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I finally have my own site, something I have dreamed about and now have made a reality! I will continue to copy the posts over here for a little while, but please come over to www.toulouseconfessions.com to see me in html flesh!

New site

March 26, 2010

It’s official…I will now stop posting here and instead post on the new site. Just click here to get there. I have been working on it for a week and although it is not perfect and it may be tweaked from time to time I am tired of exporting and importing all the time! LOL! So, on to the new site. Heck, it’s paid for, might as well start using it, right? All of the posts are updated over there so you won’t miss out on anything! Hope to see you soon!

Besos.

This is where I live Thursday

March 25, 2010
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After a two hour nap in which I thought I heard Queenie wake up three times and three times I went to see what was going on only to find her snoring away I am feeling both better and worse. You know how sometimes when you take a nap the only thing you get is the realization that you really just need to sleep more? That is how I feel right now. My house is a mess, my inlaws come in just four days and dinner still needs to be made. Leftovers, it is!

Anyway, yesterday Queenie and I took a long walk. Not on purpose, actually, but it felt great at any rate. She ended up falling asleep (!) in the stroller for an hour and then not taking a nap later on. But let’s not talk about sleep right now!

Here are some views of the city from Pont Saint Michel looking north towards the center of the city and Saint Sernin (a church). My camera doesn’t really capture the beauty very well, the gray day also didn’t help, so I will probably post pictures of this view again at some point. Maybe in the summer when the trees have leaves on them!

Time to get going

March 25, 2010

It is 10:02. I need another cup of coffee. And I still need to shower. Queenie has decided that playing with choo-choo and riding around on doggie are not enough. She is whiny. Why? Because she is sleepy. Why?

Because she doesn’t sleep. She can’t seem to get herself back to sleep these days. The unfortunate thing is that the first reason why she woke up in the first place was again legitimate as DeeDee had fallen off the bed and she couldn’t find him in the dark. But giving her DeeDee and placing them both in bed again started another night of ridiculous screaming and hysteria.

Queenie is working off of sleep from 8:30 to 2am and 4:30 to 7:30. Principe and I are working off of midnight to 2am and 4:30 to 7:20. It is not fun. Especially not for Principe. I feel worse for him. He feels worse for me (being pregnant). We both agreed that going to bed at midnight cannot happen again until our lovely daughter decides she is going to actually sleep.

The strangest thing is that after about half and hour of crying she stopped around 2:30. We breathed a sigh of relief and tried to fall back asleep. I couldn’t and I don’t know if Principe could, but it didn’t seem to matter much because come 3:02am her door creaked open, Principe put her back to bed and the screaming started over. After half an hour and seeing that she was going from crying to hysteria, we finally just allowed her into our bed.

Horrors of horrors. The pediatrician would smirk at us if she knew.

But there was nothing else to do. We heard the neighbors upstairs start moving around and in our groggy state we suddenly realized that we can no longer allow her to cry it out because the neighbors can hear us and it isn’t fair to them. (Why we didn’t realize this the other night I have no idea. We were so focused on Queenie that we forgot about our neighbors…!)

Interestingly enough Queenie still didn’t fall asleep for another hour. The only difference was that she wasn’t alone so she was quiet. More or less. She asked me over and over for a ba-ba (bottle) and I told her no over and over. She moved around a lot trying to get comfortable and tried once to convince me that it was morning time. At 4:21 she started breathing heavily. She was finally asleep.

So what did I do? I picked her up to put her in bed. And she woke up.

Tears ran down my face from fatigue and desperation. Thankfully she calmed down, stopped wiggling and whining with some back rubbing and when I placed her in bed ten minutes later she groaned once but no longer had the strength to cry.

Thank goodness.

Of course it had to be a night of heavy winds so everytime the iron chimney doors rattled I woke up thinking she was awake. And I wondered……even into my dreams I wondered…..:

What are we going to do?

What should we do?

What is the problem?

Is there a problem or have I simply not taught her to self-soothe?

Would crying it out really work? I hate it. HATE, HATE, HATE it. And neither Principe nor I thin we should unless we rent a cabin in the Ukrainian outback where here isn’t a neighbor for miles.

