Oct-Nov 2011

Nov 20 Luca tells the story of the airplane

We’re walking around on a weekend and I ask Luca what he’s doing for his next vacation

–         I’m going to Delhi

–         Ah, and how are you going there?

–         In a plane

–         Oh.  And how do you take a plane?

Off he goes, launching into a full blown monolog:

–         I’m going to take the taxi.  Then we’ll go to the house of airplane.  We’ll pay to give our backpacks.  We’ll raise our arms up (his version of “go through security”).  We’ll walk to the plane.  We’ll go in the plane.  The plane will go up and then…. We’ll watch a movie.  We’ll eat in the plane. The plane will go down. And then it will not be home yet.  So we’ll go in another airplane (he knows that we didn’t get a direct flight and have a connection in abbu dabi).


Nov 18 The 7 Darfs:  tu les connais?

Luca came back from his theatre class saying he did « dormeur » (sleepy).

–         Ah, and what else did you do?

–         Hummm.  Timide (shy)

So I figured he’d been mimicking the 7 dwarfs.

–         Ah, and did you also do grincheux (grumpy)?  I ask

–         Yes

–         And prof?

–         Yes

–         And Joyeux? (happy)

–         Yes

After a while, he turns to me and asks:

–         Tu les connais?

–         Well, I’ve read the story about them

–         Tu les connais?

–         I’ve read the book of their story

That all looked very confusing to him so we headed to the store to get the book of White Snow.  Unfortunately, the 7 dwarfs are just briefly mentioned, and not by name.  So we my have to go for another version or for the full cartoon….


Nov 14: No big deal

Mia’s vocabulary has grown exponentially, with all the things she needs.

To eat, with her all time favourites:  pizza, chocolate, candy, ice-cream, cheese, olives. Second best: yogurt, jam, bread, cookie.  Tolerated: Sun soup (a veggy soup they love), chicken. Or the unpractical:  no dal, no brocoli

To cure: Mia bobo. Mal.  Luca tape.  Pas grave, no big deal (pronounced no bi di-a-o)

Doctor:  no doctor, no kine

She accumulates words, mostly descriptive and judgemental:

–         Mia, are you congested?

–         She stares at me.

–         Tetine stuck.  Mia bêtise, she says

–         No, it’s not a bêtise.  It just slipped away while you were sleeping.

–         Tetine stuck. Pas grave, no big deal.


Tonight Luca and Mia where playing train with Anand. There was a complex set up where the beginning of the train track had been lifted up a few inches to provide a launching ramp.  The goad was to launch your own wagon so it’d go as far as possible.  2 rounds each. 

The rules looked simple enough, Anand was very excited. That was without counting on the reality of a 20-month and 3-year old.  Mia, while very comfortable in her body and flexible, is still quite big. So when we play train, she unmistakably derails some tracks as she moves around them. Luca patiently repairs once or twice, but then looses his cold and pushes her away. At which point she cries and comes to mummy for help.  Nothing new here…

But with papa around, the dynamics were a bit different.  Mia would purposely break a few tracks, turn to luca and say “oh, broken, pas grave, no big deal”. At which point she’d move around her arms and say “allez, ramassez!!”.

Papa and Luca would patiently repair the track and start the race.  Papa’s turn, Luca’s turn.  Papa’s turn, Luca’s turn. Papa happens to win and say “I win”. Luca says “I win”.  Papa is buffled “no, I win”.  “I win too”, said luca.  To him, it’s like saying “I’m done and did it well”. 


Nov 10 Luca and Mia receive racing tshirts

Alice, our distant cousin, returned from Mauricius island and brought back a tshirt for each kid, with a dodo (Mauricius’ extinct ostriech).  Luca’s been wearing it proudly for the last 24 hours and he says it makes him run faster. « Tu viens, mia, on fait la course? », he asks. And they run through the house until they’re sweating and puffing.


Nov 9 Feet off of the table

“Mia, take your feet off of the table.  You know that”

Mia stares at me and waits.

I count: “Mia one, two,… “

She slowly takes her foot off of the table and stops the toes right on the edge of it.

