking from the running tap...

So this is the next chapter of my life.  Our lives.  Here in Alsace.

*Little A.  That's what I'm calling him.  FP's name also begins with an 'A' and he's my 'Big A' but similar to when the actor in a soap opera quits and the production team decides to replace him with another actor who looks nothing atall like the original in the hopes that viewers won't notice anything, I find it would be far too confusing for me to start calling FP by his new nickname of 'Big A'.