My twenties are very far away. There was a time where I was not married and did not have kids. And for those who doubt, really, I use to be so damn cool. I use to be ...
Before, I would catch all jokes, and would always have an answer ready. Now, if you tell me “oops, I lost the kids”, I might freak out and call the cops… even if you look at me with a “just kidding” face, I will not appreciate.
Also do not joke around the fact that there is no more wine or no more hot water. I need wine to evade – sometimes – and hot water to have a 5-minute relaxing shower. So I might not appreciate. Sometimes, I surprise myself joking … but I am always the only one laughing. People stare, puzzled. So I have to tell my joke again to get half (polite) smiles.
Before it was: “me, going out without high heels, pfff never”. Now, I grab the first flats I find without caring if they match my outfit. Do you know what it is like to live in a city where there are no Zara stores? Before living in Toledo, I had never ordered clothes online. I was one of those women who consider shopping as a real workout. Now, I have Zara app on my phone and I am a master at ordering, tracking, trying on and returning clothes that do not fit. Really, I love my kids but the Zara box waiting for me in front of my door is always the highlight of my day.
If you see me now, you might not believe it but, really, I use to be trendy. I was always aware of the latest designers’ collections and would renew my wardrobe every season. Now, when I enter a store I first go to the kids’ section, and then there is no more budget for me. Also, how can I be motivated to dress up, NOBODY cares here, in Toledo, Ohio. Finally, let’s be honest, yoga pants are so comfortable. It’s like a second skin. Why would I wear something else? I even think that we should have an “International yoga pants day” with a dedicated song.
… Such a party girl
In my twenties, I was such a fun party girl. I was wild, free and always motivated for a fun night out. I was even funnier after a couple of drinks. I could dance all night long and still go to work the next day … without feeling tired. In clubs, I was one of those cool girls with a cigarette in one hand and a glass on the other hand. My friends and I were so broke that one beer would last the entire evening and we would buy one pack of cigarettes and share among us.
Now, after one glass of Chardonnay, I am completely useless. My nights out without kids end at 11 … the very latest, because I am tired or because of the babysitter or because blabla, always a good reason …
Do I regret this time? Of course neahhh. I have never felt so complete now than I have a family. I enjoy my thirties, my coffee addiction and among everything my role as a mother and wife. It is always interesting to back in time to see how far we went and how much we achieved. I guess I turned into a cool mom and someday into a cool grandma (but not yet, please).
I love to end a nice diner with dessert. Even if the main dish is heavy, I still order a piece of cake or ice cream. This day, I ordered a brownie and my husband a Key lime pie. When I saw it coming I regretted my brownie. I even hardly looked at it (and I am a chocolate lover). I stared at it waiting for my husband green light to dig in it. It was delicious! not too sweet, not too heavy, not too sour, just perfection.
Key lime pie
Blue Heaven, Key West, Florida
Have you ever eaten a sandwich with pasta inside? if yes, how many miles do I have to run to lose the calories gained?
Eating a grilled Mac and cheese sandwich is one those experience that goes against my habits. If I tell my "very French" parents that I ate pasta in a sandwich with French fries on the side, they might not believe it. They might just ask "where are the veggies"? and why can't you just have pasta? and why pairing pasta with French fries? It was heavy but tasty. It is not the kind of meal that you will have everyday but from time to time, it is good to treat yourself with a 4 digits calorie meal.
Grilled Mac and Cheese sandwich
Bar Louie, Perrysburg, Ohio
Do you miss the old time when you could scream in the middle of a store without being stared at ? or pee in your pants without being judged ? and even being cheered up for just using the potty? The terrible twos were fun ... so let's be toddler again for just few minutes!
On Sunday mornings, church parking lots are crowded and stores empty. There are approximately 400 churches in Toledo area. 400 wooow, that’s a lot! I guess there are as many churches as there are fast foods. People expect you to attend service. I was not asked if I go to church but where do I go to church. Why are churches so important? Is it because people are real believers or is it because going to church means being part of a community?
Needless to say that we are all social. We need others. We are not made to live alone. We need to interact, drink wine and complain (well, French people at least). This is the essence of being human (and being French). What if you do not go to church? Where do you meet people?