–         Mia, I said take  your feet off of hte table

–         Off she says

–         No, that’s not off. Your feet need to be under the table.

I take her feet and bring them under the table.  She slowly brings the toes back up, without touching the table, 3 cm below the table top. I don’t say anything.  She brings them closer to the stop.  Still staring at me straight in the eyes. I change my communication from “off of the table”, to “Mia, you have to put your feet UNDER the table. Now”

She stares at me, and doesn’t move. 

–         I said UNDER the table, I repeat

“No table foot”, she says, which is her way of saying “my feet are not on the table”

–         I said UNDER the table….

At that point, Luca thinks it’s a good idea to put his foot on the table.  I get upset they see it and stop. Feet back under the table

–         Je t’aime maman, she ends.

–         Je t’aiiiiimmme maman, he adds.


Nov 8  We get ready for Xmas

This year, Christmas is becoming a big deal for the kids.  Luca’s being talking about it.  So we had a Christmas preparation weekend.  We got the Xmas decorations from storage and got our living room ready:  balls in my half-dying plant which probably doesn’t need additional heavy weigths, and a garland of lights which we made together.

Luca walked back a few steps, said “c’est prêt” (it’s ready) and walked back towards the plant. He looked by the trunk and around the plant pot.  “ils sont ou, les cadeaux?”  (where are the gifts?)


Nov 6 Moi aussi je t’aime

I scold Mia : « you cant through your spoon on the ground. That’s a bêtise.  If you do it again you get a time out”

Luca says “moi je t’aime maman”

Mia overbids « moi aussi je t’aiiiiimmmme maman »


Nov 3 Heading to school – t’inquiete pas, je reviens

Luca needs 45 min to get ready to school.  I wake him up at 730am, making as little noise as possible so Mia doesn’t wake up.  It works 90% of the time. I sneak him out of bed, take him in my arms and carry him to the kitchen.  He turns on the lights, usually smiles and drinks his bottle. Everything after that is terribly slow.  I help him dress up and he eats a bowl of cereal – Country Store muesli or corn flakes, or one of the cakes we typically make together on weekends.

We quickly brush teeth and hair, cream up his dry face, snap on shoes and bundle up in the coat and off he goes, ready to get to school with his nanny [he doesn’t cry when he goes with her and cries when he’s with me, so I have assumed it’s easier for him to go without me]  “Je veux un bisou calin” he asks (I want a kiss and hug). Of course, I say, and we give each other a warm hug and calin

And then he adds “t’inquiete pas, maman.  Je vais revenir.  Je reviens ce soir”.  I check with him that « Really, you’re coming back tonight ? ».  He looks at his nanny and asks “je reviens ce soir?” She smiles and confirms, so he turns to me “t’inquiete pas.  Je reviens a la maison ce soir.  Bye”.


As for Mia, she’s got no pb leaving her mum. As I head to work, she says “bisou calin.  Bye.  Good luck. A t’a l’heure” (kiss hug.  Bye.  See you later).  If I show up in the typical nanny time, she gives me a big smile, a hug and kiss.  And then sometimes say – “no maman, maman cravaille” (maman works) and pushes me away with her hand.  Fascinating how different they are.


Nov 1 Mia is an adorable girl in her terrible 2s

Mia has clearly entered the terrible 2s.  Only papa hasn’t figured that out yet.

She spilled her cornflakes all over the floor this morning and got a time out for it.  Tonight, she spilled her stickers all over the floor.  Like 500 stickers spread all over the carpet under her play table.  I ordered she picked it up.  She looked at me, and with the same gesture Luca used to have at the same age (her arm stretched out, up by the chin), asked “help maman”.  I categorically refused and said with authority “you made the mess, you clean up”.  She cried, tried to negotiate again “maman help, maman help”.  And after a tough negotiation, she started to take it all herself. But she would do it so slowly….  I had to give up, and help the little chick with encouragement “you’re doing well sweet pea.  Try to pick them up faster now….


