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I decided to interview Josie on the eve of her third birthday (an idea I borrowed from my friend Letia at Rockin’ Our Madeus).

Since her answers are apt to change from moment to moment, I should note that the interview occurred on May 9, 2012.

Favorite food: “Porridge and cereal.”

Favorite fruit: “Apple!”

Favorite color: “Purple.”

Favorite thing to do at school: “Paint and draw and just say please.”

Favorite thing to do at home: “I like to dance.”

Favorite song: “The Halo song.”

Favorite thing to sing: “The Hello song.”

Favorite instrument: “The violin.”

Favorite thing to do with friends: “Share, don’t push.”

What do you want to be when you grow up? “16, 17, 18, 19.”

Favorite animal: “A peacock.”

Favorite book: “Gila Monsters Meet You at the Airport and Miss Rumphius.

Favorite neighborhood place: “Delaney’s!”

What do you want for your birthday? “Ummm, chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.”

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HaPpY HaLloWeEn ! ! !

Love, Little Josie Mouse

Recently, Josephine has expressed a lot of interest in different kinds of art activities.  She can’t get enough of coloring with her crayons.  At first, she really just liked seeing how many crayons she could grasp in each hand, which was slightly counterproductive but lately she has grasped that she can make some pretty cool marks on the paper by bearing down and using one crayon at a time.  I must say that her scribbling has gotten pretty good! In September, we gave finger painting a try in order to make two very special birthday cards for both her grandmothers, Granny and Gigi, who were born September 20th and 22nd, respectively.  I set up a little newspaper and paper outside on our front walk, and stripped Jo down to her diaper as I feared that the finger painting would quickly devolve into body painting and other such expressions. (The weather here has been so crazily warm we could still be taking advantage of this finger-painting weather…) As the pictures below indicate, this was indeed the end result, although we did also produce a couple of lovely pieces to put in the mail.

Beans Breakthrough !

I was ecstatic last week when Josephine decided that she would indeed have another spoonful of the black beans that I offered her. I was wary at first. I have been trying to get her to eat beans for a while (probably since she was 9 or 10 months old) with no luck. She had a particularly strong reaction to lentils, you may remember. So, when she reached for more black beans, I was shocked. It must be the mango, I thought. (I usually make the beans with mango chunks, spiced healthily with ginger, garlic, cumin and lime juice, a recipe from a Moosewood cookbook that I first learned to make in Boston with my friend Rebecca).

Then, a few days later, I thought, what the heck, and I offered her some lentil soup. She ate that up too! Could be we in the clear for legumes? I wonder what changed her mind.

In other news, Josephine’s vocabulary continues to grow. We can now add to the list: ball, all done, Papa, Gigi (with some liberal interpretation here), and down. Maybe I would add cat.  Last Sunday, I asked her if she was hungry and then I said “Oink, oink,” in an attempt to be funny. This kind of stuck for the next few times when I asked her if she was hungry, she continued to oink.  Concrete proof, I suppose, that I must be careful of what I say for it may readily be picked up and repeated.

I’m going to end this post with a photo from a glorious meal of spaghetti and meatballs, one of Jo’s favorite meals.

I have been terrible about blogging lately. Let’s just say that we’ve been devoting a lot of energy to schoolwork and various related pursuits.

I did want to share this little morsel of an anecdote. We’ve signed Jo up for some “tot” swim lessons here in Durham. Friends of ours took their son when he was under a year old and he LOVED the water and took to it naturally, like a wee Michael Phelps. I also love swimming and think it’s important for Josephine to get familiar with the water. Thus far, she hasn’t really taken to the pool and I can’t even say that she particularly enjoys the swim class. If I try to decipher her expression, I am usually working with a very serious, slightly furrowed brow, clenched fists and lots of attentive twisting around to watch the other kids around us.

This week, we practiced going under the water (again, *not* her favorite activity, but she doesn’t scream either, which I consider progress). The first time she went all the way under this week, I thought I glimpsed a pretty heinous, bright yellow booger coming out of her nose. I went to wipe it away (as any mom would) and realized that I actually had to extract a corn kernel from her nostril. And, far more alarming, the last time she had corn was on *Tuesday* (this happened on Saturday). How terrible is that?!?

If any medical professionals are reading along, I’d love to know if I should be worried. Or, does anyone else have a similar story to recount? I had thought that her brief pursuit of putting things in her nose and ears was over but apparently I will need to once again be super vigilant at mealtime.

In other news, her vocabulary is expanding at leaps and bounds and it is just so fascinating and exciting to see what she’ll pick up next. She has mastered saying “up”,  she has started making the cutest little “quacks” and “oinks” and she also kind of says “bath” and “hat.” She is obsessed with rocks and whenever she gets a hold of one, she exclaims “Gock!” Sign-wise, she’s added several to her repertoire, including the ones for butterfly, bird, bath, milk, sleep and please (this last one is very hit or miss). And she LOVES to say “hi” and “bye” to people we encounter and to her various admirers with whom we webcam. Hopefully I’ll get a picture up soon. Til then, eat some corn and think of Josephine.

Bonjour Durham…

Dear gentlest of readers,

If any forlorn souls were checking in on this blog during the months of July and August, I commend your patience and can now say that we have resumed life with a high-speed internet connection. Which means that I will soon be uploading some photos to document our amazing travels in England and Ireland before we returned stateside. We’ve made the big move (back) down to Durham for this coming year so I can direct a large portion of my energies into finishing the dissertation. La Petite has also embarked on a somewhat scholarly tack as she started nursery school whereupon she immediately came down with a cold which blossomed into an angry ear infection and so the past week has definitely been bumpy.  Once the amoxicillin sets in, I predict that things will be looking up.

