Friday, February 27, 2009

Go on, Say it in French..."Cleef-anger."

I stayed up way too late last night watching "Cliffhanger" with Hubster.

I always do this to him, I surf around the channels until I find something that will hold my ADD brain in place for a few minutes, just long enough to get Hubster sucked in as well, and then I announce I'm going to bed. This drives him nuts.

"How can you not want to know what happens," he always asks?

Last night, he persuaded me to stay and try to watch the film through to the end. He did this by basically sitting on me and Whoopsie.

I have to say, that, overall, watching Sylvester Stallone as a rock climbing guide could have been a hell of a lot worse. I would love to have been able to nail a toe hold like he did with those steel enforced boots, but it's a movie and I'll let that slide. What saved it for me this time was the dubbing.

Normally, I can not stand it when English or American movies are dubbed over in French. Not because I don't like hearing French or following the translation, it's that the dubbing sometimes does not match what I know to be the true voice of the actor, and hence, really screws up my whole opinion of a movie. For example, Harrison Ford dubed over in "Six Days, Seven Nights" sounds like a loopy frat boy who sidelined with the Chipmunks in an all boys choir rather then the honey voiced, weather beaten drunk he played in English.

Watching "Dirty Harry" dubbed over nearly kills me too. Clint Eastwood does not sound like that! No, not at all! And Julia Roberts in "Erin Brockovich," same thing. Even cartoons can send me over the edge with this change in tonality. "Noddy" (aka "Oui-Oui") just sounds way too chipper in French!

That being said, Sly was saved last night. The French voice used for him actually made him sound intelligent, sensitive, coherent, and oh my gosh, human rather than a bumbling hulk of a man trying to speak through cotton balls shoved in his mouth. It almost seemed like Sly could act!

In fact, the dubbing was so good, I actually got into the movie and stayed squished under Hubster until the very end. Seeing John Lithgow playing a psycho path is always nice right before bed and I thank the French voice of Mr. Lithgow for really helping me appreciate the nuances of well spoken French cuss words.

In that light, dubbing does have it's good points. Heck, since I dropped out of my French classes last year, I gotta keep up with my vocabulary somehow, don't I?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sleep Hiking By Braille

My nights are interesting lately. Exhaustion hits early and lucky for me, Hubster is happy to support me in my efforts to be in bed by about 9:30pm at the latest. We climb the stairs, do the before bed routine of teeth and toilet, and then hit the sack. Normally, I'm out like a light.

It's around 1am that the fun begins. See, sporting a belly like I've got going on right now makes it nearly impossible to roll over. And when I finally succeed in at least rousing myself just enough to even consider that effort, I realize I need to pee.

I haul myself up and out of bed, waddle down the hall, and in the dark I try to find the toilet. The whole time, I'm rubbing the creases on my arms and legs that have become like a full relief map of the Grand Canyon. As I wander back to our room, I'm still hiking the trails on one side of my body, trying to remind myself to now sleep on the other side.

About 4-4:30am, I get to repeat this whole adventure, though the Canyon has now somehow reproduced itself on my other side. Luckily, I haven't seemed to developed any blisters from this heroic nighttime jaunt though I have suffered the odd cramp or two for my efforts.

I'm also usually really lucky to have good company on my trips. Last night, for example, Barack Obama and his kids showed up to go with me. Unfortunately, he was basically hiking in a rugby scrum so I wasn't able to talk to him much less see him, but somehow my mom (when did she get there?) was able to talk to the younger daughter and invite her to have crepes with Mini-Husband and The Princess after the hike.

Tonight I'm hoping for a trip back to Grand Teton National Park. Heck, I've already got the real relief map of the Tetons where my boobs used to be so this should be an easy trip to make. I just hope it's Hubster with me this time and not Richard Simmons like the other night. I'm still freaking out about that one.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Hello Little One

Her she is at 30 weeks. Our little Whoopsie, growing well and giving us a fabulous profile shot for posterity. She's happily tucked up in there with her head under my ribs and her feet on my bladder. Ever so fun, let me tell you!

But when I look at that little face, I get all emotional and weepy. Really, all that kicking and whacking me in the stomach is just fine.

