28 June 2007

The level of nice around here has been obnoxiously high. I can’t, as much pleasure as it gives me, sit here and bitch about The Other Half because, honestly, there’s nothing too interesting to bitch about. He’s been good lately, and good is, well, it’s boring. I haven’t thrown anything in weeks. My arm is getting all flabby.

(Thank you for not pointing out that my arm was already all flabby to begin with.)

I’m Staying On Top Of Things and it’s such a weird feeling that I’m lost. Getting Things Done is just not natural to me and I honestly have no idea what I’m doing some days. I’ll find myself doing laundry, not because I have nothing else to wear, but because there just happens to be enough to make a load. Or I’ll catch myself washing a pot because there’s no room left in the dishwasher and I just don’t feel like letting it sit until the next run. Hell, I even sweep regularly. Something is seriously wrong.

And I’ve been nice lately. NICE. Not only is this so completely against the postpartum hormone-induced melancholy that I’ve been fighting since the birth of Muppet, but I’ve done it while enduring an abscessed tooth for an entire week because Dr. PainFreeDentistry is on vacation and I had to drag myself (against my will) into the Evil Dentist who swears that more than one shot of anesthesia for a root canal is just waste and get said root canal done while sweating profusely because PAIN SUCKS BIGTIME and not only all that but I had to pour all my lovely breast milk down the drain for an entire day and a half because Marc’s Sexy Doctor MADE ME take drugs to make my tooth feel better because I cried all the way through Marc’s physical because I was IN PAIN. (This run-on sentence brought to you by one of my ‘don’t breathe just talk’ moments.)

So it’s almost the weekend and I have SO MUCH crap to do. Tomorrow I’ve got to pump the boobies, wake up, dress, feed and take the kids in to the crèche, stop by the lab and see the vampires—with The Hubs because I’ve pitched enough of a royal fit that he’s getting lab work done to assure me he doesn’t have a cholesterol for real and just not because he’s never done the test, pump the boobies, drive to Chaumont and do a mad dash through LeClerc with the MP3 buying up an ungodly list of things because the cupboards are bare and they’ve got a double stroller that I NEED, run home, pump the boobies, eat and make things for the Rallye Poussette at the crèche tomorrow evening, pump the boobies, take MP3 in for her one month check-up, pick the kids up from the crèche and take them to the park for an hour, pump the boobies, do the rallye, pump the boobies, go home, feed everyone, send Marc off to sing, put the nasty beasties to bed, pump the boobies and then die. Oh, and then Saturday, I get to great all the wonderful people who LOVE me, and are coming to hike through the lovely Haut-Marnais woods and eat grilled animal flesh on Sunday. Oh, and maybe I’ll get to snack on something yummy made by someone who likes to flash her bosoms to get her way.

I'll let you know how it turns out...

posted by Doc at 17:36 | Permalink | 4 comments
26 June 2007
Since when does good mommy = horrible person?
I feel like a schmuck. I really do. At the crèche we’ve been having a problem. There’s a biter. He only bites four of the kids there, but two of those four happen to be mine. And apparently he bites randomly. No one needs to provoke him. So Friday when I picked Monkeys 1 & 2 up I went rather ballistic when the Directrice pointed out that Christine had been bitten again (her second time—Matthieu’s already had two bites, one of which you can still see some five weeks later, poor kid).

I took her to the doctor to have the bite constaté, which IS NOT reimbursed by the Secu thankyaverymuch. I got the schpeal from the doctor about how we need to look into the situation with the biter because This Is Not Normal. (No shit, Sherlock. That’s kind of why I’m here.) Then I fumed all evening, all through Marc’s concert, all weekend and part way into Monday morning. I composed a thousand letters to the CdC who runs the crèche telling them they need to get a policy for dealing with this kind of shit because everyone there feels their hands are tied—can’t literally kick the kid out, can’t punish him, etc.—because the next time it happens I’m taking my kids out AND suing.

Thus I was all puffed up Monday morning when I went in to see the Directrice again to inform her off all this stuff, my iron resolve in making sure that no one bites my kids (without reason—self defense is quite another thing) ever again. Then poof, she knocks the wind out of my sails.

See, the kid in question is a placement kid. He’s been put there by the French version of Social Services because they too are at their wits end. I’m not quite sure where he goes at night. It’s not like they have an orphanage around here but apparently there are no real parental type people involved in his care. He’s had a long line of assistantes maternelles looking after him, but apparently they change rather often as well. And the Directrice, too, is at her wits end with this kid. Apparently the biting is just the tip of the iceberg. He’s got severe social problems, ones that they aren’t equipped to deal with at the crèche. So she’s assured me that the PMI case worker is taking him out and looking for another solution.