In Europe, our « social groups » are co-workers, school buddies, old friends, friends of friends etc. We go to the gym, interact with others and if we find common interests we end-up having a drink. My best friends are former coworkers. Here in Toledo, religion takes a big place. The other day, I was in Barnes and Nobles with my girls. I started talking with a man that was interested in my accent. He wanted to know why and how we ended-up in Toledo. He started to make some jokes about the fact that he has a hook to replace one of his hands. For instance, he joked that he cannot play « paper, scissors, rock » anymore. That was a good one! You never know if you should laugh at this kind of jokes but I did. At the end of our conversation, he said: « God bless you ». My answer to that was: « babeu heuuuu ok, you too ». I was so surprised that I got completely confused.
Few days ago, we received a quotation from a plumber. At the end of the form you can read: « Jesus is the Lord ». Also, it is very common to see cars with stickers that display religious thoughts, such as “honk if you love Jesus” or “do you follow Jesus this close” or even “elect Jesus, your life leader”.
In France, we do not display our beliefs and it is one of the biggest cultural gaps that I face here, in Toledo.
To the question, where do you go to church, I gave the same kind of answer that I gave to captain Hook at Barnes and Nobles: « babeu heuuuu no heuuu church ? heu don’t go ». Sometimes, I even feel I should apologize…
Yes, there are many things that you should never know. I’ve selected 17 of them and I am sure that you could add many others. Here we go:
But, the only answer that I do need is: “where are the drawer doors’ handle? But really, where are they?”
If you google « Potty training », you will find tons of websites and blogs giving tips on how and when to train your child. And here I am writing one more article about how to get your kid to pee and poop in a toilet. Sounds boring, I know, but I HAVE to talk about it because a mommy blog that does not cover this topic is not a mommy blog. Potty training will pull you from desperation to happiness to desperation again within one hour. So all I have to say is: “keep calm and go to this f***ing potty!”
Potty training is a major step for every kid. It is like learning to walk. It is important to go slowly but surely. It is the only way to avoid accidents (and nobody like to clean up poop). I will not give you tips because I am far from being a potty training Jedi.
We all have that special someone around us that is more stressed than we are. When your child turns two it can become an obsession for them. Some websites recommend starting training at 15 months and others at 20 months. French websites (like doctossimo) put the average age of completion at 28 months and US websites at 36 months. To be honest, my girl started walking at 15 months, so no way she would go to the potty at the same period. Each step at a time! At 28 months, she just did not want to sit on a potty. She was very interested in watching me doing my business but NO WAY would she also do it. So I started thinking that there was something wrong with her. I became very obsessed with potty training and how to get her interested. I would stare at every other toddler to see if they were wearing diapers. I would also read stories and make up songs (like the “pee song”). And of course I had pressure from the family. I can't count how many times I heard that my husband was potty trained at 22 months and me at 24 months. At 24 months my girl was faaaar... very faaaar from the potty.
We decided to have a conversation with our daughter’s teacher. We were desperate for advice. Well, she was definitively not as worried as we were. She told us: “come on, she is still young, wait until she is ready, don’t worry”. Then she added that none of the other kids were trained. What ? really ? but ? … Ok… at that time she was 30 months. So we stopped trying to get her trained. We understood that in the US, parents generally are not stressed about getting their kids potty trained.
So now, I am going to be very French: there is this little girl in my daughter’s dance class; she is about to turn 4. She is beautiful, blonde with cute curls. She enjoys coming to dance in her princess dress and with make up. She is very graceful and is one of the best dancers. And… she still wears diapers!… Her mom does not care, in fact nobody seems to care, nobody even notices. The only person who does is … me… oops.
So how did I finally get my daughter potty trained?
One day I hd had enough, I was at wit's end so I took off the diaper. I set my alarm clock to ring every 10 minutes and made her drink, drink and drink again. Every 10 minutes I put her in the potty. At the end of the day, I had nothing on the potty but 4 puddles of pee on the floor and a very irritated daughter that was crying each time my phone rang. The second day I changed my strategy. I just put the potty in the living room and told her to use it when needed. I also bribed her with candies. Guess what? It worked! After two days and 15 packs of candies, I am proud to say that she was potty trained at 34 months old!