You keep it up in there, Whoopsie, you hear me? Grow baby, grow.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Volcanology As Explained at the Birth Control Bed & Breakfast

As I was meandering between the kitchen and dinning room the other day, I caught the end of one of the many in depth conversations that seem to occur nightly while eating yogurt. This time the subject was one we had to tread lightly with, volcanos.

See, merely mentioning the word in The Princess' presence sends her screaming and wailing in circles around Hubster and I. One time, Mini-husband brought a book home from the library on the subject and we had to take great pains to hide the thing so she wouldn't fall into hysterics at the cover picture.

Thus, I shook with fear when I heard her ask Hubster, "Why are volcanos so powerful?" I braced myself for the tears and clumps of hair, but to my surprise, she actually seemed ready to listen and absorb a little volcanic information.

Hubster smiled at her and said,

"Well, you know Princess....sometimes when your tummy is really upset and gurgling and rumbling, and you run to the potty and it all comes PHWFTSTWLFWWW out of your bottom really fast, well that's kinda of like what happens with a volcano."

The Princess stared at him. Mini-Husband stared at him. I stared at him.

Cue hysterical laughter.

Welcome to the latest festive event at the B&B. The contest to see who's got the "Best Volcano Butt." So far, Bubba-Love is ahead 2-1, but my money's on Typhon making a late comeback.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Amen for the Second Friday of a Two Week School Vacation

It's Friday night. The kids are beyond knackered after a thrilling week including trips to the pool, ice skating, haute cuisine at McDonald's & Quick, and not to mention several fabulous kid-fests at various and sundry friends' houses.

Hubster returns from the land of my people tomorrow and then come Monday, it's back to school.

Dare I say it? I feel like I've survived. And what's even more incredible, I had such a wonderful time this week. I'm almost sad to see it end.

Well, maybe that's a stretch.

I'm glad we had a good week and that I got a chance to enjoy my people. I can't wait for Hubster to get home and I'm looking forward to dropping the appropriate children at the appropriate school/creche Monday morning and then taking a really deep breath.

Vacations. Love 'em, hate 'em. Overall, I'm just glad this was a good one.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Something I Never Expected on a Monday or Any Other Day for That Matter

I had finally found a moment to sit down and deal with the most pressing of issues (i.e what should my status say on Facebook) when Bubba-Love calls from upstairs that he's poopy.

Lovely. My favourite thing. Wrestling a 3 year old out of a dirty nappy, trying to wipe him clean before he rolls over, runs out of the bathroom and goes and jumps on my bed. Fun.

"I'll be right there, honey," I call back at him.

Now, it must take me all of about 2 minutes to roll my tookus and belly off the computer chair and start heading up the stairs.

As I reach halfway, a smiling Mini-Husband bounds down to greet me.

"Don't worry, Mom. It's all taken care of."

"What's taken care of, " I ask?

"Bubba-Love's poopy. I got him to lay down, I wiped him and then I put the dirty nappy into the trash can."

And with that, a clean smelling three year old comes sprinting past us. I grab him for a quick peek to verify the situation.

"See," says Mini-Husband, "he's fine."

OK. Great. Wow. Oh My God. This is....this is....well, lovely!

"Thanks, sweetheart. That was very nice of you."

"No worries, Mom."

This can't be the same kid that won't eat vegetables or clean his room or play nicely with is sister, now could it? The one who is now sitting in the lounge making farting noises with a balloon?

But, yes. It's is. This 7 year old in question just did something that Hubster cringes to do, something that I dream of never having to do, WITHOUT ASKING.

I'm waiting for the lightening bolts or the earthquakes to start any minute now.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

How to Make It Snow Chez Vous

*Take every stitch of clothes not in their assigned place and throw them into the laundry basket.

*Haul incredibly heavy and awkward mountain of stinky things to the basement.

*Separate and chuck as much as possible into the washing machine and add soap.

*Quickly leave basement to go do other pressing projects, i.e surf the web, drink a cup of tea, or day dream about wearing a bikini again sometime in this lifetime.

*Hours later, head down to basement to move laundry.

*Open washer to see all kinds of weird grey and white gelatinous material everywhere.

*Find what's left of the nappy you had forgotten to take out of Bubba-Love's pajamas.

