Random Short Story: People Who Make Your Heart Melt

A few months ago, as my husband and I were waiting to have our daughter get checked at the Public Health Center, I met a girl. She too,was in the waiting room with her husband and daughter. Her baby girl looked just a tiny older than ours but the reason they caught my attention is that she spoke French to her. French French. My kind of French. I had to find out why, how, where etc and started a conversation. I found out she was from France, and that her husband was an islander, just like mine and she had arrived to Canada the same way I had, with a Work Holiday Visa. She was really nice and talking French made me feel like home for a few minutes. We happened to bump into each other at the exact same day a few more times. And we became friends.

We were supposed to hang out this weekend but I had to phone and cancel because I was sick. She probably felt how awful I was feeling. And just like that, she offered to take Sixtine for a few hours so I could rest. It made me very emotional but mostly, I felt very grateful. We haven’t known each other that well but I value her friendship very much. They are people like that who make your heart melt.

She doesn’t even know I have a blog but I wanted to share this with you.

Edit: I would like to add that there are other people in my life that would deserve a random short story and have made my life much easier during this pregnancy. You know who you are! Love x

Sticking Tongues Out On Mother’s Day

Oh la la, my baby daughter has realized she could do stuff with her tongue and stuck it out all day! It was too funny to watch!

On Raising A Bicultural Baby

Bicultural: of, relating to, or including two distinct cultures.

Sixtine is French. And she is also Canadian. I don’t know if it is me and my naturally-inclined way of stressing out, or if other first-time mothers of bicultural children have felt this way but it can be very overwhelming to make parenting choices when both cultures don’t see eye to eye.

It affects every aspect of everyday life, especially in the food department…To give you an idea, food is not introduced the same way, one tells me that 3 bottles of 7oz a day is enough and the other tells me that milk should be baby’s main source of nutrition, one is more into attachment parenting, the other favorites independence in children…One sells formula at about 12 euros, one sells it at about 30ish dollars which tells me that Canadian want to discourage women to formula-feed or encourage them to breastfeed if you prefer.

As a first-time mum, (of bicultural children or not), it can be tough to feel confident with your choices, let alone when cultures come into it. I feel divided and overwhelmed.I just want to do the right thing. But what is the right thing? My husband tells me to keep doing what I am doing, but do I know what I am doing?

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.

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:

10 Random Facts About Canada

 

  • Phone plans are shockingly expensive. As in feeling ripped off. I have to pay an extra $10 (about 8 euros, 7 pounds) for unlimited incoming calls. Pay. For. Incoming. Calls. How crazy is that?
  • They use dish cloth to wash their dishes. I still don’t get it. My husband and I have our own dish washing gear and we don’t share. It is just as well.
  •  Canadian eh? Their accent is very close to the American one – only words in [u] sound different (like “out and about”) but in my opinion, it sounds better ! They are also vocabulary differences (ie. Ca. says pharmacy, Uk says chemist), they use words like loonie (one dollar), toonie (two dollars) and tuque (knitted woolen hat).
  • You lock the door from the inside. First time I went out by myself, I couldn’t figure out (for the life of me) how to close that bloody door. I tried, and tried, and tried, missed the bus and ended up staying home. Angry. Stupid, me? Let’s put it on culture shock. When I told my now-husband, he said: “you should have left it unlocked. It is pretty safe here. ” Having lived in both Paris and London, I can assure you that I would never leave the door unlocked.
  • Poutine. It’s French fries, with gravy and cheese. Doesn’t look good but tastes amazing.
  • Maternity leave usually lasts a year which makes it difficult to find care for children under a year old.
  • Canadian French doesn’t sound like “proper French”. Proper French being French from France. I sometimes want to pinch myself when I request French service on the phone (what is a French girl to do if she can’t have a little fix?!) and end up not understanding half the things I am told because of an extremely strong accent; Acadian French being the hardest to understand, and Québécois French the easiest. However, please, don’t be offended French-speaking Canadians: I love you ! It is just hard to understand you on the phone.
  • It is rather cold out here. (Duh !) But whenever the temperature hits 0+, it actually feels warm. Last June, my hubby and I were cruising around in the Jeep when I suddenly realized that summer had come. It was 13 degrees out and it felt actually warm. I swear !
  • The cliché that Canadians are “laid-back” is true. They are generally very friendly with a relaxed attitude. I don’t know what it is (the outdoors, the fresh hair, the culture?) but I love that about them.
  • Don Cherry. He deserves is own bullet point.