I wonder if she has legitimate reasons and just can’t express them in words. Her nose is icky and she has been acting a bit strange…but then in the last three days she has slept what a normal toddler would sleep for half that amount of time. Acting strangely is all that I can expect. She isn’t eating well either, but I think the last back molar is finally coming up so that would explain that. Would it explain the waking up? The not going back to sleep? Should I have given her Tylenol? She is grinding her teeth again, too. We never did figure out the trigger for that one. None of the pediatricians seem to care or give it much thought either.

At any rate, it is time to get going. To leave the questions behind and to take a shower. Perhaps have another cup of coffee and just not think about being pregnant. We should go to the park where she will eat a sandwich and fall asleep in the stroller on the way home. And then I will go back to bed. After all, another little one who doesn’t know the difference between night and day will be here any day now.

Oh, what have we done…..?

It is 12 noon

March 23, 2010

It is 12 noon. I’ve been awake for 8 hours. I’ve been out of bed for 6 hours. Queenie fell asleep on the stroller on the way back from the grocery store, something she never does. She was that tired. And who could blame her? She woke up at 4 AM looking for DeeDee (her stuffed elephant) but when I found him and put her back to bed she took the opportunity to start crying. And didn’t stop for another two hours when I finally got up and brought her out into the living room. Twice she was quiet for about 15 minutes, but she would then start crying again.

When I got up for good she was out of bed and she told me, “Papa, a nigh-nigh. Bu nena, e bitu.” (“Papa said to go night-night but nena (she calls herself nena, which means little girl, because she can’t yet say her name) is awake.”)

I told her that she should do what papa tells her to do and that she can only get up now because it is wake up time, but before it was night-night time and she disobeyed her papa by not going to sleep.

Do you think she understood? Oh, sure. absolutely! I’m sure we won’t have this problem ever again. Ever, ever. Right?

And we were doing so well. Three nights in a row she slept almost all through the night. The last of the three nights she woke up in pain but went right back to bed once she took some medicine. Is it a coincidence that she woke up last night at 4 AM the same time that she woke up in pain from her molars (and unable to breathe because of her nose) and got medicine, water and a hug? I’m thinking the pediatrician would say it is not. But what are we supposed to do? Let her cry unable to breathe and in pain because we don’t want her waking up at the same time the next night?

Am I making any sense? I’m very tired. Did I mention that we went to bed at midnight, which means I really only slept 4 hours. Principe pretty much slept the same amount even though he was in bed for a bit longer. These are the days that I don’t envy him having to go to work. Not at all.

Maybe I’ll have something more interesting to talk about after a little bit of a nap.

Childhood fears

March 19, 2010

Yesterday we went to the pediatrician to talk about Queenie’s habit of not sleeping through the night and her new trick of waking up at 3 am and being awake for two hours at a time. Wide awake. And nothing helps her get back to sleep.

It wasn’t our actual pediatrician, but as we have only seen our own pediatrician once, I guess it doesn’t really matter. The only twirk was that this one only speaks French whereas ours speak Spanish, so I was a bit left out of the conversation. I could follow it more or less, but my comments or questions had to be directed through Principe.

It ended up not mattering as I wasn’t really in the mood to talk with her once she did exactly what I thought she was going to do, and yet hoped she wouldn’t, give us THE LOOK. She almost rolled her eyes. I think she would have had she not caught herself in time. This was a fleeting moment, a flash across her face , before she straightened up and became professional, launching into a speech that had all the makings of her having done this before about what we need to do. When Principe explained that sometimes we give her milk in order to get her back to sleep she turned directly to me and said, “PAS DU LAIT.”

I didn’t have the capacity to even try and explain to her that it wasn’t every night that we did that and we usually only did it on the nights that she woke up with her stomach growling because she hadn’t eaten the day before. I swallowed my parental pride back and kept silent. I was sure she would just give me the look of, “Save it, hon, I’ve heard it all before.”

Principe nodded his head in agreement.

But the problem, in my eyes at the moment, was that she stayed on the milk subject as the principal reason for Queenie waking up. Which I just don’t see as the principle reason.

She didn’t seem to think it was strange that Queenie could be awake for two hours during the wee hours of the morning. Lots of kids do that, apparently.

