Monet

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dear artsy son,

did I ever tell you about the first time my mother, your Grandma, took me to see Monet’s gardens at Giverny, in the summer of 1990, when I was sixteen years old? What was memorable about that day was that we had run out of francs, and so we didn’t have enough to take the bus back to the train station. So we had to walk the seven kilometers in searing heat, with not even enough to buy a cold drink.

It’s a pretty walk, one I probably would have appreciated more had we done it by choice rather than necessity. Which is what we did this week with your other grandma, who you just met for the first time this week.

She arrived from Canada bearing a suitcase full of gifts: warm fleece baby clothes that only Canadians know how to make, and food items for Thanksgiving (your first, next month, though obviously you won’t be able to profit much from it), and maple syrup, and maple spread, er, sorry, I mean, map-o-spread. And Burts Bees Baby Bee products for you: shampoo and wash, diaper cream and buttermilk baby lotion.

We’ve enjoyed spending time with her, she even babysat you on Tuesday morning so Mama could run an errand at the Caf, and yesterday very nicely entertained you for half an hour so Mama could do the pile of dishes and fold the laundry. Funny how such simple things become complicated when you have a little baby who demands attention. And it’s not like that’s my favorite thing to do when you nap, so it often piles up. It was nice to have someone to hold you while I did that.

And we also went to Giverny. Your papa had to go to London for the day to do some interviews, so it was just me, you and Nana. You had a fit on the bus ride from the train station to the village, and I felt for the first time like one of those people with a screaming baby. But then you settled down and we had a nice walk through the gardens and over the bridges on the water lily pond.

Partly because I was traumatized by the bus ride and partly because I had always wanted to re-walk it under better circumstances, we decided to walk back to the train station at Vernon. I had taken a trip about five years ago with your godmother in which we had rented bicycles to and from the station, so I remembered it was a pretty stretch, with old churches and bed and breakfasts, and then a paved bike path, and then you turn and walk over the Pont de Paris.

It was misty and sprinkled on us a few times, but there was a lovely damp green smell in the air, and you had your stroller rain cover and we had umbrellas and impermeables, and so it was nice. You napped all the way back…

Observations: Not only are you trying to turn, you are trying to stand! You don’t much like to be on your back, you much prefer to sit up or when someone holds you in a standing position. You have also started to pull hair, so I have to tie it back now. You regularly sleep through the night now, but of course that could change at any moment so I am just grateful for it now while it’s going on.

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