The Emotional Journey Of Being A New Mum

I don’t know what it is but I have butterflies in my stomach today. Not the fun butterflies, the nervous ones. I feel somehow overwhelmed. Being a new mum has been a very emotional journey so far. I wrote about being “the perfect mum” a little while ago and really, I am not trying to be  perfect. But I want to be the best I can be for my daughter.  I feel that I didn’t give the best start to my daughter for these two particular reasons and it saddens me a lot.

  • Sixtine was born with her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. They had to quickly care for her, which didn’t allow us to have one on one time. She wasn’t put on my chest, still covered in blood and whatever it is called. They gave her to me all clean and wrapped in a blanket. Although I know it was what was best for her, it makes me sad that we didn’t experience that moment.
  • I didn’t breastfeed as long as I wish would have. It simply didn’t work for us. I was in extreme pain and had to pump for a couple days while my breasts would “recover”. In that short amount of time, the baby didn’t want to take the breasts again when it was offered to her. I felt somehow relieved because it was a very painful situation. I still remember crying a little before she was due to eat as I knew how excruciating the experience would be. I feel really bad about the fact that my baby didn’t get breast milk as long as she deserved. It took me a while to be at peace with the fact that she was now formula-fed and I am still not completely over it today. Some people’s comments have made it worse.

As for parenting style, I feel somewhat lost between what is generally done, generally told to do, and what I want to do. Between breastfeeding vs formula feeding, spoon-feeding vs baby-led weaning, cloth diapering vs disposables attachment parenting vs Montessori (although they share some values, they have differences ie. babywearing), pacifier, thumb sucking vs none, green baby vs regular products and so on, I find it hard to find my place. I take bits and pieces of whatever I feel comfortable doing but I sometime feel guilty for doing something because I read/hear it is not a good thing to do or no one I know does it this way. When really, I don’t see where’s the harm in doing it.

Let’s try to sum this up: I formula-feed my baby with love, she uses a pacifier but only at bed time and naps, I want to start baby-led weaning but I don’t see where is the harm in baby cereal, she has been sleeping in her own room since she was two months of age, but I enjoy a little morning sleep-in nap with my baby, we cloth diaper but I don’t mind using disposables on the go, we mainly use green products for her but I am a big L’oreal make-up fan…so what does that make me?

There is something strikely different between French parenting and English-speaking countries parenting. I can feel the difference, and I think this is where I am confused. I was raised in a French environment, stern but fair. Whatever this lady talked about in her Bringing Up Bebe is probably true to life, although I have yet to read it but the excerpts I read were pretty convincing. I am not saying that raising baby the French way is best but this is the only way I know. I am well-aware of the differences ( I was a nanny in London, UK, and I have been living in Canada for about 18 months), I find that English-speaking parents are more focused on their children, everything seems to revolve around them, whereas French parents aren’t as children-focused and the list is long but in the end, we just raise our kids with a main ingredient: love.

If you are a second, third-time (or more) mum, you probably must be thinking that I am going to have to learn to not care about what people think, and that I will get more confident with time. It is probably true – I just know that right this second, I am a very emotional first-timer trying to do the right thing.

Thank you for taking the time to read my ramble for I don’t have the butterflies anymore…

Date Nights After Baby or Sam Roberts Band

“Now, I’ve had, the time of my life, No I never felt like this before…”

My husband and I haven’t had many occasions to have fun like teenagers again since the baby arrived in our lives. We’ve had a few date nights (mainly movies, and dining out) but I hadn’t had fun like this for a long time ! When we were apart (me in France, him in Canada), he used to send me music and I would do the same. This is when I first heard of Sam Roberts Band, a Canadian rock/indie rock band based in Montreal. The first song he sent was “No sleep“. It was love at first “sight” ! I have been a huge fan of this band since and was able to see them play in 2010, at the Stanley Cup in Nova Scotia.

