Autumn 2014 letter

Dear kids,


As I said in my last post, your Momie turned out to be an amazing journal writer. She chronicled my entire childhood from 1975 to 1992, wrote down what I was doing, what I was interested in, my health issues, etc. For health, we have the French carnet de santé, but I’ve decided that I am going to be better about writing about your milestones, a few times a year.


So here goes :


Son :

You started Grande Section (Kindergarten) in September. This past summer we went to California and you did swim lessons for a few weeks, and you have now have amazing confidence in the water. You jump in no problem, you go under the water, you love your goggles, you love getting rings from the bottom of the water. I am pleased you enjoy swimming so much. In the summer of 2013 you did swim lessons in Canada, and before this you were very nervous in the water, and it’s amazing to see how far you have come.


This year you are doing swim lessons on Saturday afternoon (initiation), and you also go to the pool with your GS class on Mondays, so you’re getting a lot of swimming this year.


You are also doing music/piano again this year, the same class you did last year. In June you did a piano concert and played three pieces. Mama was floored !


You have little friends in Kindergarten and are very outgoing in class, although you have moments of doing « betises ». You adore your Kindergarten teacher, I feel we have gotten very lucky so far with teachers in maternelle. Who knows if it will last but that can be the case for anyone. I had very excellent teachers and not so great ones, and I think that’s just how it goes. The point is learning how to deal with less than ideal situations.


You can write your name and are learning to write the date now. It’s amazing to see how you can write. You love writing letters to your friend and teacher and are always asking us for paper and envelopes to write a letter to someone. You also currently love doing « school at home » and pretending to be the maitresse. You get out the blackboard/whiteboard and write the date on the board, then make up little activities for us to do, like circling where we see your name and striking out the other letters.


You sometimes have spats with your little friends, but I think that’s normal. Sometimes it upsets you, you are very sensitive, like your mama. I have a hard time reading into these situations and not projecting my own memories of my difficult situations, but I try to tell you that I know it’s not easy, but that you should never let anyone treat you badly, and that you are a big strong boy and you can tell people to stop doing things you don’t like, and to ignore their silly behavior. It took me to about the age of 23 to learn this, Son, but I do hope you learn it before I did.


The first week of school, September 4th, 2014, you lost your first tooth, the bottom left. It had only been wiggling for about a week.


Daughter :


You started Petite Section with the same maitresse that Son had. Your entry into school has been pretty smooth as a result, I think because you are familiar with the environment. That’s not to say you don’t have moments where you don’t want to go, but overall you seem to enjoy it. I feel guilty because since I have had to go back to work, I can’t bring you home for lunch twice a week the way I could with Son, only once a week, and also you have to go to the centre de loisirs (day camp) this Toussaint vacation instead of being able to go on outings.


I’m still working on how to be able to spend individual time with each of you, because I notice that really makes a difference on your behavior. Right now you and Son alternate between fighting a whole lot, and giving each other big hugs. Going out with the two of you is a challenge because you compete with each other for our attention, and your energy bounces off each other. I find it easier to go one on one, but am still looking for how to balance that.


Anyway, you have a few little friends in school, and even a cute little boyfriend, Theo, who lives in our building. Last week we went to the park after school, and Theo was holding your hand around the park. You would both let go to go chase a pigeon, then one of you would pick up the other’s hand again.


I can’t tell you what it did to my heart to see you, at the ripe age of three years old, already experiencing the sweet pleasure of a boy taking your hand. I hope that your life is filled with many sweet moments like this.


You started a dance class down the street with a teacher who has been teaching in our town for 35 years. She does classes starting at two years old. You seem to enjoy this class and I hope that dance will give you a lot of pleasure and confidence in your body. I bought you a little pink Danskin leotard and wrap skirt and you adore putting it on. I insist you have bare feet though, even if little ballet slippers are cute, I think it’s important early on in dance, especially with little girls, to be barefoot, to develop all the foot muscles properly.


What I like about this little studio is the fact that all the girls have a different mix of body types, not all of them are stick thin. I hope this will be a positive influence on you and that you will continue to enjoy dance. The future will tell.


You and I also do a “jardin aquatique”  class Saturday mornings. I love that we have this time together and I love getting into the pool after a long week. It’s very relaxing. You did your first swim lesson this summer in California and enjoyed it, and were putting your face in the water with goggles by the end of it, but now you don’t want to do that anymore. It’s a bit of a regression. But I think it’s understandable given all the new things that have happened in the past few months. I feel confident we will get back there. I have to say I do like the French approach of « eveil », of not attacking goals to soon, but just enjoying the pleasure of experiencing things. In this time of helicoptering parenting, I find it’s one of the things I really appreciate about France.


You had your third birthday party last week, and once again we celebrated with your birthday twin CC. We did a Frozen theme, and you wore an Anna dress and she wore an Elsa dress. It was the cutest thing ever. Everyone had a wonderful time.


You have a very strong personality, like you always did. You don’t like to listen to authority, be it your parents or the maitresse. A few weeks ago, in your dance class, you didn’t get a bon bon at the end because you were extremely naughty during the class, you didn’t listen to the teacher, so she said no bon bon. Boy were you mad about that ! You howled and howled. I was worried for a bit that this experience had put you off your dance class, but it doesn’t seem to have done that. The next class you apparently were better behaved.

I feel it’s delicate dance of cultivating your fighting spirit, not beating it down, but also teaching you that in life we have to live by certain rules. Certainly it’s easier for all of us if you would listen once in a while. But you are definitely a « rebelle », and like to do your own thing, and I really admire that about you, and hope you will always keep it.


I got you a pink balance bike in Germany this summer, which I carried back with us on the train, and you are slowly learning to use it, but it’s difficult. You have always been a daredevil athelete so I feel confident you will get it eventually.


Currently you have your hair cut short, with baby bangs, a la Amèlie. I love this look on you. You are going through a rough sleeping phase, you’ve been in a big girl bed since California and you don’t want to stay in it, and you don’t want to take a nap at school. I don’t even know if you need it but to be honest Daughter, it’s Mama and Papa who really need that nap on the weekends ! So we insist on the quiet time, even if it’s not idea.


Oh, and in case you were wondering, you are nearly dry at night even if you do still sleep in a pull-up, and you haven’t had any accidents at school. Today was your first day of centre de loisirs for the vacation. At first you didn’t want to go, but then you saw that a little friend from your class was there, and you went right in. I’m happy that the centre de loisirs is in your school, with a few familiar people.




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