Little Miss Yellow Rubber Boots At The Beach

[Paris 1] The Eiffel Tower: With and Sans Baby

Sixtine and Papa looking in the same direction – cruise on the river Seine, Paris.

Paris wouldn’t be Paris without the Eiffel Tower. I waited for my husband to arrive to visit it as we had promised each other to do it as a family. I always made sure to check things out on line before going anywhere, and oh no…:

“Access to the Eiffel Tower is currently very difficult due to a technical incident on a lift.Very few tickets are available through our online ticketing system. Waiting time to the ticket office of the monument is likely to be over 2 hours for visitors without a ticket. We regret this situation and apologize to all our visitors for this inconvenience.”

I was very upset to tell my husband that we wouldn’t be able to go inside as Sixtine would probably not deal well with a two-hour queue in the summer heat. He was disappointed but I promised him we’d go by ourselves and queue it all off  very soon.

It was a beautiful sunny day. We  actually started the day by cruising the Seine with Les Bateaux Parisiens and had a blast! Sixtine stared at the water the whole time and enjoyed the wind on her face, and my husband listened carefully to the history of all monuments and building we were passing by.

La Tour Eiffel is literally a few meters away from the boats dock so it is very convenient. We proceeded to get closer to it and bought crepes on the way. (If you go to Paris, you MUST have crepes. It is just the best thing since sliced bread!) We walked under the Eiffel Tower, checked out the huge queue and sat down on the grass nearby to enjoy our crepes. We had a great weather but it would have been a nightmare to just wait there in the sun so I am glad we took the decision not to go inside.

The following time, we went as a couple ready to queue for a long time. We had the right shoes, the right outfits, cameras, water, everything we needed to make it to the tickets desk. So we started waiting…after ten minutes, my husband decided to take a peek at the “stairs” queue and noticed how much smaller it was. There are over a 1000 steps to the second level. The trick was: we were able to purchase tickets that would take us to the top without queuing the crazy line up. It just took some exercising…a lot of exercising. I felt so out of shape. I had to stop every two flights of stairs to rest for a second (or two). I felt so proud at the end!

The view from the top is absolutely stunning and you can recognize many monuments from there. If you feel fabulous, there is a bar a champagne to celebrate (for about 10 euros if I remember well)! We personally didn’t do it but I think it could be a fun thing to do to mark the occasion. It is definitely worth visiting!

Ps: I didn’t remember the color of the Eiffel Tower. I thought it was grey-ish/green (and I have lived in France for about 24 years of my life…) but no, it’s bronze. Go figure!

I Am Ready To Conquer The World

Four months ago, I left Prince Edward Island, Canada, with my daughter and two huge suitcases a little unexpectedly. My husband and I decided I needed to go for a family cure. I was extremely homesick, sad and tired. We didn’t want it to affect the baby and thought it would be the best for everyone on the long run. We left PEI on a stormy day and arrived in sunny France the following day. I felt better almost instantly.  After a month, I did feel that I felt good enough to go but my husband had planned to come for a two-week visit later in June so we stayed in France with my family.

It feels like we had been gone for a year. Or that we lived here in another life.It is still the same yet things have changed. I feel different…Sixtine is not the tiny baby she used to be. She is a very active little girl and I am a happy Mama. It was heart-breaking to leave my husband and be separated for so long but I am so glad I went to France. We had a wonderful time there and 3000 pictures later, I can say: “I am ready to conquer the world”.

Worldwide Culture Swap l Our site is launching tonight !

A lovely lady named Rachael (a British expat mum of two in France and Sweden) has been running a Worldwide Cultural Exchange for some time and it has proved so popular that she asked for help a few weeks ago. Myrtille (a French expat mum of one located in Gran Canaria, Spain) and myself have joined her to work on extending her beautiful project into the Worldwide Culture Swap (WCS).

