Thursday, November 13, 2008

Progress... in More Ways Than One!

Right now I'm feeling the need to write about Emma and all that we're experiencing together these days: her discoveries, her reactions to everything around her, our exchanges... And I'm realizing that if I don't get some of this down, NOW, that I'll regret it later. I'm trying to recall now some of the things that she has done over the last couple of weeks that have really made me laugh or smile, thinking to myself how important it is that I remember that particular moment. For example, when I was lacing up my tennis shoes a few days ago, she looked up at me from her transat chair and just started giggling -- I haven't the slightest idea what made her laugh (maybe it was how big her mommy's feet are?), but it was of course contagious, and I started laughing too... She's been giggling more and more like that, but often for completely inexplicable reasons. She'll also laugh a lot when I'm playing with her little feet or goofing around with her before her bathtime. Sometimes she seems like she's outsmarting me, even now, and she blows my mind with her intuitiveness... Just last week I took her to the pediatrician for her 3-month check-up (which involved a second set of vaccination shots -- UGH!), and as I started getting her out of her winter coat in her stroller, she looked up at me as if to say, "What are we doing back HERE, Mommy?" Her lower lip trembled and she started crying. At the time, I couldn't figure out for the life of me what had provoked this reaction, and it was only later when I told my boy about it that he said, "Well, maybe she recognized the place where she was given the shots last month..."

I couldn't believe it! Granted, we're only surmising, and maybe she simply had a bellyache, but she doesn't usually get that trembly lip thing going on unless she's really upset about something. I'm always talking to her, just chit-chatting away, and my boyfriend commented to his father that I basically have a constant "monologue" going on -- and while he thinks this is hilarious, he also felt like it must be good for Emma. I hope so anyway! But the thing is, I'm almost always either being silly or talking in what I think is a positive tone of voice, so she has really come to sense when something is wrong. After nursing her early on Tuesday morning this week, we fell back asleep, as it was a national holiday here in France and Daddy was home with us as well... When Emma woke up around 9:00, Daddy brought her into the bed and we spent some time together before he took her to change her diaper. I joined them in the living room a few minutes later, but I was still trying to drag myself up out of sleep. As I looked down at Emma, I noticed that she had scratched her face again in several spots -- she hasn't done this in a while, and I've been trying to be vigilant about trimming her fingernails on a regular basis. But since she started sucking her thumb, she puts her fingers up around her nose like a claw, often in the middle of the night, trying to get her thumb in just the right position... And hence the dragging away at her nose and the scratches.

A bit dismayed, I said out loud, "Oh no, you've scratched yourself again!" And of course my tone of voice was a wee bit negative... Poor Emma took one look at me and the trembling lip came back! She burst out crying, little sweetheart, and I felt terrible. I reassured her that of course it wasn't her fault, and started talking to her as usual, and she calmed down. But it was just incredible how she sensed immediately that I wasn't talking like I usually do! And she felt like she had done something wrong and I was yelling at her...

Other times her understanding of things impresses me as well, like at bedtime. After nursing her, usually she'll fall asleep on my shoulder when I'm trying to get that last little burp. And I'll gently put her in bed for the night. But once this week she woke up with a start and looked bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. I thought, oh man, now she's really awake! But I told her quietly that it was bedtime, and that she needed to sleep now; I laid her in bed, and she looked up at me with a big smile. Ten minutes later, when I came in to check on her, she was sound asleep. Again, incredible! At least I felt like it was... In any case, her personality is really beginning to shine, and it's really exciting to see how much she's changing all the time.

Last weekend was really nice as we spent a couple days up in Le Havre again, at my father-in-law's house, where I was finally able to cook for the first time in months. I cracked out a new recipe I had wanted to try for a canette aux figues. I'm crazy about figs and hadn't had a chance to cook with them at all this year, and as the season is coming to an end, I didn't want to miss out. I didn't know whether I'd pull off this particular recipe, but it turned out really well, even better than I had hoped. Definitely one to try again, maybe even before the end of the month! Here's hoping the figs will hang in there for a couple more weeks at the local market... I'd also like to bake my fig tart again, the one I first made last year, with an almond cream.

So I'm gradually adding some other nice things into my days and I'm working on finding a better balance of my time -- although I still need some major improvement in the housecleaning department! Ugh. At least Emma's laundry gets done in a jiffy -- I can spend a good half-hour scrubbing away at her poopoo stains, and it's looking like I'll need a new bar of Octagon soap when I head over to the U.S. in January -- at least if all goes well! I still need to book our plane tickets, but I'm hoping that because it will be low season and after the holidays that I'll be able to find a decent fare. Next Monday we're heading off to the American Embassy to put through Emma's paperwork for her passport, so that will be a step in the right direction!


The Bold Soul said...

Watch the airfares every couple of days... a week ago the fares for us to New Jersey were $100 higher than this week so we finally booked our flights and saved $200 (and yes, that's in dollars). Of course that was for over Christmas so maybe in January the rates will be different, but keep monitoring them.

Betty C. said...

Emma. How sweet. Had we had a third daughter, that's what we would have named her.