*Throw it all in the dryer in hopes that you won't break the machine you just got fixed and that said dryer will suck off all the weird gelatinous bits as the laundry dries.

*When the laundry is finally dry, remove all articles and shake hard.

Voila, il neige!

I highly recommend you do this with a dark load for the ultimate experience. Trust me.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Booking My Ringside Seat for the Next 40 Years

It's funny for me to be celebrating Hubster's 40th birthday today. I don't feel like I've known him long enough for him to be forty, if that makes any sense. He's been funny about this birthday too, not wanting to make a big deal out of it because it's "just another birthday." Sure, I get that but at the same time, this is huge. He's made it to 40!

So today, we're talking about taking the kids to the pool and then having cake when we get home. (And contrary to popular belief, there will be no peanut butter or Nutella on said cake! As for a picture of "Cars" we'll see if he behaves himself in the wave pool...) Quite the change from his rocking 30th birthday party in Capetown, surrounded by friends dancing late into the summer night, eh?

As we went to bed last night, I asked him if he ever imagined his life being like this when he was 40.

"Sure," he said, "I could have imagined living in France. Having a kid or two. But definitely not the American wife and the need to shop for a yellow school bus."

I wish I had had the chance to know Hubster when he was 10, when he was 20, and even to have been at that rocking party in Capetown. I would loved to have watched the evolution of this man, from his boyhood near Margate to his adult life in various parts of the globe.

I would have loved to have been to there, a witness to some of the major events that have shaped him. His years with Anderson, when his grandma died, the birth of his niece and nephew, the solo bike trips across France, the times he went sailing with his dad, his passion for music and the piano, and his now defunct addiction to golf.

If I had known him then, would I love him any less than I do today?

Wait. Don't answer that.

It's right that I got Hubster when I did. And today we are going to celebrate those 40 wonderful years that have made him who he is. But we will be celebrating for the next 40 years to come as well. The years where he is a father, a husband, and most importantly, mine.

Happy Birthday, my love.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Two Weeks Off

And so today starts the February vacation 2009. I've started the morning with a strong coffee (sorry Whoopsie) and a repeating mantra through my head, "I can survive this. I can survive this. I can survive this."

I think most of your realize just how much I love my kids, but have I ever really explained how much I love that fact that they go to school and to the creche? I got lucky that both Mini-Husband and The Princess started school here when they were 2.5. Yes, I know that sounds young, but for someone like me, someone for who the thought of home-schooling creates waves of panic attacks in the middle of the night, seeing them off to school that young was a gift.

It must be said that I may not have been so comfortable about sending my precious children to school that young if it hadn't been for our particular school. It's a simple set-up, two small rooms, a 2 minute walk from our front door. Bear in mind that this 2 minute walk takes about 10 when I've got all three tagging along, but we tend to get there on time most mornings.

In Mini-Husband's class this year, there are 18 kids. That's it. One room, one class, one teacher and a large majority of boys. (Of the 18, only 4 are girls.) As for The Princess, she shares another classroom with 18 other kids, ranging in ages from 3 to 5. During the day, her teacher somehow manages to teach pre-reading skills to the 5 year olds while not cracking when yet another 3 year old has a little "accident." Here is a lesson in patience that I need to learn myself.

It's thanks to this small school that we've made such good friends in the village and that I can now speak 'real' French. All those afternoons waiting for the kids, listening to the conversations about life, pets, health, weather, local gossip: all of it in words I would have never come across if I hadn't been standing there. Truth be told, I needed the school as much as the kids did.

I think it's for this reason that I miss school so much during vacations. Besides the obvious of having to deal with my people 24/7 for two weeks which is a sure ticket to therapy in my book, it's the lack of contact with our village that I miss. Sure, we have some play dates to look forward to and we get to do things we couldn't do during school times, but I miss that daily interaction, that daily check-in with the others who call this place home. And of course, the joy of leaving my children in the capable hands of someone else for the day...

I guess I'll plod off to the kitchen for yet another cup of coffee and sing my mantra once again. Heck, it's only two weeks. I can survive this, right?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Conversation at 90 Kilometers per Hour

After having met Hubster for dinner, the family divided and conquered for the ride home: all the boys together in the quatre x quatre and just The Princess and I in my car.

