I had plans to write a great post exploring the cultural differences between the French and Americans, inspired by the reactions to the new health care legislation in the United States. It would be profound and insightful. Then I spent a weekend taking care of an energetic 14 month-old and my brain turned to applesauce (or compote as they call it here).
The longest I've cared for Santi on my own before was 6 days. This time it'll be 14 days. All I can say is that I'm really not cut out for single parenthood. I know I'm really lucky to have a full-time daycare center. I planned on working from home one day a week while on my own to be able to do things that require heavy lifting (like grocery shopping), since we live on the 6th floor and don't have an elevator. Carrying all 22+ lbs. of Santi, my laptop, my purse and grocery bags or trash bags up or down those stairs is no treat. But I already realize that I'm going to have to do more grocery shopping tomorrow morning, and it's only been 3 days since my last trip.
Yesterday and today were fine. We had a great long walk yesterday on our baguette (mis)adventure and today we stayed in due to the crappy weather and played with balloons, watched "Pinocchio" and drank hot chocolate (Santi was in heaven and was adorable with his chocolate moustache and beard). We even had fun while he ate his dinner (Couscous with lamb. Homemade? I wish. Nope, from a jar. Yes, rub in the guilt. But at least we're in France, and even the mass produced baby food is gourmet here). But then he didn't want to go to sleep at his normal bedtime. The worst part is that he was TIRED, actually fell asleep when I put him in his crib, but woke up a minute later and then couldn't fall asleep again until after 9pm.
ARGH! 7:30pm and beyond is supposed to be "me" time. That's when I finally have a chance to put away Santi's bathtub and toys, shower, clean up Santi's dinner mess and his toys, make and eat my own dinner, clean that up, do laundry, creatively find space to hang it all to dry in our ridiculously tiny apartment, think about how much work I'm behind on, and then relax for a bit before going to bed early (10pm, 10:30 at the LATEST), since Santi has a tendency lately to wake up around 5:30am.
To be fair, his late night is sort of my fault. I let him nap for 3 hours today (I guess that really was my "me" time for today) and we usually don't let him go that long for just this very reason. Oh well, lesson definitely learned.
Anyway, hats off to all you single parents, military "widows" whose husbands are currently deployed, and everyone else who cares for a young child on their own on a regular basis. I really don't know how you do this day in and day out. The only thing that's getting me throughis knowing that it will soon be over. That and the excellent pre-made frozen dinners and sides from Picard (sort of like "Trader Joe's" except it's all frozen foods). Hmmm, maybe they'll be willing to sponsor me.
"Nairn's Paris" in Literary Review
1 week ago