Friday, 21 November 2008

On se débrouille

We've just go back from a celebratory dinner out at the Bistrot de Bonlieu, just around the corner from our place. We were celebrating 3 things: surviving 18 months in France, the end of all that breastfeeding and Jasper's good hips. As I sat there listening to us all talking in french and eating our delicious fondue, I thought to myself "look at us, we're not doing too badly." We might have our hard times but we're all happy and we're getting by (on se débrouille). Of course, all those happy thoughts could have had something to do with the 50cl bottle of Beaujolais nouveau David and I were sharing or the cool 80s soundtrack playing in the restaurant (or a combination of the two!)


Rosebank Magic said...

A gorgeous photo and I trust the fondue was as good as it looks'

misschris said...

Congratulations on everything! It sounds like a fun night out.

ps I've been trying to do half weaning ie getting her to take a morning bottle and it is SO difficult!! It is something worth celebrating.

The Telfers In France said...

When my second child was weaned I remember her three-year old sister was quite concerned. We had just weaned the calves on the farm, which entails taking them away from their mothers and is always very noisy, with cows and calves bellowing for days. With all the talk of weaning her little sister Sophie was a little confused, and asked "but will she still be allowed to live with us??"

Emily said...

Man, that fondue looks delicious. I can't wait to eat it again.

Looks like a fun dinner! :)

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Great celebrations :-) Congratulations!

HeatherC said...

I have been reading your blog for a while now. You might remember me months ago writing to tell you that I was moving from the states to Nice. You said you would love to read my blog when I got it going because you had considered moving to Nice, but chose Annecy. If you want to send me your email, I could add you as a reader. For some reason, I still block mine so that I can know who is reading it. In all honesty, I write my blog for those back home and can say that I write the good and not always the whole truth. I am not usually to straight forward about things being difficult.
This might seem a little silly and desperate for why I am writing, but for some reason, I think you might understand and I have a need to reach out to someone that might understand. This is stemming from your recent post about you celebrating 18 months in France and also the end of breastfeeding. I ask you HOW you have done these things. I ask in that I wonder if I will be able to say the same thing in 18 months.
In regards to the breastfeeding, since that has been going on the longest for me. My little Rylan is now 18 months old. Obviously I am still breastfeeding. He is a bundle of energy that can not slow down unless he is breastfeeding. He has never been able to just lie down and fall asleep. He use to sleep in the car, back in car days and he can sleep in the stroller, but that is about it. I have tried to cuddle with him, but that doesn’t work and he won’t have anything to do with his father when it comes to sleeping. He also does not sleep through the night. So, for 18 months now, I have been up every few hours to help him go back to sleep. I have worked on him getting back to sleep sometimes with out breast milk, but not always. I also feed him to take a nap every day. When I have tried to get him to go to sleep on his own, I normally end up frustrated and end up getting mad at him, he then cries and an hour later or so he might go to sleep on his own, or sometimes I give in and feed him out of desperation. I am sooo tired. I love him to death, but my sleep deprivation has often made me a person that I am not and it saddens me. I hate being upset with him about something that isn’t his fault, but am at a loss for what to do. I wonder if just given more time, it will be easier. Is there any way to make the process easier? There is then the little part of me that enjoys the closeness of breastfeeding, since that is really the only time he will cuddle, that I don’t totally want to give it up. I just want to be able to sleep.
I guess this also goes into the next part about surviving 18 months in France. This is two fold for me. The first part is loneliness not only for missing family and friends, but also the loneliness of not having a job and being a stay at home mom. I was always so active before I had my son. I was a high school counselor, so my job was to talk to people, interact and engage. Since being a stay at home mom, I have not had that and it is even worse here where I can not speak the language. I am bored, if bored is the right word. How can you be truly bored with an 18 month old? I guess I feel though that I have lost myself since all I do is play with my son in his world. Then I feel awful about myself that I don’t appreciate this opportunity more. It is difficult to do anything else though. I do knit sometimes, but I can only do that while he is napping. The 2 hours in the middle of the day, don’t add up to much time for me. Since I have no friends here, I don’t get a chance to talk and interact with anyone other then my son and husband when he comes home from work. It seems that you were able to make some French friends, can you offer any suggestions? I use to be social, but have become so introverted now that I am not even sure how to make friends anymore.
Then there is that fact that I need to learn French. I never took French in school as I lived in Southern California. The only thing you should take there is Spanish. So, I am starting with no background in the language. My husband is taking lessons through his work, but he already had some in high school so he is beyond me. I don’t have the time to take lessons and truly we don’t have the funds with him taking less money here and me not working. So, I am at a loss. I have bought all sorts of books, but then that requires that I have time to study, which seems to once again only be when Rylan sleeps. I try to remind myself constantly that I am learning things here and there and that it just takes time, but it seems so overwhelming to me and once again, I wonder, will I be able to speak some conversational French by the end of 18 months.
So, there you have it. Once again I know this might be strange for me to write all of this. I am not normally a very emotionally open person (hmmm …. For a counselor you would think I should be,) but I needed to express my feelings to someone and for some reason your blog encouraged me to write you. It sounds like you have done a fantastic job with your acculturation here in France and as a newbie to this country, hopefully the feelings and frustrations I am having will help remind you again how far you have come.

HeatherC said...

After that very long comment, I am also thinking that sending my email might be good if you wanted to repond there ... or for anyone else that reas this and wants to offer advice

Penny said...

Hi Heather

Thanks for posting your email. I'll reply to you now (so long as the kids stay asleep!)