It includes four different culture swaps:

  • The Worldwide Culture Swap: you will be put in a group with 5 families from around the world.  The objective of the swap is to share information with each family about the country in which you live (or that you will be representing) so that they can get a feel for the culture of that country. This is achieved by sending a package (usually addressed to the child or children) with bits and pieces that you have chosen to give a good overview of what it is like to live there.
  • You can also sign up to an Individual Worldwide Culture Swap via the Worldwide Culture Swap. You will be match with another family and will only have to send one package. This is great for family who have less time, or can’t spend too much at a given time, etc…
  • The US States Culture Swap:  you will be put in a group with 4/5 other families representing different US states.  The objective of the swap is to share information with each family about the state in which you live (or that you will be representing). This is achieved by sending a package (usually addressed to the child or children) with bits and pieces that you have chosen to give a good overview of what it is like to live there
  • The Culture Swap for Schools: If your class signs up for the Culture Swap for Schools it will be matched with a class similar in age from another part of the world so that you can put together your own cross cultural project to suit your needs. You will send and receive letters, packages, postcards or whatever you agree between the two educators.
  • Find A Penpal: Are you interested in a the Worldwide Culture Swap but you would rather develop a long term relationship with a corresponding family? Would you like your children to learn more about the world, make new friends, develop an interest in writing or even practice a new language?
    If yes then the Find a Pen Pal initiative is for you.
  • Get involved ! This is a collaborative site compiled from submissions sent by you from all around the world !

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest !

We will soon be running our first giveaway competition so keep an eye out ! And spread the wor(l)d !

I Survived Being Away From Baby

I won’t bore you with the details of my awesome weekend in London (Japanese restaurant near Hammersmith/clubbing in Leicester Square/brunch in Russel Square/shopping in Marble Arch/Camden Town/Hammersmith) but I survived my trip away from baby. My heart was so heavy to say goodbye to Sixtine. I felt bad because I knew she wouldn’t realize I was gone until after a few hours…but I had such a great time ! It felt so good dancing and enjoying myself as a woman and not just a mother. I thought my old self was gone forever but she is still there and that makes me happy.

I phoned and texted my mother during the weekend and she said Sixtine was doing all right. She didn’t want to tell me that she had been a little difficult and cried and whined more than ever. I was able to talk to her though and I know they took very good care of her.

Going back home, I felt like running to get closer to baby as soon as possible. I opened the door with excitement, washed my hands (yucky métro you know…), and walked towards my little one. She was playing on her mat with a crocheted wooden teether and I said: “Sissi, Baby…!” and she gave me the most beautiful smile…she laughed, she smiled, she talked and kissed with open mouth…It was the best feeling in the world.

London: My First Trip Away From Baby

I haven’t been separated from my baby daughter since she was born, and this weekend will mark a milestone. I am going to London with my BFF for three days. We have known each other since we were girls, and we have been going to London for years. I moved in London at the age of 20 and then again in 2009 to attend university. We know London well enough to go for very short visits and skip the sight seeing. We shop til we drop, we dance like no one’s watching , and we go home happy.

But it is going to be very different this time…I am a mother, and I have a tiny little one who will be wondering where her Mama is.  My heart hurts at the thought of being away from her for so long…I even thought of cancelling but I need to do this.

It is going to be lots of fun and I will take a million pictures !

How did you survive your first trip away sans baby?

I Am Officially A Permanent Resident Of Canada

At last…I thought I would never see this day coming but last night, my husband surprised me with a much-awaited letter announcing I had become a permanent resident of Canada. It felt like forever, and it was a very straining process but it was all worth it in the end. I have now the same right as a Canadian citizen except I am not allowed to vote, I have to stay out of trouble, and make sure to live in Canada 2 years out of 5, every 5 years. I will receive my PR card as soon as I land in Canada !

We are so happy; it is just going to be so much easier now… I am so throwing a party when I get home on the 1st of July ! Canada day will have a special meaning for us this time around 🙂

*huge grin on my face*

Read more about my experience here.

How Did They Find Me ?

I started Sixtine And The Little Things at the beginning of February, on a sunday afternoon, with a strong urge to express myself. I have loved blogging since day one and it has been a great way for me to share my feelings about parenting, expat life and being a new mother.