She told us to switch roles and have Principe pick her up and put her back into bed. To be firm. Tell her she has to go back to sleep. No kisses. No hugs. No staying in her room. AND NO MILK!

We should tell her before she goes to bed not to wake up. (We do.) We should continue to stay strong and firm and consistent.

And it might take until the end of the year for it to take.

And we should close her door.

I cringed.

And almost physically shook my head, but just as the pediatrician had half and hour before (yes, she bludgeoned our parenting skills for a good half and hour) I recuperated my “interested” stare quickly enough.

Yes, I felt defeated. disappointed. Defensive. Not at all optimistic. I had to fight every cell in my body as we walked out not to throw the whole speech into the trash and declare that I wasn’t having any of it. After all, who was she to question my parenting skills? (Hmmmm).

But as we walked to the car to go to the anesthesiologist, I told myself to grow up. To learn to take criticism. I stop being defensive. We were the ones that made the appointment. What did I want, anyway, drugs to give to my child in order to sleep? Wasn’t it better to think that this is all due to poor parenting management rather than to an actual sleep disorder?

I was willing to switch roles. I was willing to be firm. I was willing to cut out the bottle. And to close the door…..almost.

But I don’t want to close the door all the way. I don’t want to put up a wall between Queenie and us.

And now you are rolling your eyes, no? Don’t worry, even my best friend did it.¬† “Just close the door. It won’t hurt her. She’ll get over it. She’s safe in her room, she’ll be fine. Just close the door!”

But I don’t want to. Why? It makes me nervous. I don’t like her not having access to us. I may seem overprotective, and I have certainly wondered if I am at times, but I want to have an open door policy with my children. If something happens during the night to make them feel unsafe, insecure or scared I want them to know that they can come and see us and tell us and become comforted by us. No, I don’t want a habit of them sleeping in our bed, but I do want them to feel safe.

Feeling safe is important to me. It stems from my childhood and never feeling safe ever. I remember many nights standing outside the door to my mother and stepfather’s door and not having the courage to knock. Not even if it was because my sister had wet the bed. I thought I would get into trouble. What I understand now, too, is that safety was not behind that door either since the man behind it was the one making me unsafe. But I don’t think I understood that as a 6 year old. I remember envying my little sister and how she was allowed to walk into their room at any moment, to snuggle up and to even sleep with them. To her their room was a haven, to me it was no man’s land that was unfamiliar and unwelcoming. The fact that it was partly my mother’s room didn’t help me in the slightest.

That is because my mother wasn’t there for me. She wasn’t able to protect me and I knew it. There was no refuge to be had in her arms because she didn’t know she needed to be a refuge. So now I am doing the obvious thing in being too much of a refuge. But how can I help it? I know that Queenie has no reason to need me to be a refuge. There is nothing for her to escape from. (And believe me, I am determined for that to be true all her life. Ditto for Little N). I realize now that I am projecting my childhood fears and insecurities onto my daughters, but is there something that I can do to stop it? Don’t we all do it? It is just that some of us have fears with roots that are hard to yank up, not just fears of imaginary monsters under the bed.

But the door was mostly closed last night. When it creaked open at 1:30 AM it was Principe who got up and directed her back to bed. Her crying for mama brought me to tears, but thankfully it only last about two minutes and she was back to sleep. And I sighed with relief. Principe asked me if I was okay but I don’t know if it was directed at the pregnancy or if he had intuition at 1:30 in the morning. Probably the pregnancy.

The door is again mostly shut tonight. And I am praying that it goes as well or better tonight. Because I can be firm, but my little girls calling out for mama will get me everytime, because I can still hear my own voice in my own head calling out and just not allowing it through my vocal chords.

This is where I live Thursday

March 18, 2010

You thought I forgot, didn’t you? But I didn’t. It’s just that we had doctor’s appointments all afternoon and we just got home. The post I was meaning to write for today will go up tomorrow. Besides the post on Queenie below here is a mellow one of pictures of Toulouse. This week: random pictures of the streets.

Not the greatest picture but it is a street that Queenie and I walk along almost every day, so it’s like you are right there with us….!

