petite anglaise

June 26, 2009

sex

Filed under: knocked up — petiteanglaise @ 3:44 pm

In the weeks leading up to our second ultrasound scan, lots of people began asking me whether we’d be in favour of taking a closer look at baby’s undercarriage to determine its sex.

This is something I’d studiously avoided the first time around, allowing Tadpole to creep up on me by stealth. I was hankering after a little girl, but knew that whoever popped out (oh, if only that were an accurate verb, it makes it sound so much easier than the fourteen hour marathon her birth really was) would instantly steal my heart.

Despite an overwhelming intuitive feeling that the inhabitant of my womb was a boy this time around, I found myself, once again, hoping for a girl. The official reason I gave, when pressed for justification, was that I’m not a big fan of golden showers. I’ve heard several horror stories – from reliable sources – about boy infants and their fountain-like abilities during nappy change time and decided this was not something I felt the need to experience.

But – joking aside – the real reason was that I have little firsthand knowledge of what makes small boys tick.

I grew up with two younger sisters, you see, and although I actually have twin brothers as well, we didn’t meet until I was almost thirty and they were in their late teens. Small boys are therefore something of an unknown quantity to me and preferring the idea of a daughter over a son was probably a case of ‘better the devil you know’.

Observing friends of mine with their sons from a safe distance, I’ve often found their levels of boisterousness overwhelming. And I’ve noticed other differences too. The way infant males tend to cling to their mothers, for example, often quite literally, wrapping themselves around their mummy’s legs like bindweed when they are going through the separation anxiety stage.

The Boy was adamant that he wanted to find out the sex of our baby at the second ultrasound scan, and I decided doing things differently this time was a good way to ring the changes, so we informed the doctor of this just as she was noisily squirting a huge quantity of lube onto my belly. She nodded, but explained that she’d be taking all the usual second scan measurements first, and would look at the genitalia afterwards.

And by the time she got to the money shot, I have to admit that I was so preoccupied with the baby’s SIZE that all gender-related considerations had taken a back seat.

Baby’s estimated weight – at 22 weeks – was 570g. I happened to know for a fact that the average weight at this stage tends to be more like 430g, meaning that baby was about two weeks ahead of him/herself. The head, femur and foot measurements were all equally supersized, placing baby in the 90th percentile. How on earth, I began to wonder, eyes watering in premature anticipation, was I ever going to get this baby out of my womb without breaking my pelvis in two?

And then there it was, the turtle-like outline on the ultrasound screen that clearly indicated that my (and the Boy’s) intuition had been correct. Le bébé is indeed a he, just as we’d both suspected.

A few days later, I find I’m getting used to the idea of male offspring and I even bought a delightful blue robot-print babygro in the sales, by way of celebration.

But as for the size issue, my eyes still water every time I allow myself to think about that.

Oh, boy.

June 15, 2009

knocked update

Filed under: knocked up — petiteanglaise @ 5:52 pm

My first trimester blues (and headaches, and tummy aches, and indigestion) began to fade once I’d got the first three and a half months behind me. Now, just clear of the halfway mark, I’m starting to feel much more energetic and an awful lot happier, something for which I suspect The Boy is just as grateful as I am.

The fun part of pregnancy – feeling baby’s movements – began much earlier this time around. With Tadpole, I remember feeling the first flutters while wallowing in the full-length bath (oh the luxury! If only Parisian apartments had proper baths!) at my parents’ place on New Year’s Eve 2002, helpful timing which conveniently allows me to date the event with some accuracy. But I’d barely passed the three month mark with #2 when I detected the first twists, kicks and flutters. I think there are several reasons for this. First of all, I knew what to look for (and, above all, knew better than to confuse these faint manifestations of life within with more prosaic complaints, such as the aforementioned indigestion). Secondly, my tummy ‘popped’ much earlier this time around, letting it all hang out, as it were, so that, to my mind, I already look more like a woman nearing the end of her sixth month. And, last of all, the first scan showed that, this time, the placenta is placed towards my back, effectively removing a potential frontal shock absorber from the equation.

But at first, whenever I sought Tadpole or The Boy’s hand and plonked it across my bare belly so that they could share the spooky internal thudding sensations with me, baby invariably stopped moving, prompting sceptical looks from The Boy and impatient scowls from Tadpole. Her attempts to spur baby into action – mostly by shouting things into my tummy button as though it were a megaphone – were futile and, for a while afterwards, she couldn’t be prevailed upon come and touch my belly at all. ‘No thank you, mummy,’ she would reply firmly. ‘It never works.’ Or ‘it’s too boring.’

But a couple of weeks ago the baby got a whole lot more active, enjoying long bouts of hiccups and putting a lot more oomph into those kicks and punches, causing visible tremors. So now my belly is providing free, wholesome entertainment for the entire family. Who needs a TV?

I still have some unspeakably annoying little pregnancy-related complaints – nothing, I realise, compared to the real medical complications some unfortunate folks suffer from – most of which come into full force shortly before bedtime. Late in the evening, my skin often begins to itch ferociously, causing me to scratch up a storm, remove my bra (the main culprit, often not helped by the fact that stray food particles seem to find their way into the cleft between my newly ample bosoms at dinnertime) and wriggle about on the sofa like a woman possessed. From what I’ve been able to glean online, it’s a hormonal thing, and no amount of soaking in emollient baths seems to make a blind bit of difference. There’s no alternative, I fear, but to scratch and bear it.