In other grand news, my sister Jackie — artist extraordinaire– is off and running in Finland so check out her blog here.

À bientôt, j’espère

Nichole

Au revoir Pareeeee

We bid some bittersweet goodbyes to the city of light last week (including a sublime afternoon of macarons in the Parc Montsouris) and then boarded a train of great vitesse to London, where we’re visiting some family. We’re currently in Wales, and then we’re heading to Ireland. With any luck, Josie could take her first steps in the land of her ancestors…

Our blogging capabilities will be limited for the next few weeks so stay tuned for updates on an even more infrequent basis. Merci !

We went to Berlin last week to visit our good friend Stephanie and her husband Toffi and their two adorable daughters, Marie and Greta.

Josephine was thrilled to be able to roam all over their gigantic apartment in Prenzlauer Berg and to play with all of Marie and Greta’s awesome German toys (they have a slide in their living room!).  Berlin, in general, seemed really kid-friendly (sooo different from Paris) and we were surprised to see sandboxes and toys for children in numerous cafes, even cafes in high-traffic areas like on Museuminsel (museum island) down near the river Spree.

Josephine also got to know their dog, Oko. When we first arrived, she was scared of Oko and she started crying if he even looked at her. It was odd for us because we had never seen her afraid of something before (she doesn’t even really have stranger anxiety, unless she’s really tired and cranky).  Yet, she really warmed up to him, and she began pointing at him and saying “Daaah” (for dog).  Tadhg and I have since been having heated debates as to whether or not this counts as her first word.  We’d love for any gentle readers out there to intervene with their opinions.  Tadhg thinks that this instance does stand as the first time that Josephine has intentionally used a word with regularity.  I think that the word “hi” could be her first word, since she has been able to wave and say “hi” when someone enters the room for weeks.  However, she does not say “hi” consistently every time.  And, though she does pretty consistently call out dogs on the street (and there are a lot of them here), she has also been known to point at pigeons and ducks and call them “daaah”s as well, so maybe we’re still waiting for the first definitive word.  What do you think? How do you know when your kid has said their first word? Is it just something you make up when she asks you ten years later?

We were also happy to take a break from French cuisine and sample some German fare.  Stephanie had baked a loaf of delicious walnut bread before we arrived. The following night, Toffi made some crispy swineschnitzel and Stephanie prepared some asparagus (apparently the Germans go gaga for asparagus) and pommes de terre which we washed down with a nice Riesling. Oh, and she made the most amazing rhubarb crumble for dessert… I am not normally a rhubarb fan but I was scraping up crumbs from the baking dish before retiring it to the kitchen sink to soak. For TD, though, the cullinary highlight was sampling Berlin’s best currywurst (according to Toffi and Gerhard Schroeder), which just happened to be located at a stand down the street, under the UBahn.

On our last day, we wandered into a great street market in Stephanie’s neighborhood, where we listened to some music, sampled some sizzling bratwurst wrapped in bacon, and oogled all of the meat and cheese vendors, and the piles of peonies:

Given our ardent love of the GDR classic film “Go Trabi, Go” (and it’s totally awesome soundtrack), we made a point to check out the recently opened DDR Museum, which indulges in a good bit of “ostalgie” (nostalgia for East Germany).  The high point was, obviously, getting to slip behind the wheel of an actual Trabant, which Josie found pretty exciting.

Merci again to Stephanie, Toffi, Marie and Greta for having us  and letting us be Berliners for a few days !

Josiefêtes

In true French fashion, Josephine decided to “faire le pont” and extend her Wednesday birthday through the weekend. This happened to coincide with the national holiday of the Assumption on Thursday and therefore many Parisians left the city for the long weekend and we had Parc Montsouris almost to ourselves on Saturday afternoon for a lovely birthday pique-nique. Let’s recap:

On Wednesday, Josephine, Maman and Dad went out to lunch and Josephine enjoyed some delicious frites. That evening, we sang happy birthday to her and she sampled (which is to say, devoured) her first pâtisserie, a strawberry shortcake kind of thing from the boulangerie around the corner.  After this sugary indulgence, she was pretty wired and therefore really excited to web-cam with Aunt Jackie before hitting the hay (not to say that she isn’t always excited to see her Aunt Jaquie).

On Saturday, the weather graciously allowed us to have a little afternoon fête for Josephine in Parc Montsouris. We were so happy to share the day with some amis who helped sing a rousing version of “joyeux anniversaire” and watch Josephine stare intently at the sole candle on her delicious raspberry cake.

She spent a lot of time practicing walking by holding hands.  She is pretty much obsessed with walking at this point and we could soon be reporting news of her first real steps.  Today she stood on her own several times and seemed pretty thrilled with herself.

Unfortunately, Josie has learned that all good things, even birthdays must come to an end. Or must they? Gigi and Papa are already planning yet another fête for Josie this July in Buffalo. Stay tuned.

Okay, so the count-down to one year kind of fizzled out. But here, on this most auspicious day, is a quick count-up, inspired by one of our favorite tunes of yore.

1. Already scheming at one month...

2. Two months: first bath. . . Just kidding.

3. Just 189 more months.

4. The pout. We hardly knew ye...

5. The five-month-old dragon has apparently scared Jack O to death.

6. Josie and food: the love affair begins.

7. Soooo excited for Santa.

8. La fille en pyjamas requins

9. Neuf mois: entrez peek-a-boo

10. Dix Mois: Entrez le Face

11. Building pyramids at 11 months

aaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnnddddddddd

TWELVE , aka ONE YEAR!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOSIE!!!!