And now I feel horrible. I am a heartless, mean person. Here’s this kid with difficulties, stuck in a system that’s not working and here I go and turn my back on him, too. Where’s the line in cases like this? I need to protect my children from a threat—and yes biting is a horrible thing. It leaves scars, can cause horrible infections, and traumatizes those who are bitten—can even turn them into biters themselves and in our house, that just ain’t gunna happen. Heads will roll first. But I feel that I have some civic responsibility to this kid, because honestly if he’s got this many problems at this age (he’s around two), then things are going to get mighty rough in the future. Shuffling him around might be easy for the moment, but in the long run it’s doing him, and society, more harm than good.

Gah! Why can’t parenting be easy?
posted by Doc at 10:11 | Permalink | 7 comments
19 June 2007
Someone pass the Tylenol
This, dear friends, is why in a few short years Marc and I will both be suffering from high-frequency hearing loss. Please keep in mind that in this video she's happy. When she's not, oh is it bad!

posted by Doc at 22:45 | Permalink | 8 comments
18 June 2007
Dear Friends,

For those of you looking for an excuse to visit or just waiting for me to get off my lazy arse and invite you, wait no more!

Les Amis de la Randonnée are holding their 25th Anniversary randonnée and cookout on July 1st and YOU, yes YOU are invited (by moi, of course).

There’s a 7 and 14 km hike for those on foot or horseback (bring your own horse, please) and a 15, 35 and 50 km course for those of you silly enough to come with a bike. And afterwards there’s a big cookout (10€ adults, 6€ kids 10 and under)

And if you’re nice, you’ll get to hold Mélanie.

And if you’re really nice, you can keep her!

No, you can’t! She’s too cool to give away.

Anyway, I need to know who all is interested as sign up officially ends yesterday (but as the Evil SIL is in charge of it, I’ve got some leeway).

Anyway, hope to see you soon!



posted by Doc at 21:44 | Permalink | 6 comments
Post Lunch Calm

You’ve got to be kidding. Calm? In this house? Well, for the day at least. I haven’t quite finished my to do list for the day, but I’m at a comfortable place. I’ve vacuumed the stairs, living room, hall, and kitchen and finished the laundry. I just want to mop before the day is done and considering the time (2 PM) that seems very doable. Woohoo! I can handle this, right?

Actually Getting Things Done is rather frightening. It makes me want to do more things, like that big grocery shop that I’m putting off, but that would require spending money and that is something the Hubzy Guy has asked me not to do. And he’s right.

Yes, there, I said it. He Is Right. You’re all probably falling over right now. “What’s wrong with Doc? Post-partum depression? Hormones?” Probably, but I cannot argue with logic these days and damn, when he’s right, he’s right. I hate it, really I do.

So yeah, not spending money, it’s my new thing. Right up there with vacuuming and unloading the dishwasher. New experiences are good for the heart, right? So I’m not going to go out and buy food. Don’t worry. There’s plenty around. I need to diminish the stock a bit because if there’s anything I’ve got in this house it’s food.

My father thought that as long as he had food in the house he’d never die. I spent many an afternoon freezing and canning and drying his bounty from the garden and the woods and I HATED it, swore I’d never be like that. Well, sadly I am, just in a different way. Our cupboards are overflowing with food, and if I toss out something else because the expiration date has passed us by Marc will probably start cutting off my fingers and toes.

If he starts with my toes it won’t be too bad, but when he gets to my fingers I won’t be able to blog anymore and that would truly suck. For me. And hell, how would I count to 20 then?
posted by Doc at 14:13 | Permalink | 5 comments
17 June 2007
Not quite as bad as that jerk at the Sous-préfecture, but still...

MP3 was born in a public hospital. I’m not really sure what advantages those private clinics have over the local public folks, especially since I have no ‘real’ complaints this time around. Oh, God, I hope I’m not getting too used to this place. Anyway, public hospital, right? This means that everyone working there is a fonctionnaire at some level. LOVELY! French civil servants and me. Can anyone say Water and Oil?

I swear, my visit this time around was a study in what’s so outrageously funny with the French Civil Servants—and why they drive EVERYONE (including the French) nuts.