In the morning, she gets her bottle of milk and then a choice of cereal.  Her favorites: either Weetabix (with a M for Maman, as she flips the box upside down), and chocolate cereal (mostly for the chocolate, not so much for the corn flakes).  Once I tried to take one of her corn flakes and she said: “arrete!  C’est à Mia.  Pas le droit” (stop, this is Mia’s.  Cant do that). Now the “arrete” and “pas le droit” are clearly expressions she learned from luca or in the playground. It’s very cute when it comes from the mouth of a 20-year old, because she’s been told what she does that’s right and wrong and she’s now telling the others about what they do to her that’s right and wrong.


Mia is very picky about certain things, mostly to see if she can get away with things. Here’s 2 examples.


The doudou

Mia selected one of the many stuffed animal for her “dodo”.  Now, for most of them, I had 2-3 copies, or I had written down the store that the stuffed animal came from so I could buy a few backups when she’d have chosen.  There’s one that I’m clueless about, and that’s the one she chose.  I don’t know where it come from nor who could have offered it to her.  And I’m typically pretty good about these things.

So I looked online for the “doudou brioche, by Beryl”. Cant find it. I suspect it’s a free doudou that the shoe store Beryl gave away to kids for a while.  Cant buy it.  I found 2 on ebay and made a big surprise out of it.  She took one, looked at it, very confused.  Ran to get her doudou, compared the 2.  Threw away the new one. Same with the other new one. Even in her sleep she cant get fooled. I put all 3 of them in the wash at the same time so they’d smell the same. But to no avail. She immediately rubs the ears and figures out that the new doudou’s ears are too soft… I’ve been putting the doudous in the wash many times now to wear them out, and stuff them in Mia’s sleeping bag at night so they get the smelly feet smell, but it hasn’t worked yet.  She keep throwing them away, rejected to the edge of the abyss.


The spoons

I gave her a spoon to eat, but it was a flat handle which she refuses to use (go figure…). So I gave her another one and she wanted to keep both.  After a bit of explaning, I took the flat handle spoon away.  She disagreed and poured some of her soup on the table.  She ended up in time out.  As she came back in the kitchen, Luca made a point of saying “je t’aime maman”, making it to the 3-star brown-noser list.  Mia walked in front of me and said “Moi aussi je t’aime”.  (I love you too).  20 months, and a beautiful aggregation of words.


Oct 25th  Playing with the vacuum cleaner

Luca and Mia both love “vacuuming” the kitchen floor. They turn on the vacuum and walk around.  Mia hasn’t figured out how to make it turn so she goes straight, till it bumps into some obstacle, and calls for help. The movement of back and forth is clearly not easy for her.  Sometimes when I vacuum myself, she wants to help out.  By the time I stretch out my arm and bring it back towards myself, she’s had to make 3-4 steps forward and back.  So she gets dizzy quickly and gives up


Oct 18th  Luca gets glasses

We’re walking in the 17th district on the side walk, heading to the ophthalmologist.  Luca and myself are talking and at some point he turns back, points to a boy and says:  c’est Martin!

I ask him “do you know this boy”? 

–         Oui, c’est martin

I turn to the mum and ask her if her son’s name is Martin.  She says it is…  I’ve never seen her before, nor her boy or her little girl.  Martin is about 3 years old, Luca’s age.  We try to figure it out:  from the theater, from the school, playground?  But she leaves in the 17th, never comes to the 8th arrondissement.


I turn to Luca again:  Where do you know him from?  School?

–         No, de la maison (from home)

–         From home?  Has he played with you at home? 

–         Oui, regarde, c’est le meme!  (it’s the same)


At which point I realize that he was not pointing to the boy but to the truck, Marter, from the Car’s cartoon….  It was just a coincidence that the boy’s name happened to be the same as the car…


We get to the ophthalmologist.  As part of the diagnostic, Luca has to tell what objects are being projected on the wall.  Bike, Cat (which he calls a boot, I’m not sure why).  As it gets smaller and small, the objects he used to recognise perfectly as houses or bikes become “bees” or “lady bug”, basically small black points on the wall. The little boy is astigmatic and hypermetric.


