Posts filed under 'things they don’t tell you about'

Do you love France?*

I’ve held off on recounting our first gaffes, impressions, etc., because nothing has been all that surprising yet.  We knew to expect the differences in child-minding etiquette and we knew we’d get some glances for eating as we walk down the street (I’m still puzzling over the looks T gets–is it her choice of stripes on stripes, her unkempt hair, her post-airplane snot-encrusted nose, or is she truly some other species of child they have never encountered?), and so it happens and there it is, but this morning’s experience offered a small clue into daily life vs. bureaucracy.

On one of our first jet-lagged mornings, we had noticed a long line outside the police prefecture.  Who are those glum-looking souls?  Who lines up outside a police station?  Well, foreigners like us who need to register our presence and apply for residency permits.  We intended to join the line this morning, but sleep karma was on our side and we all slept in until way past 9.  We made it there close to 10.  C waited and T and I returned home for a necessary refuel of ice-milk, and then a trip to the park.  He called us when he was about 5th in line and we raced back, but didn’t arrive until he’d had to let a few people pass ahead.  You’d think that wouldn’t matter, but then we entered the next waiting room where we pulled ticket number 112.  The sign said they were on 66.  And did I mention T chose today to refuse diapers?

She smeared chocolate croissant on her face, she squirmed, she requested a visit to the bathroom (just to visit), and somewhere in all this an old Chinese lady glanced at her.  Why?  The old lady stood up–to offer a seat?  No!  She freaking gave us a number she’d taken almost two hours earlier when she’d arrived with her friend.  Her friend had a ticket and she didn’t need one.  She was just along for the ride and held onto this extra ticket until she spotted a mother with an impatient toddler and gave us the best gift ever, the gift of skipping 33 numbers, the gift of a 10 minute wait instead of several hours, the gift of our first insight into GTD the Parisian way.

*This is the first question we were asked by the passport agent upon entering.

Add comment July 11th, 2008

spring interrupted

I interrupt our scheduled vacation shots to share a somewhat devastating development in the life our little clan. Perhaps you remember our prolific garden, our postage stamp lawn, our little green oasis in the heart of this concrete hood where I laid about waiting for the sprout to ready herself just around this time last year?

Well, as of today, in its place we have:


We are very sad. Not since the cold war has there been such a terrible Russo-American miscommunication. We will see how the landlord’s vision manifests itself by week’s end, and then we might just start looking for a new home because this no longer feels like it.

7 comments April 3rd, 2007

Every day is Monday.

Readers, you may have noticed the sharp drop-off to our normally manic posting schedule. We apologize if this has messed with your workday, but as most of you know the little teaspoon’s parents have resumed their worklives. It’s fall and we’re all back to school/work around here, toting around our new parenting apparati cleverly disguised as trapper-keepers (I wish; in my case, it’s the hideous black microfiber breastpump briefcase, the badge of modern motherhood). Just like back in the day when old friends didn’t recognize you with your new hair-do or your pegged Z. Cavaricci’s surreptitiously purchased at the mall with babysitting money, we’ve noticed that acquaintances pass us by because why would we be walking around campus with one of those? There’s been less of that in my case, perhaps due to the months preceding my departure when I toted an ever-more-difficult-to-disguise abscess around my middle. My train friends seem glad to see me on the other side, surprised yet amused at the sight of the small personable one riding the train beside those trash-talking techno-grammers, and even more surprised to see me on the oft-missed early train which departs at what now seems a totally manageable 0715.


The girl is adjusting to the schedule, the bottles, the daycaremates, but as you can imagine, the shout-outs will be less frequent, perhaps dropping off entirely when Tillie’s autonomy trumps the novelty of this whole enterprise. So thanks for your continued interest in the goings-on of one small being. We’ll see how it goes.

Add comment September 11th, 2006

Street-sweeping with baby

Instructions for Moving Car
on a Street-Sweeping Tuesday
without disturbing baby
  1. Put baby in crib with cursed crib mirror.
  2. Walk outside, remembering house keys to avoid potential “home alone” situation, and move car from street onto sidewalk in front of house.
  3. Go back inside, note baby still staring at herself.
  4. Hang out with baby until street sweeper goes by.
  5. Convince baby that a nap would do her good. Remove cursed crib mirror.
  6. Return to the sidewalk to move car to coveted parking spot in front of house.
  7. Note unfamiliar lady attempting to steal said spot.
  8. Gesticulate wildly, pointing at car on sidewalk next to spot and back to spot she is stealing.
  9. Watch as interloper skirts all rules of streetsweeping etiquette and continues to back into spot.
  10. Wait, is Lupe, Sr. coming to my aid? No! He’s helping her park!!! Lupe!!!
  11. Watch as lady skulks off.
  12. Realize that there’s a spot a couple of houses down.
  13. Reverse down the sidewalk like a true resident of the Mission and secure spot.
  14. Run inside. Baby fine. Staring at hand in lieu of nap.
  15. Repeat next week?

ps. this all took place over approximately 2.5 minutes.

2 comments July 18th, 2006

Adventures with sling, part II

Today’s outing was a little less successful. T. began the morning in her stroller/carseat apparatus. We walked Charlie to BART and continued on our way. Things were a little unsteady at Walgreens, our first stop to pick up some baby-related products, but it was quick and we were on the move again. A few blocks later as we passed Aaron and Liza’s house, I wondered how likely it was that they’d be home on a Thursday morning. Yet, we persevered. One block later, wimpers turned to cries. I pulled out my first trick, the pacifier which had been such a dreamy device, but did not go over well, rather, at all. On the next block, cries turned to screams and then unrelenting yowls. Desperation set in. I see now that the transfer is a breeze, but at the time, the thought of attempting an unassisted sidewalk move from stroller to sling was unprecedented.

Once the transfer was completed, the wailing ebbed and we continued on our way again. Our destination hadn’t opened yet, so we made haste over to Tartine. With a gougere in one hand and a glass of water in the other, I fed the girl surreptitiously as she hung out in the sling, another unprecedented move. No one seemed the wiser.

She was a little “unsettled” after eating, so we headed back onto the street, this time to attempt the unthinkable–a boutique visit. Mind you, I am no “babywearer.” We’re not so ideological about it, but the sling can work wonders. On the way from Tartine to the store, Tillie fell asleep again and stayed asleep as I picked out clothes, brought them in the dressing room, temporarily deposited her en-sling back in the carseat, and put her back on when I realized that all of the clothes looked like crap. This seemed like the ultimate baby Icarus move, so we packed up and headed home afterwards, me holding Tillie and pushing an empty stroller. It was then that I realized, I am that woman, the one carrying the baby, pushing the stroller which is really nothing more than a means of transporting our errand debris:


And, lest you wonder what else a mom can do with baby-in-sling, as soon as we got home, I ran to the bathroom and accomplished one more necessary feat before the sad Tillie replaced the sleeping Tillie. And here we are, returned to tell the tale:


1 comment June 15th, 2006

the cannon

I am starting a new category, called “things they don’t tell you about” here, to describe some of the lessons I’ve been learning. The first entry to this is the cannon, which I discovered last night around midnight. I should preface by saying that I had been warned that, for little boys at least, it is important to cover their parts when changing the diapers as the fresh air causes them to relax and spray their environs–which isn’t really in anybody’s interest. But for girls, I had assumed, this wasn’t such a big issue.

But no, that would be too simple. It turns out that the bacteria that are colonizing Tillie’s gut flora are generating some pretty crazy chemistry, with the upshot that the pressures in there are somewhat higher than in, say, my gut. Which leads to the cannon. Which I’ve now learned has a range of about three feet.

Add comment May 9th, 2006