When the MP3 was less than two days old I took the walk up to see her in the NeoNat unit. You have to understand that my room, 104, was at the far end of the maternity ward, on the ground floor. The NeoNat unit is all the way on the other side of the world from there, in another building, on the second floor. Now, when I was a little less mobile (basically my first visit and maybe another one or two after that), a nurse or aid would have to take me by wheelchair. This meant a trip in the elevator (OH! I have an elevator story!!) down to the basement, a nine kilometer ride through the tunnel connecting all the buildings (the hospital is more of a campus), then up in another, tiny elevator. Once on the second floor, I’d be pushed from one end of the pediatric ward to the other, past opened patient rooms and TWO BATHROOMS, to the doors of the NeoNat unit. Once in the NeoNat unit, I had to wash my hands in the sink located in the room where MP3 was hooked up to every machine known to man and put on a funky jacket/robe thing—jacket if I was breast feeding, robe if I wasn’t.

Now, walking up is a little different. A trip down the hall, up the stairs, down the other hall, up more stairs, across the enclosed bridge and one finds oneself in front of the back door to the NeoNat unit. Except the back door is actually the front door. And there begins the beginning of the problem with the nurse. On my first trip up by foot I rang, was let in and proceeded to do as I had done on all my other visits—meaning I washed my hands in the same sink as before.

Uh oh! No, not good. I had just soaped up when I was (snippily) informed that I had to wash my hands in the basin at the door. I wasn’t even allowed to rinse the soap off before being led by the nose down the hall. So once my hands were washed (well, rinsed at this point), I walked back up the hallway to see my baby.

Well, you know, I had an urge. The Urge. The same one I had every five minutes before the birth and only a bit less regularly since. I had to pee. So I asked where the nearest bathroom was, knowing full well that I pass TWO on the way up in the chair.

But those potties are off limits to the likes of me? Huh? See, they can’t let me into the pediatric ward because I might come back carrying germs. One must return to one’s room to pee, then come back.

You’re kidding?


So back down the hall, out the door, down the stairs, through the GYN floor, down more stairs, onto the OB floor and all the way down to the end of the hall. Where I peed, and started back, when I ran into the Exorcist who was quite shocked to see me up and about. So I explained that while she might be surprised at how well I was getting around, apparently the nurse in NeoNat thought I was right on target. And I explained how it was that I had to descend two flights of stairs and cross half the hospital to pee. And how it was impossible to use the toilets in the pediatric ward, toilets that were all of five meters from the front-door-that’s-actually-the-back-door to the NeoNat unit but were off limits because I’d become contaminated by just going onto that ward (that I had to ride through while in a wheelchair). She asked why I didn’t just use the nurses’ toilet.

Bwaahahahaha. See, I’d asked this same question before dragging myself back to my room. The reason? Contamination, again. ‘Can you imagine if everyone used our toilet? It’d get dirty!’

So, OB-GYN Kenobi is seeing red at this point. Here’s her patient, less than 48 hours after a cesarean (here considered as an excuse to get out of work for months on end), being forced to pee on the other side of the world.

Apparently on my way back through the numerous corridors and up the uncountable stairs, either Kenobi or one of her minions called up the nurse and read her the riot act because as soon as I’d re-washed my hands and re-buttoned up my (new, cleaner) blouse thingy, she (the nurse) read me the riot act. And later, even though my husband was right there with me, ready to hold my hand and even carry me if need be (yep, strong back that man), she INSISTED that the midwife come up and escort me back down to my room.


So the midwife arrives, a good 20 minutes later—the place was packed and pregnant women were being stuffed into closets and on other wards because there were so many of us that there was no room in the inn, so to speak, and she was understandably busy—and asks me to wait.


All I want to do at this point is lie down because, yes, I’d just had my innards exposed less than 48 hours before and while I do have a high tolerance for pain, everyone has their limits. I was at mine. And being yelled at by a nurse for deliberately trying to give my child a combination of cholera, tetanus and The Plague because I’d had The Urge had worn my patience down to nothing.

So Marc and I waited, and waited, and waited. And when the midwife finally came back to escort me down, grumbling just like I was since my husband was Right There, I asked her who had called and gotten me into trouble with the nurse, because boy was she pissed. Well, come to find out, that’s why we had to wait. Apparently the midwife gave the nurse a good talking to about exceptions to the rules and how making someone with a gaping hole in her gut cross the Andes to pee is one of those times when Exceptions Can Be Made.

Needless to say, I wasn’t exactly the most popular mother in that ward any longer. I imagine when MP3 left they all breathed a collective sigh of relief. ‘Fuckin’ Americans.’