I love how things never got covered up, painted over or really ever torn down in Europe. They usually destroy the inside of a building if need be, but leave the facade as is. This way you end up getting names of things still painted on the walls long after that store (or whatever it was) is actually gone. It is a very interesting way of doing things. Of course, doing this in the States is not really an option.

This is a night club that I will probably never get to see the inside of, but it looks fun and interesting from the outside. It is actually Spanish, well, at least the name is and all the writing on the chalkboard indicated this to be so. Doesn’t it make you curious to see what is inside? Me, too.

An in-depth look at Queenie

March 18, 2010

As I sit in my kitchen sipping my coffee (trying to make it last as I can only have one still….!) and I listen to Queenie march up and down the hallway banging a tiny wooden spoon against this little bamboo mat that I bought in Thailand (it is a spice mixing set, she just doesn’t use the wooden Elephant as part of her tambourine) singing, “Ahoo, haaa, boo, bababa, dah-haaaaaaaaaa!” then just as suddenly as she start she throws her musical instrument to the floor and runs whining for Deedee, I grin and think a little more about this little being I get to call my daughter. My Queenie. The morning is half over and we have been awake since quarter to 6. There was no getting her back to sleep. Nothing worked. So we got up and watched some cartoons. A rarity in the mornings here, but I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Now I can. Now I think of all the hundreds of things my grandmother would have gotten done by this time in the morning were she in my shoes, but when it is 6AM my mind is blank. Ah, well. Never ending cycle.

But I was thinking about Queenie and how much she loves to twirl and how much her twirling bothers Principe (“because it just can’t be good for her brain”), how she loves to sing (although she can’t pronounce any of the words to any song correctly and has just as hard of a time singing on key as her parents, and dance and color and draw and “bake”, so I started making a list. I did this more for my other blog that is all about Queenie for her grandparents and family who don’t get to see her very often (which will bring me to a different post later this afternoon…..ohhh, the anticipation!), but I thought I would share it with you. Toddlers are funny, as we all know, and since I love hearing about the quirky things that other people’s toddlers do, I thought you might enjoy what my little¬† Queenie does!

Ho-ho are windows
Bitu-papa means wake up, papa
pitu means por favor
pees means please (notice that this is the first word she says differently for each language)
taintu means thank you, gracias
atu means avion (plane) and she somehow knows that papa is connected to planes. The other day she saw one in the sky and said, “Mama, atu-papa.” Interesting, huh?
Sho means adios. She can say bye-bye perfectly.

1. She colors for about two to three hours a day in total.
2. Choo-choo is her favorite toy (a wooden train).
3. She knows how to change babydoll’s diaper, clean her eyes and nose with saline and give her a bottle.
4. In true artist fashion she tosses each piece of paper on the floor as she finishes with it to make room on her table for the next masterpiece canvas.
5. She likes to repeat, “Oh, man!”
6. Mickey and Minnie, Donald and Daisy (little figurines that came with her train) kiss on the lips when they say hi and bye and hold hands as they walk.
7. everything is purple, since it is the only color she can say, but she will try to repeat the correct color if you give her time to do so.
8 She likes to spell. She tries it first in her language but will repeat the letters if you give her time in between each one. She can say S, O and I really well. F and A are a little harder. (Can you guess which word she likes to spell the most? It’s because I decorated big letters of her name and hung them from her wall so she sees them everytime she is in her room!)
9. Strawberries are always a go (especially the freeze-dried ones that come in cereal) and anything purple or pink she will eat. Green and yellow are her least favorite colors to eat.
10. If I’m on the computer and she wants to play with me she takes off my glasses and walks away.
11. She knows baby sister is in my belly and that the doctor can show her to us. When the ultrasound screen comes alive with a baby head she squeals, “baby!”
12. Not being able to speak French has not yet been a problem on the playground.
13. She is still incredibly generous with her toys with other kids and absolutely passive-aggressive. We have to rescue her quite often from other kids who take the road of force.
14. She still wakes up numerous times a night and at least once or twice a week she is awake for 1-2 hours during the wee hours of the morning. We are going to the doctor tomorrow to talk about fixing this.
15. She goes to bed by herself and rarely complains about it.
16. She is fascinated with, and loves to point out, the fact that all humans and animals have, “Eye, eye, no (nose), mou (mouth).”

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