So we head out to the optician to select a pair of glasses. On the way he insists “c’est moi qui choisi.  C’est moi qui regarde, comme maman”  (I chose.  I’ll pick up the glasses, as maman did for her pair). He thinks this is cool – he wants to try them all.  He doesn’t even put them well on his head nor looks at himself in the mirror.  What interests him is to grab a pair on the wall, take it, put it on even if not properly set on the nose, and put them back.

After a while, I ask him

–         Which ones do you prefer ?

–         Il faut que je regarde plus (i’ve got to look at more)

He tries on a pair and I ask him

–         Look at yourself in the mirror here. Do you like them?  Are they comfortable?

He replies: “too simple”.  Takes them off and drops them on the little counter next to him with disdain as he moves towards the next pair to try….


Oct 15 First time they want to see the bby sitter Alix

J’avais prévenu luca et mia que ce serait peut-etre toi qui viendrait ce soir t’occuper d’eux.  Quand je suis rentrée à 19h, ils étaient decus de me voir

–         Luca : Elle est ou Alix ?

–         Maman : Elle est malade, la pauvre Alix

–         Ah.  Moi je voulais voir Alix.  Elle va venir jouer ?

–         Elle aussi elle voulait venir jouer avec vous.  Mais elle est malade et elle est dans son lit

–         Ah.  Elle prend du Doliprane ?  Avec la pipette ?

–         Elle a probablement pris du doliprane, effectivement

–         Moi je voulais voir Alix.  Pourquoi elle est pas venue ??

–         Parce qu’elle est malade.  Tu veux qu’on l’appelle bientôt pour qu’elle vienne jouer avec toi ?

–         Oui.  Je vais lui montrer encore le train


Oct 3rd – Maman and papa are working for a lot of houses

–      Pourquoi maman cravaille?  (why does maman work?)

–      I work so I can have money to pay for a house

Luca looks at me, thinks we already have a house

–      Maman elle cravaille pour une autre maison?  (maman works for another house?)

–      No, I work to pay for this house

He looks at me suspiciously.  Clearly, we already have this house, don’t we?

–      Maman elle cravaille pour avoir beaucoup d’autres maisons? Beaucoup ?  (maman works to have many more houses?  Many?)


4pm.  The kids wake up.  I kiss them and go to work in the office.

After a while, I swing back in their bedroom to ask Farida a question.  Mia starts crying, points at me and says “noooo…..”.  It looks like there’s something very sad going on

–      What’s going on Mia?

–      No……

–      What’s going on?

–      Pas maman.  Maman cravaille!  (no maman. Maman at work!)

I disappear, she stops immediately.  Clearly, there are some rules, and when maman is supposed to be working she’s got nothing to do here in the bedroom.


Sept 29th  A playful morning at home

I just underwent surgery 2 weeks ago and can’t walk the kids to the park (it’s a good 5 min walk away…).  So we stayed home this Saturday morning.  They were super nice throughout the morning program:

We drew some cool drawings. Mia loves drawing the contours of her hands, and then she adds other randoms colour on them.  She asked that I add a sun and a duck to her picture and then added many stickers all over the page. I’ve tried to help her out, but she wants to do it on her own.  Honestly, it’d be hard to arrange the stickers in such a random manner – stickers on top of each other, no coordination.

Luca is starting to be interested in drawing things he knows:  men, flowers, houses, trees. This is not so much what he wants to draw, but more things I can handle and show him. He asked for a motorcycle the other day and concluded “this is not a motorcycle maman”. To help him learn, I draw on my own sheet of paper and show him.  Clearly, I’m no artist but for a 3 year old, my over-simple pictures are good enough. He tries to copy