Imagine my excitement when I heard they were coming to play in Charlottetown ! We asked the babysitter to come around 7pm, kissed Sixtine goodbye and off we were to an excellent pub dinner at Hunter’s Ale House (great service, great food) followed by Sam Roberts Band concert at The Delta Hotel.

We arrived early enough to be first/second row and were greeted by Sam Roberts Band special guest Toronto-based Zeus band which I had never heard of (you can check them out on Myspace if you like Indie rock).

And then came the king. Sam Roberts made his apparition, and everyone started to go nuts ! He has so much energy, it’s a real treat to see him play and interact with the audience. We sang along, screamed, danced, clapped, and rocked.

Sam Roberts is very appreciative of his fans. I am 27 but I felt like a teenager when he touched my hand at the end of the concert to thank his fans… Groupie, me? Well, if you take into account that I was reluctant to wash my hands when we got home…maybe 😉

My husband and I had an awesome date night and I couldn’t thank him enough for making it so special for me. I woke up this morning smiling and singing and I thought, I am a mum, but I still am going to have fun !

 What are your favorite thing to do with your partner/spouse since baby arrived? Any suggestions?

Enjoy the pictures and have a go at listening to Sam Roberts Band if you don’t know him already !

Sixtine rocking in Sam Roberts Band onesie

Summer in Prince Edward Island, Canada

Prince Edward Island, Canada beaches in the summer.

Click here to see Prince Edward Island, in the winter

It will be a month today that I have started blogging and it’s been a great experience so far. I love interacting with fellow mamas and dads about everything parenting and the little things. I am not sure why I started writing in the first place but it sure does me a lot of good. It is getting a little easier to write each and every day and I am hoping to get better with time. Thank you for showing interest in it and welcome to the new followers ! Stay in touch:

10 Reasons Why You Should Marry a Foreigner (Like I Did) by Corey Heller

I have recently discovered the Multilingual Living website and I am hooked already. The author of the blog, Corey Heller, wrote this post:  10 Reasons Why You Should Marry a Foreigner (Like I Did) and I thought I would write my own version here. For those who haven’t read my mini-about me section, I am French and my husband is Canadian English (or I should say Canadian Irish !). We met in Reykjavik, Iceland in 2008 while traveling. He was traveling in Europe and I was traveling in the Nordic countries ! Our relationship is so rich from sharing different cultures and languages. It brings back so many nice memories just writing about it.

  • 10. He had me at “Hello”. There is a little “je-ne-sais-quoi” about foreigners. When I heard him speak for the first time, I was so charmed by his accent. The Canadian accent is so clear, sounds like water.
  • 9. His looks. Foreigners look different in a good way. He had this big white smile, this cute Canadian flagged hat on his head, and those muscles.
  • 8. Different traditions. I used to watch Friends a lot when I was younger. In fact, I knew pretty much the whole script (you never know, they may have needed extras on the show) and demanded my mother cook a Thanksgiving dinner on Christmas eve. On top of our regular Christmas dinner. I would have celebrated Hanukkah (like Ross & Monica) had I known how they did it. I actually love Jewish cooking (their bread is to die for!) Anyways, I am deviating from the topic here. My first Thanksgiving here was very special.
  • 7. Learning or perfecting languages. My husband doesn’t speak much French but he is keen to learn which is a good start. My parents’ English is a little rusty (to be nice) but they try really hard to communicate with my husband and his family.
  • 6. Traveling. I agree with Corey. It is part of your life when you are a bilingual (trilingual, polyglot) family. You take the time, the money to visit your loved ones.
  • 5. The little things. My Canadian husband makes me pancakes with maple syrup every Saturday morning. They are to die for. And it adds to the long list of the reason why I love him. He loves my French crepes. And I will be making some today to celebrate Mardi gras – it was yesterday but he was away for work. I also love shmores (marshmallow, Graham crackers and chocolate in a sandwich melted over a fire), and many other Canadian things I had never heard about before we met.
  • 4. Bilingual child(ren). It is a blessing for them to benefit from both parents heritage.
  • 3. True clichés. Canadians are laid-back, friendly people. It is true. Especially here in Prince Edward Island. His family and friends are so adorable.
  • 2. Our child is beautiful.
  • 1. Love.  ” …transform(ed) you stranger into a lover from far away.” Matt Mays

What are YOUR reasons? Where and how did you meet your foreign other half?