Another complaint I often suffer from at bedtime is what I call ‘fidgety leg syndrome’. Suddenly there is no comfortable position and I have to keep moving my legs in order to avoid a kind of dull, heavy aching. Perhaps I have finally succumbed to the famous French malady known as ‘heavy legs’ or jambes lourdes which I hitherto assumed to be a fictitious complaint. Whatever it is, it’s unbelievably annoying and calls to mind those episodes of Grey’s Anatomy or Dr House where a healthy patient tries to convince the doctors that he wants to have his legs removed because of a phantom pain.

Last but not least, there are the increased levels of clumsiness to contend with, which have seen me head-butting open kitchen cupboards, stubbing my toes and causing myself all manner of minor injuries. In today’s example of cack-handedness, I managed to gash my forearm open while attempting to open a parcel from DHL with a pair of not particularly sharp scissors, narrowly missing a major artery. This resulted in a rather surreal scene in which I found myself holding the offending arm above my head, blood slowly trickling down my arm, while I one-handedly googled “how do I know if I need stitches?”

June 11, 2009

window seat

Filed under: misc — petiteanglaise @ 11:53 am

I’ve written a guest post for the folks over at the Window Seat blog on Travelocity which might interest any readers planning a trip to Paris in the near future.

Enjoy!

June 4, 2009

feeling blue

Filed under: book stuff — petiteanglaise @ 9:48 am
paperback cover US

I just happened to spot the new cover for the Random House paperback edition of petite, published in the US and Canada on 9 June (which I suspect will be overshadowed by Tadpole’s birthday, on the very same day!)

I had no idea it was going to be blue, and while I like the shade very much (as my wardrobe can testify), I can’t help thinking that it clashes somewhat with my blog colour scheme…

If you are on the other side of the pond, you can order a copy from Amazon US or Amazon Canada, or from your local bookstore.

Hopefully my author copies will be making an appearance in my letter box any day now.

June 2, 2009

party planner

Filed under: Tadpole rearing — petiteanglaise @ 2:04 pm

Every time I think about Tadpole’s upcoming sixth birthday party I am filled with dread.

In previous years I’d always had a cast-iron excuse not to throw one. When she was three, for example, Tadpole hadn’t yet started pre-school and only knew the two other children our childminder cared for. Despite the fact that we’d been separated for over a year by this time, Mr Frog and I rallied around and took Tadpole on a day out to Disneyland Paris, with the help of a kind reader of this blog who worked at Disney head office and offered us free entry passes.

The following year, there was no question of throwing a children’s party in the minuscule flat Tadpole and I had, by then, moved into, and as mamie and papy happened to be in town staying with Mr Frog, all that was required of me was to head over to his place with cake to drink a glass of bubbly with them while Tadpole ripped open her presents.

Tadpole turned five two days after my wedding day and, as space was still a huge limiting factor, I simply invited over a couple of friends and their children for cake and wedding party leftovers, which we shared in my tiny living room cum bedroom. Dazed from the exertions of the weekend, I was inordinately proud of myself for having managed a return taxi trip to Pantin to retrieve Tadpole’s oversized birthday parcel (a wooden dolls’ house) from the postal sorting centre so that her gift would be awaiting her in her bedroom when she got home from school.

This year, however, I’ve finally run out of excuses. I now have the space necessary in order to invite seven of Tadpole’s favourite classmates over for the traditional 3pm to 6pm party slot. Tadpole is ecstatic at the prospect – and has been since approximately September last year. Meanwhile I’m at my wits’ end, wondering how on earth I’m supposed to entertain eight children for three whole hours, indoors. After all, blowing out the candles and eating a slice of cake (or two) will take all of ten minutes, won’t it? French children, you see, don’t eat dinner until at least 7pm. So the British birthday tea is replaced by a mere late afternoon snack.

“What did you play last weekend when you were at Milan’s party?” I enquire of Tadpole, trying to glean as much useful information as possible while concealing my rising tide of panic.

“We pinned the tail on a pig,” Tadpole replies, after a long pause, seemingly unable to recall any of the other activities which took place. “With a bandeau over our eyes… And then we went outside and played in the cour.” I sigh. Letting the children run around in our small communal courtyard was an option I’d been entertaining until construction workers begin to use it as a storage facility a week ago, due to structural work to be carried out on a neighbouring building.

When I discussed the impending party with Mr Frog – it’s actually taking place on one of his weekends – he graciously consented to bring Tadpole over in time for the party and said he would probably stay “for a little while”. Meanwhile, The Boy, who – quite understandably – has little desire to share his Saturday afternoon with a throng of shrieking, sugar-fuelled children and, what is more, doesn’t wish to trample on Mr Frog’s toes, is planning to make himself scarce.

Which just leaves me and my rapidly expanding waistline, armed with any suggestions my kind readers are able share in the comments box below…

Update:

It went really well! Thank you for all the suggestions. I cut the party down to two and a half hours, banished boys altogether (!) – aside from The Boy, who was brilliant. We alternated boisterous games with quieter activities (making bracelets, decorating iced shortbread biscuits). Successes included ‘pin the nose on the Hello Kitty’, a race involving smarties and drinking straws, a variation on musical bumps where the last one to sit each time had to put on an item from the dressing up bag of tricks until everyone had three hats and dissolved in a mass of giggles… And a kind fellow parent turned up a little before the end and made balloon animals. All in all, a resounding success!

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