I learnt that adapting my strategy to my daughter's personality made all of the difference in the world. My daughter looks exactly like her dad but has the same temper as I. Like me, you can make her do whatever you want if you promise candies. Like me the more you are on her back, the less she cooperates. So, by letting her decide whether or not to go, she felt empowered and went!
End of the post. I promise I will not raise this subject again.
United States is not one of these countries where government offers lot of help. Social benefits are low and many people are struggling with hunger.
Because we all have busy schedule between work, kids, playdates and so on, it is complicated to dedicate time to an organization and I wish I could do more. Today I had the surprise to find in my mailbox an empty paper bag.
National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) launched a campaign to collect non-perishable food. People just need to scan their kitchen and fill-in the bag with cans, soup, cereals or whatever they think other may need. I have just done it and tomorrow I will leave the bag next to my mailbox and the postman will pick it up.
What a great idea!
I love the fact that the US post office and NALC work together in this regard. I love the idea that the organization comes to you. And on top of that, it is a great activity to do with your kids. I personally filled-in the bag with my 3 year-old and explained to her that some kids are not as lucky as we are and that it is crucial to help others.
I wish I would have received the bag a couple of days ago to give me more time to do my grocery and fill-in the bag a little bit more. And I wish there were more initiative like this one.
So tell me, have you donated today?
Again, it is a mommy blog, not an astronomy blog so why this name?
I am the proud mom of two girls. I simply named this blog after their middle name, Estrella and Luna. A Star and a Moon. When people around me ask if I want a boy, my answer is simple: No. Nature decided and it is better like that. When I look at them, I see myself and remember all dreams that I had when I was a little girl. Really, childhood was a good time. Running around without worries, shame, chores or bills to pay. Because childhood does not last forever, I am making sure that they enjoy every day.
My girls are my inspiration … otherwise this blog would not exist. I want my girls to be cuter, smatter and among everything more confident than I am. I want them to learn how to play music, dance, shoot a ball, stand for themselves, and help others. To be honest, the last thing that I want is to raise princesses that wait to be rescued. I am much more Mulan than Sleeping Beauty.
In short, this blog is an open love letter to my girls. Something that they will read later, comment, make fun and enjoy hopefully.
What ? really ? noooo ? another mommy blog ? Another bored mom that decides to write and share her life. Like we care … come on !
I guess there can be as many blogs as there are moms. We are all different with different kids, different background, which lead to different stories. But this blog is not another typical mommy blog. It is MY blog … the blog of a French mom lost in the Midwest. I am a typical French woman who used to live in Paris, France and in Geneva, Switzerland that ended-up in Toledo, Ohio one of the less attractive city in the U.S. Culture shock hits me hard.
Let’s be honest, Toledo is not Chicago nor San Francisco and definitively not New York. When we tell people that we live in Toledo, some ask us to repeat the name in case of misunderstanding, others ask us : « but why ? » and the rest put on their painful face like we just told them that we have lice. This is the city where people find it cute when your two year old throws tantrums, screams and shouts in the middle of Kroger. This is the only place in the world where Nutella is considered healthy. In Toledo nobody judges you if you wear leggings even if you are not a size 0 and you are called fancy when you wear 2 in heels. Nobody cares if you go out in your PJs and without make up. Living here will frustrate any fashion addict with its lack of stores (the closest Maje is 3.5 hours away) and red lipstick is only wore on parties and on Halloween. (I can go on and on forever, but if I write everything now, I will not have any more content for future posts)
Toledo has good sides and bad sides. The mom side of me loves living in Toledo because there are plenty of activities to do with kids, but the woman part of me feels like an outsider that just doesn’t fit. But this is where I live now and it is hell of an experience that completely changed my way of living.
So what makes this blog special ? let’s find out …
Here, it is all about food, children and me.
Claire, mom of two adorable girls. Montessori believer.
A few pounds overweighted and a few inches too short. Sometimes too French for Americans and most of the time too American for French people. Rarely down to earth but often out of my mind.