Still, it is kind of sad how I can cross the entire Sick Kids floor and not risk anything because I’m in a wheelchair, but as soon as I walk on the floor I’d somehow become contaminated. And how is it that my ass is clean enough to use my own toilet without risking anything, but it would somehow funkify the nurse’s toilet? They’re both cleaned regularly, and honestly, in a hospital, how long does any toilet go between cleanings? Not long at all.

So yeah, a bit of comic relief and something to grumble about other than being stuck in a room with someone else and her screaming baby. And if nothing else, I got to see again how in France the rules are the rules and Jeez, don’t ever think of bending them.. Ever! Bad! Bad!

posted by Doc at 16:51 | Permalink | 6 comments
14 June 2007
The End of an Era

Marc’s off to Paris this morning to take the Au Pair Who Is Better Than Yours to the airport for her trip back ‘home’. As with all things, we’re both left with mixed feelings about the whole thing.

I’m sad to see her go, and not only because she did the dishes, the floors, the laundry for the kids, changed diapers, ran baths, chased after the screaming banshees and quite a few other things that gave me time to breathe, heal, and relax (can you believe it!), but also because she’s a sweet kid and there are too few of them out there, or at least it seems that way. And once she got used to us, she gave Marc no end of shit, and we all know I puffy heart anyone who does that.

But on the flip side of it all, I think we’re both breathing a little easier because 1-we don’t have to worry about getting dressed to go pee at night; 2-we no longer need to worry about dressing in the hot, steamy bathroom because we can now wander around naked again, and 3-did I mention we can wander around naked? Crappy reasons, I know, and honestly I’ve given up all modesty lately and am guilty of running around barely covered anyway because I Just Don’t Care—having three kids IN FRANCE kind of gets rid of any traces of modesty one holds so dear. So yes, back to running around barely or not at all covered and just in time for summer as well.

Oh, and I’ll be able to leave the WC door open again, much to the delight of the Monkeys who think it their God-given right to play with the roll of John Wayne Paper while I do a #2. (Yes, all you future mothers, THIS is what you have too look forward to!)

I feel that the young lady we’re sending back is a little wiser, a little worldlier, and even a little more mature than the one who stepped off the plane in Paris a while back. I know she’s able too look life’s hard decisions in the face and do what’s best for her, and hell, in this world, isn’t that just about the best we can hope for?

A big thank you to everyone who helped make her time here interesting and exciting and fun, especially the blister-inducing Miss Kylie Mac who is the queen, no GODDESS even, of budget, see-it-all-in-no-time Parisian sight-seeing. (The APWIBTY managed to do ALL of Paris in two days for a mere 30€—a price, and apparently a pace, that makes even Marc interested in seeing a bit o’ the City of Lights—but then he probably just wants to hang out with the pretty lady who made it all happen, hoping for a bit of FwaB-type action-although not with the Frog. The APWIBTY did say Marc was gay, but not quite that gay.)

And on a happier note, since good-byes are depressing and shit, I have officially returned to my pre-pregnancy weight!!!! Yay for me!!! (Sadly I have not returned to my pre-pregnancy form—everything is all shifted around and that’s just so not fair.) But hell, if I can continue loosing weight at this rate, by August I’ll look like Liv Tyler and geez, won’t I be glad I got spayed then! (And no, I won’t be offended if you now get up and vomit.)
posted by Doc at 11:05 | Permalink | 4 comments
12 June 2007
Gettin’ into the swing of things…

…is never easy when one is as lazy as I. But I’m getting there, although slowly. I’m just going to blame that on the speed bumps and potholes I’ve encountered on the road to serenity. I mean, we’ve lost our live-in help, and while we all knew the day would come, we had no idea it would come right now. Oh well. And the husband is going through revolving moments of being completely wonderful and being a total asshole. I’ll let you guess which one I handle better than the other. Suffice it to say he now realizes that three babies changes things for everyone living in this house, and that immunity from change is something that is not given out 'round here. Oh well.

The newest addition is simply adorable. And now, in this glorious moment of happiness I shall make all you new mothers jealous: She sleeps through the night. Well, she sleeps from around midnight straight through ’till eight or eight-thirty. But eight hours!!! In a row!!!! I swear, if Christine had been like that I might not have considered getting spayed.

OK. Who am I kidding. I would still have gotten spayed. In fact, being spayed is rather nice. No birth control pills. No worrying about if I am or if I’m not…again, oh, Dear Lord please NOOOOOO! (sorry for the temporary insanity)

So she’s wonderful. And pretty damn close to perfect. And we’re settling into a routine.

