Save. Spend. Splurge.

A Week of Money: Where Baby Bun throws my underwear into the river.


7:11 a.m. — Baby Bun wakes me at 7 a.m. I’m beat. He slept late and woke up early?!?!? WTF.

7:03 a.m. — I sleepily get up and go to eat breakfast, remembering to wear pants first in case anyone else is awake.

7:06 a.m. — I have a slice of sweet bread and Baby Bun, while eating his banana, refuses to eat any more of it, after having eyed my sweet bread.

7:28 a.m. — I make him finish his banana first (a first !!) and then he gets a few bites of my sweet bread.

7:58 a.m. — He asks for more. I refuse. We can’t fill up on sugar before lunch. Little piglet.

8:02 a.m. — Baby Bun gets a wave of homesickness and begs to go home. I tell him we are on vacation and he gets Mommy and Daddy all day. When we go back home, it means Mommy goes back to work and Daddy too, then Baby Bun must go to school. He contemplates this and chooses vacation time to avoid school and separation from his parents.

8:28 a.m. — I take him on the tour of the garden and we wash our clothes again in the stream because it is so much fun for him.

8:32 a.m. — He throws my underwear far away and horrified, I have to sheepishly ask a nearby farmer for a long cudgel (a thick stick) to retrieve my underwear (otherwise I’d need to strip down and get it). Baby Bun is gleefully giggling throughout this entire drama. The farmer chuckles and rubs Baby Bun’s head, commenting on the nature of little boys.

8:46 a.m. — Mamie comes out after tending to her roses and asks if he wants to go pluck an orange to eat. Baby Bun shyly replies yes in her language (another first) and they go hand-in-hand to pick an orange. He LOVES the experience and wants more. I peel the orange for him and he eats all of it (2 oranges in total).

9:02 a.m. — He drags me back to the stream, wanting to wash more clothes. I tell him no and we go for a walk around the property into the woods for him to explore instead.

9:24 a.m. — He climbs onto an old house structure with stairs covered in moss leading up to the sky. It is only big enough for a single person so I let him climb on his own.

9:37 a.m. — We go and watch the ants march back and forth into a cave where all of the beer is stored and kept cool, and ancient fridge if you will. It is COLD in there, as cold as an actual fridge. Baby Bun is fascinated and wants to go in deeper but I won’t let him as there is running water and I’m unsure of how deep it is and its crevices for a tiny toddler foot to get caught and be broken.

10:01 a.m. — Baby Bun settles for using an old cup kept nearby and dipping it into the stream to drink fresh water. He keeps playing with the cup and water until I tell him it is enough. The sun is out and it is time to come in for lunch.

10:08 a.m. — We go inside and it is only 10 a.m. I realize. My partner stumbles out, somewhat rested. Baby Bun is happily reading through his sticker book of “First Words”. I kept this book in store for when we would be on vacation.

10:11 a.m. — Baby Bun still runs away from Mamie and others because he is unsure of them but this is normal for first-time children. Next year will be better. We have to visit more and more often.

10:45 a.m. — I find out my sister-in-law is pregnant with her second, her first is the same age as Baby Bun. Except with her, and her French genes, she was in a bikini 5 weeks after giving birth while I was still sporting the beached whale “still-very-pregnant” look. “Good luck to her”, I say, I hope the second is as easy-going as the first because you NEVER KNOW with children, as it’s a crapshoot. I’m not sure I can deal with two Baby Buns but I can see how in the long-term they would take care of each other and be future playmates. I’m just not sure if I can suck up another 5 years of stress and hell. Mamie informs me gleefully that Baby Bun is EXACTLY THE SAME AS MY PARTNER. Same naughtiness, same energy, same curiousity and same wilfulness. I blame it all on my partner with a glare.

10:59 a.m. — Baby Bun gets confused between “Mommy” and “Mamie” and each time she says “Mamie“, he sobs and clings to me saying: “No no no, WANT THIS MOMMY!!!!!“, and patting my chest repeatedly while hysterically sobbing.

11:05 a.m. — Baby Bun runs to the fridge and tries to yank it open to get to the yogurt. I make him eat some pasta before but he is resisting HARD on vacation. My formerly great eater is now a picky MONSTER. He only wants Yoghurt and Fruit. Anything sweet. Or cakes. He takes a total of 5 bites of pasta in 1 hour, sheds a river of tears, cried at least 7 times and in the end got his way with his father giving in and giving yoghurt with peaches. I guess anything goes on vacation.

12:07 p.m. — I eat pasta, some homemade blood sausage and local bread. Baby Bun tries to wheedle cake out of Mamie but it doesn’t work. She’s tougher than the Tantes.