After about 15 minutes of silent travel, where I had time to reflect on the fact that my brain is starting to resemble and respond like a turnip more and more each day, The Princess pipes up,

"Mom, have you noticed how quiet it is without Mini-Husband in the car?"

"Ah, yeah, sweetheart," I laughed, "You're right. It is quiet being just us."

I glanced at her in the rearview mirror, her whispy 5 year old hair framing a little smile on that beautiful, angelic face.

Five minutes later she chimes up from the back,

"Hey, Mom. Did you hear that?"

"What, honey?"

"Did you hear that noise?"

"What noise?

"The noise of us being quiet. It's nice isn't it."

And it was.

I need to find more ways to give her a chance to speak. Even if all she wants to do is listen.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

We Could Call It "Soggy Bottoms" Perhaps...

It's dawned on me lately that my English is not right. Hubster would rejoice at my admitting this, but it's not just my use of the words "pavement," "stop keep doing that," and "blimey" that cause problems for me, it's the use of the words "bread" and "toast."

Here's my dilemma....

For me in my non-French upbringing, a baguette is French bread. Which is technically correct. It IS French bread. But me calling it that seems a little redundant, don't you think? Why? Well, cause all the bread we eat here is "French" and there are more types of bread in this country than I could have ever imagined.

Harder still is the whole concept of French toast. The French don't consider French toast "toast" and I think I have to agree with them. Just try stuffing an egg soaked piece of bread in a toaster and see what happens! Pain perdu, as the French call this fabulous concoction, is happily consumed by French and non-French alike, but as Mini-Husband wants to know, "why do we call it French toast when it's made by an American?"

I've decided that the kids have a point. I need to call these bread items by more appropriate names. Hence, we'll call the bread by their proper French names. The baguette is just a plain old baguette, a couronne is the big old round wheel we get when company is here, and la boule is the big lump of fabulous doughy stuff that tastes great with butter and jam. Worst comes to worst, if I at least offer boulangerie bread or sandwich bread, the kids will know what I'm talking about. A discussion about pain shouldn't be painful.

As for French toast, well, I'm still working on a name for that one. "Eggy bread" doesn't really get the old appetite all excited, now does it? I could refer to it as "that-other-bread-thing-we-cover-with-syrup" and maybe that would work. Perhaps it's best to stick with pain perdu and just hope for the best.

But, alas, I can just see The Princess and Mini-Husband years from now, sitting in a Denny's, scanning the menu in vain for their version of "American toast" and then having to do an intense pantomime to explain exactly what it is they are looking for. Ah, the never ending joy of raising really culturally screwed up children!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Always a Bubba to Me

I have to admit that I really pushed Hubster into having a third child. I wanted to add that extra crazy element to our lives, really shake up the easy pattern of "man to man defense" and the ability to have any car on the market as a family car. I wanted the chaos of three little people, of family in a fuller form, of siblings.

And boy did we get that with our number three.

There is no doubt that there is something about Bubba-Love. We find ourselves laughing with him so often, smiling at his little songs, giggling when he dances, enjoying those times when he leans the top of his head at you for a kiss. He's a pickle this one.

Here he is now three years old and a little man of his own making. He has absolutely no interest in using the potty. He likes his bottle and will not tolerate regular cows' milk for love or money. He's attached to almost every Disney/Pixar film character and will proudly name you all the cars from "Cars." He's obsessive compulsive with his books and cartoons, reading or watching the same story over and over again for weeks at a time.

He's picked up on who speaks French and who speaks English and is very happy to tell you how he's going to be a "big brudder." He pitches a fit when it's time to go to the creche, but always greets me with a smile at pick-up time telling me what a good day he's had. He remembers our friends who've come to stay at the B&B, and he's always happy to go on a tractor treasure hunt or splash in the biggest mud puddles he can find.

He sings with Typhon, chases Anouk and calls Abaka, "Abdecka." He loves his brother and sister, his Grandma and Grand-dad, his Kitty and BaPa. He's a joy and a blessing, even when throwing toys or fighting to stay in the bath.

Happy third birthday, Bubba-Love! You have no idea how glad we are to have you here.