The older two adore her. Matthieu insists she’s his ‘p’tit frère’ although we’ve tried insisting that no, she’s more like a sister than a brother. Christine wants to kiss her all the time. In fact, like her brother did before, she kisses only the baby. We ask for a kiss and she pushes her cheek to us and waits. But for the baby, well, that’s COMPLETELY different. But the pair of them are happy to have her around, and try to do things with and for her. It’s too cute for words.

There’s only one thing that sucks. She doesn’t. Suck, that is. So breast feeding is a no-go. I’m back to the old pump (or rather a new one since the old one was worn out) and bottles. No, it’s far from ideal, and even getting a bottle down her neck takes an ungodly long time. But it’s either that or syringes, and that, no, just NO. What a frickin’ nightmare. So everything takes twice as long as it should and I get double work again. But this time I actually have enough milk to brag about. Woohoo! We’ve still got the stand-by formula just in case, and we’ve technically broken into it already. But that’s been more out of convenience than need. (yes, we are still lazy)

And the pounds are melting off my bones. I’m only three kilos away from the weight I started out at, and after that, I’ve got another fifteen or so to go until someone will let up about how bouncy my butt is. But hey, at the rate I’m going (five kilos per week) I’ll be looking good in a bikini by the end of summer (not!) providing I get the ole abs in shape (dream on!).

I’ve got so many things I want to write about, and when I’m better organized I’ll share all my fun hospital stories with you (and no, Marc didn’t almost pass out this time, sadly), including the Purple Hulk-Stone-Thing and how every visit to a hospital is a study in Just What IS Wrong with French Civil Servants. Anyway, that’s for another day.

Oh, and a HUGE thank you to everyone who has commented and e-mailed and (golly) sent things our way. You are all too kind, and as I keep telling everyone, I am just blown away by the generosity out there in the blogosphere. Maybe, just maybe, the world isn’t as fucked up as we tend to think.

posted by Doc at 10:39 | Permalink | 8 comments
08 June 2007
Zut ! Flûte ! and Caca boudin !
Hello to all in the Parisian Expat Mafia. I need help. Due to circumstances beyond the control of all human beings, my au pair (who is still better than yours thankya) is leaving us. Like right away. Like on Thursday.

And she’d really love to see some of the sights in Gay Paris (but not necessarily GAY Paris, although that could definitely be interesting too). I know some of you have offered to let her pop in for a visit, and I’d love, Love, LOVE for her to take you up on that, which is why I am appealing to you all right now.

I know most of you all have jobs, so accepting visitors during the week is difficult to say the least. And I feel horrible for even putting the request out there. I know it’s something I should do myself, show her around the great City of Lights. But I just have too damn many things going on right now that I cannot put aside even for the day.

So is there the odd chance that anyone out there would be able to show her the Big Things (she really just wants to see the Eiffel Tower, and maybe the catacombs) on Wednesday, and either put her up for the night or make sure she makes it to a hotel? Please? Anybody?
posted by Doc at 19:13 | Permalink | 2 comments
07 June 2007
Third babies….
…are toys.

With the first baby we were careful about every minute detail.

With the second one we were much more Zen.

And now the third one’s here and we’ve realized babies are made to have fun with. So without further ado, here’s MP3 in all her Mad Sumo Glory.

Hope this makes you giggle as much as us.

posted by Doc at 15:41 | Permalink | 14 comments
05 June 2007
Meet the Midget

Oops, I guess I wasn't clear last post. We are BOTH home, albeit after a rocky start. Anyway, here she is, Miss Mélanie Danielle Michelle who came screaming into our lives at exactly 3:30 last Tuesday afternoon. She weighed in at a whopping 4.810 kilos (or 10 1/2 pounds) for her 51 centimeters (or 20 or so inches). And she was the most beautiful shade of violet I have ever seen.

She was taken immediately into intensive care because my gestational diabetes went really wonky at the end and they were afraid she'd have problems. She also didn't want to inhale enough air to get rid of her beautiful purple hue, only enough to scream out her discontent, so they wanted to put her on oxygen. So we spent the first few days apart, which, if you'll excuse me sounding like the most horrible mother on the planet, probably wasn't such a bad thing. She did fine the entire time, surpassing everyone's expectations, and we were soon reunited--right after they'd taken me off the maternity ward, of course.

I promise to give you all the gory details another day, but right now I have to pretend to be a multi-tasking mom-type person, and honestly, I really suck at it. So forgive me if posting becomes a bit light for the moment. It's not that I don't love you, really...
posted by Doc at 19:13 | Permalink | 20 comments
04 June 2007
definition of HARD

having to walk away from this

but we're home now
posted by Doc at 20:58 | Permalink | 16 comments