12:17 p.m. — Tired from the Foreign Pasta Battle, I go to lie down to rest and read my saved up Feedly stories. Upstairs I can hear Baby Hun squealing with laughter avoiding his nap. At least he is warming up to his Mamie and spending way more time with his father which is what I want the most.

1:15 p.m. — Baby Bun bounces down and up the stairs with his father and keeps wanting to go out, asking for socks and shoes. My partner says he has to nap first and then he can “promener” (walk). Baby Bun protests the injustice of being asked to nap beforehand.

1:25 p.m. — To get Baby Bun down for his nap I have to show him a photo of the kids in his preschool napping (I took a screenshot for this purpose), after he sees all the other kids napping, he goes down easily.

1:55 p.m. — I’m reminded of an article that asked: “Are you sleep deprived? Here is how to tell!” … One of the #1 signs is if you lie down and close your eyes, you’re able to sleep instantly. I nod and think that it has been like this for 3 years and counting!!! Whenever I lie down, I immediately doze off which of course is what happens as Baby Bun naps and I’m beside him, lying down for a rest.

2:27 p.m. — I remember a pack of chocolates I got on the plane last week and I take one out to eat. Chocolate that doesn’t melt in the heat?!? What kind of witchery is this?!? Must be stuffed full of terrible preservatives (a word I am careful not to say in French with an accent, as it means condoms, not “preservatives“, which is “des conservateurs“!) I scarf it down and save the third bag for next week.

3:17 p.m. — While Baby Bun naps, I write a few blog posts to schedule when I’m back.

3:37 p.m. — I then decide to snap pictures of my toddler sleeping. He looks so peaceful and sweet. He has dark under eye circles which I know are from the stress of the change in routine and being away from what is familiar.

3:40 p.m. — I can hear my partner upstairs chatting and catching up with Mamie. I take a break for myself and leave them be.

4:01 p.m. — Baby Bun wakes and we go upstairs for some water and Baby Bun gets some yoghurt out of his father.

4:41 p.m. — I wrangle Baby Bun into a cold bath (the hot water ran out!!) after promising he could use a cup to scoop water and he manages to soak the entire bathroom in an inch of water stealthily before I realize it. CRAP. I quickly rinse him off amidst his protests and hustle him out.

5:31 p.m. — I clean the entire bathroom with three towels and throw them outside to do the laundry later with everything else as an activity with Baby Bun in the evening at the stream.

5:51 p.m. — Baby Bun is clean and dry now, happily chatting upstairs with his father and now shyly responding to Mamie the entire time I cleaned.

6:21 p.m. — I finally remember to rub some cream on my neck, I can feel eczema starting up and on Baby Bun’s inner thigh where it is almost gone. I got the cream called Benpathene from Tante A that has NO cortisol in it and it seems to really work.

7:00 p.m. — My partner hoists out an old laptop to show Mamie the videos of Baby Bun playing and doing fun things.

7:30 p.m. — We can’t get the videos to play nicely, it is too old, so we scrap that idea.

7:50 p.m. — I take Baby Bun into the bedroom and ask him to help Mommy kill a fly, saying “Fly fly where are you? Mommy wants to kill you!” .. And I manage to get it before it bites me again to give an allergic reaction which will surely turn into eczema.

8:11 p.m. —I find a bag of toys from a similar-aged cousin who isn’t visiting at the same time (tant pis) and he has a bag with a little race track and 4 race cars. I pull it out and Baby Bun is entranced for the night. I guess most little boys like the same toys.

8:21 p.m. — We eat some vegan soup my partner made so that we eat healthily and not gorge ourselves on meat and seafood all vacation. Baby Bun takes his meal with little protest.

8:41 p.m. — I then take Baby Bun to the stream to wash everything as another activity. He loves doing laundry and the light is still bright here.

9:01 p.m. — I take a much needed shower while Baby Bun plays with a car inside the bathroom. He pretends to read all the creams and tubes of things in the bathroom while I do so.

9:41 p.m. — My partner changes Baby Bun for bed, I read one of the books in English we brought for his little cousin and he goes to say “goodnight” to everyone with kisses. It ends up taking forever.

10:30 p.m. —Bedtime. I’m exhausted.

Saved: $0

Spent: $0


??:?? — Potty .. I force my partner to take him, I later learn it was around midnight.

??:?? — Water !! My partner gets it for him.

8:18 a.m. — Baby Bun bounces on top of me at 8 a.m. It does not feel like I’ve slept because he woke up for potty & more water last night.

8:29 a.m. — Baby Bun wants to do laundry again. I won’t let him, we don’t have enough to wash.

8:58 a.m. — I nap on and off while we wait for my partner to wake up and Baby Bun plays with cars on the bed.

9:18 a.m. — My partner wakes and we all dress to go out to the store. €2.90

9:42 a.m. — I spread sunscreen on my face instead of a hat but hate the feeling, it burns. I don’t think chemical sunscreens agree with me any longer.

9:59 a.m. — Baby Bun falls asleep on my chest on the way there and I have to carry this 33lb child and sit in a chair to wait for him to wake. He didn’t sleep well the night before so he needs a catnap which lasts about 1/2 an hour.

10:19 a.m. — I sit in the chair, weighed down by my sleeping toddler and everyone walks by and smiles at this deceivingly angelic looking child, sleeping on my chest.

10:39 a.m. — Baby Bun wakes just in time to go to the grocery store a block away. We pick up fruits and vegetables for grilling tonight, wine, and some more cakes that Baby Bun likes. €22.55

10:59 a.m. — We sit to eat one each, Mamie refuses one. Baby Bun takes 1/4 of my partners cake and curiously refuses to eat any more and wants a NEW cake all to himself. We refuse and he throws a fit. Guess he is still tired.

11:07 a.m. — I realize the bugs really got me last night (I have sweet desirable blood) and I’m covered in bites. I plan on using my Picaridin (more “natural” than DEET) bug spray for tonight if we sit outside.

11:48 a.m. —  We head back out to the bus and when we sit down, it pulls up 2 minutes later. What luck! €2.90

12:28 p.m. — On the way home I spy a girl with a very unusual and cool outfit where the cuffs of the jeans were lightly bleached with dots to look like stars and constellations, paired with pretty rose gold Birkenstocks. I plan on trying this #DIY at home

12:56 p.m. — We get home with Baby Bun half asleep on my chest.

1:12 p.m. — He wakes up for the walk home and is half cranky. I feed him soup with pieces of bread but only while he watches himself as a baby playing on a laptop; my partner brought videos he made of each month of Baby Bun’s life and his favourite is 23 months.

1:44 p.m. — Baby Bun polishes off a bowl of vegan soup, 2 thick slices of bread and a full orange.

1:48 p.m. — I don’t feel like eating anything, I had that cake and two glasses of chocolate milk so I’m good.

2:02 p.m. — I try to get Baby Bun to nap and it is an hour-long fight before he sleeps on a pillow on my legs. Traveling and sleeping in a new place is hard on little ones and he isn’t used to this, it is all new to him and the first time he has ever been out of the country let alone away from his own bed.

3:00 p.m. — I snap a few shots of Baby Bun sleeping. He may be a monster but he is my monster.

3:08 p.m. — I fall asleep beside him, too tired to do anything. My head is pounding from the caffeine withdrawal (Mamie doesn’t stock tea and milk and I don’t want to put her out to do it for me). I take two extra strength Aspirin, I’m glad I brought a stash as the pharmacies here consider that ALL medication requires a proper doctor’s prescription even aspirin.

3:35 p.m. — Baby Bun wakes up asking to go home again. He doesn’t want to stay and misses his own place. I tell him we will soon go home and Mommy & Daddy will go back to work and Baby Bun will go to school. He nods. He still doesn’t understand. I pat his bum back to sleep.

4:45 p.m. — Mamie tells me she is very happy she got to meet her grandson and very happy to see me again (I have been with my partner for over 10 years but we didn’t come back to Europe for the last 4 years). She thought she wouldn’t be able to as you just “never know what can happen“. I see what she means, last year the father of my sister-in-law’s husband died before he got to meet Baby Bun. He had been waiting to see the child ever since he knew I was pregnant the last time we went to Europe when I was at 5 weeks. I tell her I plan on coming back every year for at least 3 weeks for Baby Bun to be in touch with the other side of his heritage.

4:55 p.m. — Baby Bun wakes up 3 hours later and demands milk. After he drinks it, he feels a bit better but is rather grumpy until I show him videos of himself.

5:35 p.m. — My partner goes and starts the grill. We are having octopus tonight, which I love, and grilled zucchini which I must say I love even more. Zucchini on the grill is the only way I eat it because all the water disappears, it becomes meaty and thick rather than mushy and is very very good.

6:47 p.m. — He presents huge plates of octopus, declared by everyone as delicious, and as he does it, he says jokingly: “€60 please“, making light of the fact that in restaurants you get only half (at best) of what he served us and have to pay twice what we did to buy it in the grocery store to grill it ourselves.

6:49 p.m. — Baby Bun refuses to even try the octopus, which means all the more for us, so he munches on sausages and bread. At least he ate his vegan soup for lunch with bread already so he is fine for the day.

7:49 p.m. — We end the night with an éclair each and Baby Bun charms everyone by asking his father and then me, for more “é-cahhs??

8:29 p.m. — I go and take another shower (I feel so grimy all the time when I sweat) and Baby Bun gets prepped for bed. I brought 8 of the Size 5 Naty Pull-ups and he doesn’t even use them at night, they’re just in case. I’ve been putting on the dry Naty 5’s on him the next night and then just tossing it if I see a hint of pee. We thought we may need to buy more “night underwear” but he doesn’t seem to need it at all, which is a relief considering the horror stories I’ve heard about kids not getting the concept of potty training until very late. Thus far on this trip (knock on wood), Baby Bun has only had ONE accident at his Tante A’s where he got super excited with stickers and didn’t want to go pee. This is huge!!

8:57 p.m. — Baby Bun watches a little of the old football games (FIFA) with everyone before I hustle him off to bed with the promise of a book.

9:17 p.m. — We finish reading. He runs back upstairs. He doesn’t sleep even with the lights out until Daddy comes in at midnight. I’m so tired! I just want to one day, feel like a rested human being again. He is sure to wake up early tomorrow and I’ll not only be the one sleeping late (midnight), I will be the one getting up early too (???).

11:58 p.m. — EVERYONE is in bed now.

Saved: $0

Spent: $45.36 (€28.35) — For food mostly


8:00 a.m. — Baby Bun softly asks me: “Mommy pease get up!“, and I knew it was 8 a.m. because the church bells rang 8 times and I’ll be damned if I got even 7 hours in. I normally needed 9-10 hours (before child that is) and I’m definitely not getting it even with trying to sleep earlier. At least I can nap here. I’ll have to nap when I can.

8:08 a.m. — Whoa. I am glad I packed my Thinx underwear *ahem*. No wonder I kept craving sweet stuff. I consider buying a stock of the Boyshort next time because the Cheeky isn’t really Visible Panty Line proof, as it has an edging in lace which shows up under slightly tighter pants. Plus with the Boyshort, I can wear it around the house as mini shorts and not feel undressed.

8:11 a.m. — I take Baby Bun upstairs and feed him his banana. He wanted my sweet bread this morning (this kid is getting a lot of sugar on this trip), but I told him a banana first and then he can have yoghurt. He eats his banana readily.

8:28 a.m. — I sneak downstairs to the second fridge where we keep all the yoghurt so that Baby Bun doesn’t know where it is and doesn’t hassle us 24/7 for “yahh-yooot???” (Translation: yaourt, which is French for yoghurt). We have to hide it in a vegetable crisper in a box and not let him see when we go to get one for him. I pretend that Mommy has to go to the potty.

8:29 a.m. — I bring it and put it in the formal dining room while he is sitting in the kitchen on a chair, munching away on his banana.

8:31 a.m. — I look at Baby Bun and realize that his favourite room in the house is the kitchen. He loves being in there because of the food. While I am happy, I secretly hope he will not become a chef, that is not an easy life for most folks; sure you do what you love but the work and industry is very demanding and physical with stories of chefs burning out, turning into alcoholics or drug addicts or just simply never having a normal life. Very few become famous or make any decent money.

8:42 a.m. — He finishes his banana and I take him to the other room where the yoghurt had magically appeared. He eats it while I eat my sweet bread (one slice for breakfast). Our dinners are so huge that I don’t need a breakfast, or at least I don’t feel the need to eat one.

9:02 a.m. — I take him back downstairs and start the futile endeavour of keeping him quiet while his father sleeps. He plays with cars, I sing to him, we read, and I try my best before giving up and he wants to watch videos of himself as a baby. I give in and fall asleep on the couch while he watches himself play with toys a year ago in videos. It is amazing how shorts on him then we’re almost pants and he is wearing the same shorts today which are so high on him now with his long little toddler legs.

9:22 a.m. — Baby Bun waves bye bye eagerly to himself on the screen (and gets mad if I don’t do it too) as the video switches to him playing at the gym instead of inside the home.

9:32 a.m. — My partner wakes up and we quickly get ready as not to miss the bus and hustle out the door after my partner scarfs down a quick breakfast of oranges and kiwi, and feeds some of it to our little mini scavenger (Baby Bun). €2.90

9:52 a.m. — On the bus, at one of the stops, a farmer gives apricots to the bus driver which he picked from his tree that morning. How nice!!

10:02 a.m. — Everywhere, Baby Bun squeals “STOP!” because the stop signs all day “Stop”. The stop sign is universal but only in Québec will you see it translated to “Arrêt” in French because it is so militant on making everything FRENCH. He also has started using his hands, and exerting his displeasure by saying: “STOP!!!” and pushing his palm against us in a stopping motion, which is something I taught him to do if he doesn’t want us to continue doing something. I always stop and if I can’t, I explain why.

10:28 a.m. — We stop at an eyeglass shop and they refuse to sell us an eyeglass case because we are not clients. This is the kind of petty, roundabout frustrations you have to deal with living here, is the fact that you’d be a client if you bought something but as you are not, you can’t buy anything as simple as a box. They could make an easy €20 but don’t want to. Ridiculous.

10:38 a.m. — I like the pair of Ray Ban Tech Wayfarer sunglasses for €99 which means it is $160. The only kicker is that it isn’t polarized. Why?!? I’d pay more for it and the style looks really nice and light.

11:08 a.m. — We stop by the bank to open an account for Mamie. Baby Bun plays with my sunglasses putting them on and taking them off.

11:18 a.m. — I didn’t bring any Euros by design to travel because I specifically DO NOT want to spend any money here above and beyond basics for food and things. I need to cut back and keep living simply.

11:40 a.m. — We stop by the butcher’s to see if they happen to have cow’s tongue. We are in luck! We got there just as they butchered the 1 cow and we got both its tongue AND its tail for delicious meals. We pick up a few of their local sausages too. Mmmmmm. €17.50

11:58 a.m. — We head to the market to buy some more fresh vegetables for the dinner tonight. We pick up 7 large locally grown heirloom tomatoes (they just call them tomatoes here), a large bag of strawberries, and a few peaches. Baby Bun jumps around asking for cherries and strawberries so much that the grocer is amused. She washes and gives him 2 strawberries before I whisper to him that it is enough. €11.50

12:00 p.m. — My partner remarks how lucky we were to score both the tongue and tail. Usually they are the first to go, everyone likes them here and as it is a locally grown cow, they don’t butcher more than one at a time until all the meat is sold, then they butcher more. It isn’t a factory here.

12:05 p.m. — Taking the bus home, Baby Bun falls asleep on my chest again. €2.90

12:45 p.m. — This child! I carry this heavy 30lb sack of potatoes of a child all the way home hoping he will keep napping and he wakes up the minute I put him down. Oh well. No nap at home for him today and he will sleep earlier. I’ve tried sleep scheduling and all that nonsense with this child and nothing works. What works is sticking to the daycare schedule when you can (nap at 1 p.m.) and not sweating it when he mixes it up and naps longer or shorter. Kids eventually even out their own sleep it seems.

1:12 p.m. — We have lunch where Baby Bun eats his cold vegan soup again with bread. Mamie remarks that her father used to do the same in the past. Baby Bun will also ONLY deign to be fed soup and bread if he gets to watch himself in a video on the laptop playing when he was 2 years old. I don’t even care. Whatever works to get food into this child considering that on vacation he is SURROUNDED by all the other things he loves like yoghurt, cakes, fruit by the dozen, meats of all kinds, sausages…. I’ll take whatever works.

1:34 p.m. — Baby Bun surprises us when we bring out cake or yoghurt, by asking for yoghurt instead and refusing the cake. Odd but .. good to know. Yoghurt comes above cake in his hierarchy. He then goes down for a nap.

1:48 p.m. — I’m a little put out by the Thinx Cheeky Beige panties (meant for very low flow). They work well enough but I think that even as a pantry liner substitute, due to having given birth, my Diva Cup leaks more often than before, and they are soaked through and stained at the back on the beige part; I suppose in all Black they wouldn’t have showed anything. I keep changing the underwear every 3 hours or so even with emptying the Diva Cup, but I will say that my pants are stain free. Maybe it just looks stained?

2:22 p.m. — A very itchy red rash starts on my neck and I don’t even know where it is from. I quickly pop an allergy pill (again, happy I brought them as it would need a prescription as there isn’t any over the counter medication here).

2:48 p.m. — Baby Bun is awake and starts playing with the toy cars from his cousin but is more interested in deleting things off my iPod.

2:55 p.m. — Mamie starts to make a batter for frying something. The odd thing is that my partner is so good at cooking because she is so bad at it!! All the kids hated her meals growing up (no flavour, all water, boiled to death) and turned into excellent chefs as a result.

3:15 p.m. — I fall asleep so often in between playing with Baby Bun that it sort of makes up for my missing 2 hours of sleep. He runs cars around the bed and reads his new books. I only get woken when he tugs on my hand and tries to drag me out of bed with his chubby paws.

4:45 p.m. — I get a 10 minute respite when his father pops in and waves a yoghurt tub at Baby Bun. Baby Bun sees it, drops me like a hot potato and runs after new favourite parent (his father holding yoghurt) squealing: “Yahh-yourrrt?!?!?

5:05 p.m. — When I awake, I take Baby Bun down to the stream to wash clothes again. It is his #1 favourite thing to do here.

5:35 p.m. — He tosses all of my clothing into the stream, giggling wildly. Then he helps me hang it on the clothesline afterwards, matching all the pegs together.

6:07 p.m. — We go and sit down to wait for dinner of cow’s tongue, homemade French fries and some deep fried parsnips covered in batter from the afternoon.

6:27 p.m. — While waiting, Baby Bun runs a car up and down the table and giggles wildly as it falls off or moves on its own.

6:32 p.m. — Dinner finally ready, he only takes a few bites of cow’s tongue and bread which he likes, and then beelines for the French fries, his first time ever tasting them (we have never given them to him before).

6:42 p.m. — He attacks all of the French fries, cleaning his father’s plate and mine. Then he smacks his lips and asks for yoghurt. Again!!!!!

6:47 p.m. — The cow’s tongue is just boiled but it is delicious with the fries and very flavourful.

7:29 p.m. — He finishes eating and wants to watch videos of himself again. I think he is homesick.

7:49 p.m. — I take advantage of the time and go wash all the dishes I can before Baby Bun realizes I’m gone. I’ve had a bit of a reprieve on cleaning duties because they know he is very clingy and I can’t even clean things because of him.

8:29 p.m. — Baby Bun finally discovers me in the kitchen and we get dressed to go for a little walk around the town where his grandparents grew up.

8:39 p.m. — We see the stream source, feel the cool air of the thick old stones (feels like A/C!) and look at the extremely handsome churches.

9:49 p.m. — A dog of a guy comes too close to Baby Bun and my partner shoos it away, getting a reprimand from the owner. My partner replies that if it is his dog, he should have it on a leash because it shouldn’t be coming near us and scaring us. We have no idea about the nature of some of these dogs and you can’t trust all of them. They’re all guard dogs here, not pets. It isn’t in their culture to keep dogs that are nice, but the opposite, to scare away strangers and bark to protect the property. I don’t want ANY dog biting Baby Bun, and it’s best if they just stay away. There are too many horror stories in this town.

10:39 p.m. — We head back to the home and my partner has a hankering for some sausages so he starts the charcoal grill again. Baby Bun eagerly watches the fire burn and the sparks fly from a safe distance (the wind is blowing the other way thankfully).

11:00 p.m. — We move the laptop outside and Baby Bun watches himself again while he waits for a nighttime snack.

11:03 p.m. — He hassles my partner for sausages but they’re not ready yet so he waits.

11:23 p.m. — I’m getting tired so I decide after Baby Bun eats, I’m going to bed. I’m beat.

11:25 p.m. — A cousin screams and wakes me up from my stupor as a wasp comes near her and gets caught in her hair. She manages to pick it out and fling it away from her. Baby Bun hates the bugs too.

11:28 p.m. — Baby Bun sees the sausages are ready, squirms impatiently out of my lap where he was relaxing and runs to his father (when he has food, Daddy is the preferred parent, by the way), squealing: “Sausages!!! Sausages!!!” and he climbs onto his father’s lap and tries to take the knife, eager to take a slice for himself. We firmly take it away from him and plunk him into his chair.

11:58 p.m. — I yawn, and Baby Bun gets his night underwear and pyjamas on. I hope it won’t be a fight tonight for bed and he won’t wake up for water. Or pee. We fall asleep.

??:?? p.m. — My partner comes to bed and wakes me up. I’m sure it must be well past midnight.

Saved: $0

Spent: $55.68 ( €34.80 ) — All Food


8:02 — Baby Bun wakes me up at 8 a.m. and I’m tired. How does this kid function with so little sleep and I need so much? His naps must be the key. I vow to nap when he does today to see if it helps alleviate my headache and sleepiness.

8:18 a.m. — I realize I haven’t had tea since I came. I must be detoxing from the caffeine I’m used to as well, at least 3 cups a day of tea (1 matcha and 2 black). That is partly the cause of my dizzy sleepy cotton-head feeling.

8:29 a.m. — Baby Bun refuses a banana but happily eats his yoghurt. He may be getting spoiled, but it will be over once we go back.

8:38 a.m. — I eat my sweet bread (we have had to hide it from Baby Bun) while he has his yoghurt.

10:18 a.m. — I half doze and play with Baby Bun, why am I so damn sleepy!!?!

10:52 a.m. — Baby Bun throws a fit about something and I’m too tired to listen or give in to him. I just let him cry it out. I’ll make him nap immediately after lunch.

11:08 a.m. — My partner wakes and starts on the oxtail stew for tonight. It is one of our favourite cuts of beef and a real treat.

11:28 a.m. — Mamie comes back from her morning shopping (she runs on no sleep too, sleeping later than my partner and waking up before Baby Bun!!)

11:58 a.m. — I paw through the photo albums and realize that we haven’t been sending enough paper pictures. She is old school and likes paper photos so I make a note to create an album of Baby Bun from when he was a newborn to now and send photos every 3 months.

12:06 p.m. — I notice an ant infestation and dutifully (as directed), spray Raid all over. I hope Baby Bun won’t play in these areas but just in case, I make him wash his hands constantly.

12:12 p.m. — Mamie tries to play with Baby Bun but he is too tired and cranky, I scold him gently and he sort of mumbles a hello to his Mamie. It will take time I suppose. Baby Bun is also very shy, sensitive and clingy to me (although this trip is proving to boost my partner as an equally sought after parent!!). Apparently my partner was EXACTLY as clingy as Baby Bun was, maybe worse, always at his mother’s side. Sigh.

12:23 p.m. — I look at the ONE old photo of my partner as a baby and sort of see some resemblance to Baby Bun but not really an exact replica, Baby Bun is really the mix of us.

12:33 p.m. — I go to hide. I can’t take this clingy child any more, I need a break. Baby Bun looks up amidst his sobbing and cries even harder looking for me. He can’t see me, only Mamie and his father and cries bloody murder. I don’t care, lying down in my hiding place (bedroom), I need a break. He has been killing me all morning with his constant whining and I am TIRED.

12:35 p.m. — My partner finally brings him to me and it takes him 30 seconds to see me blended into the bed. The relief on his face is palpable and he behaves a little better the rest of the morning. It is like I’m both his ultimate magnet and Kryptonite at the same time. All kids are like this apparently, they act terribly around their mother whom they trust and love the most enough to feel comfortable enough to be whiny (yay!), and to a lesser extent their fathers.

12:48 p.m. — I feed Baby Bun vegan soup with pieces of bread and he has another yoghurt from my partner. This time he wants Daddy to feed him but my partner can’t, he has to prep the food for the dinner, it will take 4 hours.

12:58 p.m. —I feed Baby Bun yoghurt and wrangle him down for a nap. He goes down almost immediately which means he was exhausted. He hasn’t properly napped in the past 2 days, having fallen asleep on my chest on the bus both times, and I suspect he is sleep deprived as well, looking at his dark little under eye circles. I finally get my break, and I nap too.

3:45 p.m. — I wake up an hour or two later and feel much more refreshed but my head still aches and I’m still sleepy. Wonder what that’s all about.

3:48 p.m. —Baby Bun wakes and hassles me for food so he eats last night’s leftover battered parsnips (he was hoping they would be French fries) and plays with cars and a whole stash of tissue paper boxes he discovered; making towers and knocking them down and making “trains” out of them.

4:15 p.m. — He spies the mini accordion his Mamie gave him on the bed and insists that he plays the piano.

4:25 p.m. — When he plays with the curtains I tell him to stop or else the mosquitos come in to bite Mommy (they don’t have screens here, it’s so old-school that the windows are open and lace curtains are the screen), and now he pulls up my pant leg each time to show me that mosquitos come in to bite me.

4:35 p.m. — We go upstairs and my partner is making lemonade with lemons from the tree and local honey.

4:45 p.m. — Baby Bun hassles his father for more yoghurt.

4:47 p.m. — We get ready to go out to the market again because Baby Bun has devoured almost all the yoghurt. My partner leaves the oxtail cooking low and slow and we head out, almost missing the bus. €2.90

5:07 p.m. — On the bus, we switch twice (you have to pay twice each time you take a new bus) and got lucky both times except we missed our stop on the second bus and have to walk back about 5 blocks, which is no small feat with a reluctant toddler! €2.90

5:17 p.m. — At the market, Baby Bun behaves terribly until I sit him in a little toy car and he pretends to zoom around. I find a puzzle with 54 pieces at €1 apiece and buy Bambi and The Jungle Book to keep him busy. We can leave the puzzles here for when we come back next year. €2

5:27 p.m. — My partner buys a huge stock of yoghurt in glass bottles, some Crème brûlée, peaches, cherries, and I pick up a mango because I’m craving one again. He looks for the rice to make a rice pudding with the local milk but can’t find it. We will go to the other market tomorrow.€25.65

5:37 p.m. — We head on the bus missing the first one but catching the second one almost immediately to head home. It is a workday, so the buses are thankfully every 5-15 minutes instead of every hour!! €5.80

5:42 p.m. — Women can’t get up fast enough to give me a seat for Baby Bun and I thank them gratefully. They ask me his name, and love his little red cheeks.