Sept 15th Playing with letters


Autre tare heritée des wehr – Luca est astigmate.  L’ophtalmo lui montre une fleur sur un mur, assez grosse.  Luca déclare :  fleur. On lui montre un plus petit poisson .  « Abeille », dit Luca.  Regarde bien, tu vois quoi ? « Abeille.  Bzzzz, pique », explique t il pour etre sur qu’on l’ait bien compris. On lui montre une petite fleur, plus petite que la premiere. « Mouche ».  on le fait répéter, et il décrit, confiant, une « mouche ».  Le petiot voit donc une tache noire, alors que c’est une jolie fleur.  On est reparti avec une prescription pour des lunettes…  pauvre gamin.  Ca ne l’empeche pas de faire de beaux dessins, avec des bonhommes dont les bras commencent à descendre de leur implantation originale sur la tete à un départ depuis le bidon. Il leur implante des boules pour les genoux dignes des articulations protubérantes de son père à 10 ans en Inde.  Mia a un caractere bien trempé et est décidée à faire toute seule et comme son frere.  Elle raconte à tout le monde qu’elle a 2 ans et le montre avec ses doigts  (pas vrai, c’est pas avant fin janvier…).  Lui s’interesse aux lettres et s’amuse avec les lettres magnétiques sur le frigo – M de maman et Mia, L de luca, R de ratatouille, F de Farida la nounou et de Flash McQueen la voiture, N de nounou. P de papa et parking.  T de tortue. C’est son monde et ca l’amuse. Mia répète tout et du coup connait ses lettres aussi. Lui écrit son nom, pendant qu’elle fait des gribouillage sur mon lit et s’exclame fierement « t’as vu, t’as vu ? » (arghhh, les draps tout neufs…  on a bien expliqué que c’était une betise, mais je connais la suite : elle va re-tester, peut etre avec un autre crayon ou sur un autre drap, et prendra qques minutes au coin, ce qu’elle déteste).  Luca est qd meme decu que maman ait 2 lettres (M de maman et S de Sophie), Papa aussi, alors que lui n’en a qu’une (L).  Sauf que Sara lui a expliqué qu’il en a 4 (LUCA) ce qui l’a ravi. Quand je suis allée le lever ce matin, il était clair et tres fier « moi j’ai 4 lettres ».  Fabuleux.  Quand on a le temps, on s’essaie au gateau au yaourt d’Agnes.  En fonction des ingrédients que les enfants mangent pdt la fabrication, le résultat varie de mangeable à très contestable.


Sept 15th – we get a package from Guchi & Alex

Luca is still not thrilled about going to school in the morning. In the last 2 weeks, we’ve made a deal: he gets a gift (a car from Pixar’s Cars) from Alegra every time he doesn’t cry when I leave him at school. I put the car in the pocket of his jacket.  So he thinks Alegra is the best friend in the world now. Now, I still have 1 car in my hands out of the 4 that Alex & Guchi sent, which means Luca has cried most times going to school, except for a total of 3 mornings in 4 weeks….

Mia was a sweetheart this morning and got a gift from “Alegra and Ema” – a pink purse which she has been carrying around, stuffed with magnet letters she picks up on the fridge.  Then she went to look in my purse to pick up a few things: tissues, a hair clip and a pen.  She jammed them up in there and ran back to me saying “comme maman”… (like mummy). So cute.


Sept 10th   Papabuddi

The kids rush in the office, jump on the futon and sit up.  Mia says “cravaille” (I’m working). Luca adds “comme papa”. They looked at each other and started a giant tickle fight.


I fire up the computer to check the receipe for a cake I promised Luca we’d cook together. Luca comes by and he says “je peux appuyer sur le bouton qui cravaille ? » (Can I press on the botton that works ?)


In the evening, as we’re eating the cake for dessert, mia talks a few words I dont understand.  “papa budi”. 

–      What does she say? Luca asks

–      I don’t understand.  Mia, what do you say?

–      Papa budi

–      She says papa budi? 

–      Yes

–      What does it mean?

–      Nothing

–      Si.  C’est le monsieur dans le livre du lion

–      Le panchatantra ?

–      Oui.  [pause]  c’est le monsieur en rouge ou en violet?

Whao.  It’s slowly coming back to me.  In the panchatantra book, there’s a story about Papabuddi and Dharmabuddi, 2 men, who come back from the market.  They burry their money below a tree to pick it up later.  Papabuddi comes back first and steals the money.  It goes on. We’ve read that story once, maybe twice, and always fast because I wasn’t sure luca understood. He had never asked any question about that story.  After diner, with hands clean and teeth brushed, we opened up the panchatantra on that story.  To my amazement, Papabuddi has a red kurta and dharma buddi is wearing a purple one.

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