Friday, 1 January 2016

7QT: 2015 Loves, Posts and Poetry, or What To Do When You Fancy Blogging But Your Brain Is Fried?

Hello readers! I am in a chatty mood, but also well-aware that, well, sleep-deprivation and stuff does not make for deep content. So here is some fluff:

Best things about 2015? Hardly ground-breaking, but hey, brain-fry, so I'll do it anyway:


This man:

He is pretty wonderful all the time, but there is something about the postpartum period that makes him put on his super-A-game. The house is clean, Jude is loving all the Daddy attention, I'm well-rested (well, as well-rested as possible). This morning he brought me breakfast in bed (despite his deep-rooted hatred of crumbs in bed). I am officially the most spoilt and pampered wife in the universe. Way to go 2016!


This toddler:

Is hilarious. I have a half-finished post I was going to publish tracing all the antics he gets up to in any given twenty minutes, but I was interrupted by the arrival of his brother. I know the Frenchies all feel starved of Patapon hilarity, since we didn't make it across the Channel this Christmas, so I'll be sure to finish that. 
He is proving a great big brother (when he cares, which is not often, which is actually a pretty good thing).

Here he is, offering his WINNIE to try and calm Gabriel, who had some strong objections to having his nappy changed. Overwhelming brotherly love if I ever saw it.


This baby:

So, as it turns out, I can survive without an epidural, and people weren't having natural births AT me. Who'da thunk it, hey! 
He has also pretty reliably been giving me two four-hour stretches of solid sleep at night of his own accord, so it may transpire that people aren't "following the rythms of their babies" AT me either. Jude was just a stinker (a very cute, much loved stinker, but still). I'm still using the French method though. Because it works. And sleeping is pretty great.


5 Most read posts of 2015? Please Isabelle, don't dazzle us with anything original, it's Official Hangover Day. 


This one is still by far the most popular. Thank you Kendra for taking pity on a starting blogger, you are the best. I'll make you tour around Paris again any time you like. I may even suggest taking the bus instead of making everybody walk, this time round.

This one has been steadily sneaking its way to the top since I wrote it, day after day. I'm not sure whether it struck a chord, or whether it is very google-able, but I'll take it.

This one meant a lot to me, so I am pretty pleased people liked it!

Because the Brits can't resist a good cuppa. Fact.

Because Kendra is my Bloggy-Godmother.


3 Favourite posts of mine? Yup yup yup. Only the most creative post-ideas on this here blog.

Nothing quite like being able to settle historical scores. My defense of the French military history was tons of fun to write.

Another one I had so much fun writing. Plus, it really counts as PSA. Read, you'll thank me later!

And finally this one, because, sadly, it has only been gathering relevance since I wrote it.


A couple of random bits that don't really warrant a whole post but that I'd still like to share, to round up the most disjointed Quick Takes in Quick Takes history:

What We Did For Advent (That Was Actually So Simple Even The Arrival of A Baby - Other Than Baby Jesus - Didn't Prevent Us From Carrying On) How's that for a catchy title?

Advent has been great, we did the Jesse tree I made when I was pregnant with Jude, and he mostly loved it (well, he loved blowing the candles and hanging the ornament on the string, but, he's 18 months old, I'll take it!). 
We simply lit the Advent wreath after dinner, said a quick blessing and read the Bible story associated with the symbol, then hung it. Done. We also sung Veni Veni Emmanuel when we got to the O Antiphons.

We also set up the tree on 1st December, and gradually added to the decorations every Sunday (no photo of the tree, because Patapon delights in de-decorating it, so it really doesn't look good at all, and I'm sure you are perfectly able to picture a really wonky tree with three leftover ornaments too high up for the toddler to reach, without the help of a picture).

We did Saint Nicholas with chocolate coins in shoes and friends over for a feast. We by-passed all the other feast days. Under-achievers unite!


And finally: The Latest In Isabelle Rediscovering the Wheel All On Her Own: Poetry Bedtimes

I'm a big fan of the Read-Aloud Revival. I'm also the mother of an 18-month old and an infant. So, much as I would love to read Patapon installments of The Hobbit or even Winnie-The-Pooh as bedtime stories, he simply doesn't have the attention span yet. 

When he was still breastfeeding, we did read these complex narratives to him, more so that WE would get into the habit of doing it than for his benefit. But now, if we read him long narratives without pictures, he will actively protest, wrestle out of our arms and generally create havoc in what should be winding down time. And yet, I didn't really want to read him the same picture books we read to him all day long. So we were stuck, until Simon suggested reading him some poetry.
Which turned out to be a genius idea.

It has the repetitive pattern toddlers crave, Jude is learning to follow a short narrative without the help of pictures (you should hear my rendering of Jabberwocky, it has him in stitches every time) and he is delighting in the sound of words.

Win/win/win/win x 1,000,000,000

We have this fantastic anthology (Jude's favourite is On the Ning Nang Nong by Spike Milligan, mine is Triolet  by G. K. Chesterton and Simon's is The Owl and the Pussycat). We couldn't find an equivalent of good-quality, non-nursery rhyme anthology of French poetry, so I am now nerdily compiling one and having WAY more fun with it than I should admit to. Instead of finishing marking the papers I still need to mark for university, because Gabriel arrived too early.

Feel free to guffaw at the thought of marking degree-level papers whilst 2-week postpartum. It is pretty funny. Or tragic. You pick.

Get thee to Kelly for more.


  1. Well I, for one, would be very interested in whatever compilation of French children's poetry you come up with (for me; I can translate Petit Ours Brun on the fly, but I suspect poetry would be past my capabilities). It was fun to see your older posts again. I do enjoy your writing. Happy New Year!

    1. Happy New Year to you!
      Well if you're encouraging me, I'll definitely be sharing the finished anthology :-) (the papers can wait, they've been neglected for so long, they don't mind anymore) and Petit Ours Brun is where we all started (my mum just sent me Petit Ours Brun Potty Trains for Jude. What she could possibly mean by it is a complete mystery to me :-D)

    2. Consider yourself encouraged, by all means! I wonder if I could get my hands on a copy of Petit Ours Brun Potty Trains. Nothing else is working. :-D

  2. I love that simple, but beautiful, way of doing the Jesse Tree!!!! I only just found your blog today (thanks to 7QT), and I am so glad-I especially like the links you provided that are parenting-related. I'm pregnant with my first, and I love hearing a wide range of parenting, childbirth, and pregnancy advice. Thanks for the great post!

    1. Thank you! And congratulations on the baby! I hope you pop by here again :-)

    2. Thanks so much, Isabelle! I definitely shall! :)