It has also been a place to “meet” and interact with people I would have never met otherwise. It has been really exciting and fulfilling. Somedays posts come naturally and some others, I will post a picture because that is all I feel like doing. Some comments make me laugh, some others make me feel very emotional, and some others comfort me. I also love reading other blogs about parenting, the experienced mums and the less experienced ones, the dads, but also the expatriates, the language lovers, travelers and photograph enthusiasts.

I remember being all excited getting my first few comments and followers. I got emails from my friends saying how much they enjoyed reading my blog and it warmed my heart. I never thought what I had to say would be interesting to anyone.

And then one time I wondered: “How Did They Find me?” And this is how:

  • Misspelt title: “Sixtine and her little things”, “Sixtine and the little”, “Sistine and the little things”
  • Bilingualism: “what are the advantages and disadvantages of raising a child in Italy” (Italy, really?), “pros and cons of raising bilingual children”, bilinguals, disadvantages”, “the benefits of bilingualism in children”.
  • French parenting was a hit: “How to raise children like the French”, “The French way of raising children”,”French approach to raising children”, “French parenting and teething”
  • Vagina toning: “reeducating my vagina”, “French perineum exercises”,”perineal re education”, “The French government wants to tone my vagina”, “French government vagina”
  • Sponsoring for permanent residence in Canada: “Is it easy to sponsor a spouse in Canada”, “is money needed for sponsorship in Canada 2012”
  • Canada: “things to thank Canada for”, “Labour and delivery prince edward island”, “do foreigners like Canadian accent”, “clichés of Canadians”…
  • Pregnancy and motherhood: “is it normal to puke more than 7 times a day when pregnant”, “my French wife is pregnant”,”absent-minded while pregnant”, “perfect mums”…
  • Random: “creepy stuff heard on baby monitors”, “messy diaper”, “sam roberts baby” (in another life maybe lol), “Eiffel tower and baguette”, “why are you interested in Montessori education”
  • Red Bull addiction: (it felt good seeing I wasn’t the only one with Red Bull drinking problems), “how to stop drinking Red Bull”, “extreme tiredness when not drinking Red Bull, “can you get addicted to red Bull”,…
  • Fashion: “Sixtine look” (wow !), “Baby with style” (thank you!), “Okaidi”, “Joe Fresh”, “Tartine et chocolat”
  • Body parts: “Baby big eyes”, “les doigts de pieds recroquevillé adulte” (ewww),”vagina”…
  • Little Red Farm Cultural Exchange, Cloth diaper and Spa Baby Tub appeared quite a bit as well.
  • And some people I wish I could trace back: “homesick in London”, “bad mood new mum”…

I love looking at this world map and see where people are connecting from. I was surprised to see that French people read me a lot more than Canadians although I write in English. They probably are just friends and family !

 

A big thank you to all of you readers for making my blogging journey an amazing one ! If you haven’t done so already, know that you can also join me on Facebook !

Random Short Story: My Daughter Is Not French

According to the law, my daughter is not (certified) French.

I had an appointment at the city hall to have a passport made for Sixtine. I had phoned prior to the appointment and asked for the required documents. I arrived pretty excited to the thought of my daughter being Canadian-French and holding both passports.

Well, apparently, it is a little more complicated than that. “Nationality through parentage must be established while the child is still a minor (under 18).” She was born in Canada so she is Canadian and that’s the end of the story. I have to get a certificate of French nationality for her which can be obtained by phoning the family court and blablabla. Why make things so complicated?! I am French. She’s French and that should be enough. But I will get this stupid certificate so that my little one can travel in Europe like the French little lady that she is.

The Little Red Farm Worldwide Cultural Exchange l Follow-up

 If  you haven’t read my previous post about the worldwide cultural exchange we have signed up for, you can do so here. We were “assigned” four other families located in: Singapore, the United States, the United Kingdom and France (but it is a Brazilian family). I decided to represent both France and Canada thinking it would be more fun ! I posted two care packages with Canadian goodies to the Brazilian and the British family this afternoon and I have just started working on the French goodies. It was a lot of fun to put together the first two packages and hope they will enjoy their packages ! 

Sign up here: Worldwide Cultural Exchange

Sneak-Peek: