Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Fry away home

So today we had some residency paperwork to attend to which entailed a visit to an office a little on the outskirts of town, in an area we only get to about once a year. An area with a huge toy store and a "fancy" McDo with a playground. After the paperwork-related-French-speaking was all done, we decided to celebrate with a couple of Happy Meals and some playground time for Bee.

As is typical with places that have outdoor seating, there were hoards of chirpy little sparrows hopping around and eyeing our fries. The family at the table next to us consisted of a mom, dad, and a little girl probably a year and a half or so older than Bee. The little girl was having a blast feeding the sparrows as Bee looked on. Bee took one of my fries and dropped it over the little fence and screeched with joy when the sparrows came for it. She tried several more times, each time managing to get the fry maybe eight inches away from her at the most. She would watch the other girl and then drop a fry. Watch. Drop.

Until she got the hang of it, just in time to launch a fry - and a sparrow - directly under the tires of a car heading into the drive-thru.


We looked on in horror. Bee went back to eating fries. The other little girl was looking at the bird's remains with pointed curiosity (and not horror or sadness, fortunately - both girls were still too little to understand) and pulling on her mom's arm.  As we were debating what to do, the other dad (clearly a veteran at this parenting thing) calmly took one more bite of his Big Mac, grabbed a Happy Meal box and the red box his fries had come in, stepped over the fence and scooped up the bird without a word, or grimace, or blink. The other little girl went right back to eating her lunch as the dad disposed of the bird. As far as the kids were concerned, everything was back to normal.

And so we learn a little more about this parenting thing. Bravo, other dad.

And to the sparrow who hopped back to the scene to retrieve the french fry? Well, you're just a jerk.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Mo mo mo

Bee has been quite the little chatter box.  By our count, she's over twenty words but that changes by the day. As she collects new words, something interesting is happening - she's learning French. We speak a few words here and there with her but in general we talk to her in English.

Here's where it gets funny : because of her funny toddler-word-garbling, we often don't recognize a word until she's been saying it for days, if not weeks at a time. This happened earlier this year when we finally realized that the funny MANCH word she had been saying for weeks was actually mange - from the French word for "to eat."

Today we noticed a new one. We've been hearing it for a while but didn't realize it was a word. Bee refers to herself as je - the French word for I. I was drinking an iced tea and she was gesturing at my glass, repeating, "Je mo je mo mo mo mo je mo je mo" while making the baby-sign for "more" at the same time. Je mo. I want more. Je mange je mange je mo je mange. Who know show long she's been talking in these little sentences and we didn't even realize it.

I'm so relieved to see her picking it up so naturally, particularly as I'm fighting to figure it out.  In no time at all, she'll be correcting my grammar for me...

Sunday, January 1, 2012


By the time I complete and post this entry, I will have blogged 25% of last year's total...

I know you're impressed.

At this pace, I'm guessing no one reads this anymore and I'm totally okay with that. As a result, this is going to be a very ME-centric post.

Last year was probably the most difficult year I have ever gone through, but not in an unpleasant way. We took a couple memorable vacations, made some new friends, found some new music, and got to know our little MISS BEE very very well. Also, by the last two weeks of the year, we finally started getting some sleep again. Last year I didn't get a lot accomplished outside of the whole learning to be a mom thing, which I'm fine with but this year it's time to get to work.

So here we go. I want to post a quick resolution run down because I find that typing it up makes me think about my goals in greater depth and putting it "out there" makes me feel just a little bit more accountable. This year I have three big areas to focus on: health, French, and jiu jitsu.

Goal 1: Lose half a pound a week. I'm still carrying around a bit more of my baby weight than I would like to be, and since the baby is now a toddler, it's probably about time I stop using "baby weight" as an excuse. Half a pound per week feels like a healthy rate that won't make me feel too stressed or like I'm starving myself, especially with the results of Goal 3 factored in... More on that shortly. I've broken my pedometer back out and am aiming to log a minimum of 7000 steps per day except on Wednesday and Friday. I plan to increase my steps goal after a couple months, once the weather gets nicer here. To track everything, I'm using the website and iphone app.

Goal 2: This is the year I am going to start speaking French. My reading and comprehension have gotten so much better in the past year, but I still find myself too uptight about sounding silly to actually try and speak to people. That has got to stop. Working together, the Mr and I have come up with a list of 52 topics. Our plan is to focus on one topic per week as a way of increasing our vocabulary while limiting our studies to keep us from getting overwhelmed. Additionally, I will be getting together with a neighbor for 1-2 hours every Friday afternoon and working on my French and her English. Since we don't know each other very well, I think it will be easier to start speaking French right away because I'm less concerned about embarrassing myself and all those "getting to know you" topics (what music do you like, what's your favorite food, nice weather we're having today) are great for beginning language practice. We're hoping to go for a better residence permit this year and that process included a fluency test, so this really is very important.

Goal 3: Jiu jitsu. I studied jiu jitsu for about a year and a half before I got pregnant, but in a very haphazard and, to be honest, half-assed manner. Now that I've been going back (16 months later - EEEEP), I've really thrown myself into it and I'm anxious to make some progress this year. I can already feel myself improving and I take a great deal of pride in not losing fights at practice right now. Where I train, I am typically the only female, on top of being 5-10 years older than most of the other students. And, ya know, completely out of shape. That's why not losing, right now, feels as good as I imagine winning will someday. My goals for jiu jitsu this year are to get my blue belt and to compete in one tournament. I go to class twice per week for two hours at a time. It's a great start but I probably need to add a bit more conditioning in on my own time. That's something I'm going to come back to in two months - for now I want to focus on attending regularly and giving a solid 100% when I'm there.

I have a few mini-goals as well: blog on occasion, break out the paints once more, craft a bit more, read a book a month but those all come in second to the big three.

And there you have it - 25%.