5:47 p.m. — Baby Bun falls asleep on me AGAIN! on the way home (he already had a 2 hour nap), and I have to carry him all the way in. He of course, wakes up the minute I get in the door after having lugged him the whole way.

6:29 p.m. — We get inside and I do the laundry with him again at the stream. It is hard to handwash everything, I don’t know how people did it in the past!!

7:29 p.m. — We settle in for a meal of oxtail with beans and bread, and Baby Bun of course refuses to eat any vegetable when meat is present. I sneak it in underneath his sausage slices and he eats it readily. The lemonade is amazing!!! Local lemons from the tree and local honey?!? Major hit. It is unlike any lemonade I’ve ever had.

7:49 p.m. — He plays with his new puzzle at the table and completes 25% of it alone and the rest with major hints and help. He finishes it and whines for the second one, Bambi which we do together.

8:09 p.m. —I leave him with Bambi and I go wash all the dishes while he is occupied. Mamie comes to help me. Together we finish the dishes and I go downstairs to take a quick refreshing shower to wash the sweat off me. I realize I got ANOTHER bug bite. They just love me here.

8:19 p.m. —Baby Bun eats a dessert of fresh peaches from the garden and then gets ready for bed. He wants to do the Bambi puzzle again but I won’t let him. It is getting late.

10:30 p.m. — He is finally down for bedtime after saying Goodnight to everyone.

10:35 p.m. — I ask by partner for a bottle through the window (the terrace is right outside of the bedroom). He jokes asking if I want wine or water. I joke back that I need wine for Mommy and water for the Baby. We all laugh. He hands me the water.

10:55 p.m. — He just won’t sleep. My partner takes him after he sobs a storm and I’m screaming because I am EXHAUSTED and haven’t slept properly.

??:?? p.m. — He comes to bed and sleeps immediately after my partner brings him down.

Saved: $0

Spent: $62.80 (39.25) — All food, and two puzzles.


9:08 a.m. — Baby Bun is up at 9 a.m. …. I feel like I slept a bit better but not by much.

9:19 a.m. — I feed Baby Bun a banana which he spits out the last 2 bites of (it does taste a bit strange here across the pond), and he gets a tub of yoghurt.

9:48 a.m. — I forget to eat my sweet bread and take it into the kitchen to start on it. I get halfway through before Baby Bun discovers me munching in secret and starts “Ehhhhh????“‘-ing and pointing to my bread. I feed him small crumbs but eat the rest. It is too much sugar for him.

10:11 a.m. — My throat feels so dry and my head fuzzy like I am dehydrated, and the bugs got me again last night on my leg and on my arm.

10:21 a.m. — I spend the morning spraying corners of the doors because it looks like the ants are infiltrating that way.

10:48 a.m. — We go get the dried laundry.

11:22 a.m. — I lie down as Baby Bun tries to complete a 54-piece Bambi puzzle. I am trying not to help him so that he learns on his own. What’s the point of a quiet-time puzzle if I have to keep handing him pieces to fit in there one by one?

11:48 a.m. — Baby Bun wakes me up from my dozing, “Bzzzzzzz“-ing like a bee. Distracted, he plays with a nearby car running it around me and the bed instead of doing the puzzle. Whatever. As long as he is quiet.

11:58 a.m. — Today we are going to the fishmongers as my partner wants to grill some fresh fish so I pack my mini iPad and iPod Touch (which I suspect will need to be replaced as it seems to be dying), because we will have free wifi where we are. Finally! €2.90

12:16 p.m. — We arrive at the fishmongers and my partner directs me to go to a shopping centre nearby with free wifi. I log in and keep Baby Bun busy with stickers, my sunglasses and a book.

12:18 p.m. —  I approve all pending comments but am unable to reply to them on the WordPress app for some reason. I leave it alone and go through my 157 emails.

12:19 p.m. — I try to reply to my mother to try and get me a pair of metallic copper Arizona Birkenstocks as they don’t seem to be available where I am.

1:04 p.m. — My partner comes and we go to wait for the bus.

1:18 p.m. — Baby Bun needs to pee so his father shows him how to water a tree. They get pee everywhere because Baby Bun is so small he doesn’t know how it’s done, so I hand them a wet wipe. I have no idea how boys do it and not get soaking wet all the time. This is not something I can teach him.

1:20 p.m. — Baby Bun tries to fall asleep on me at the stop but Mamie won’t let him, knowing it is hard on me to carry him and then have him grumpy and whiny as he will not sleep enough.

1:21 p.m. — The bus finally comes. €2.90

1:45 p.m. — On the bus I try to keep him awake by giving him my sunglasses, pointing things out, making him read the wet wipe box. He ALMOST sleeps 2 stops before we get home but we make it.

2:00 p.m. — Inside, I feed him cold vegan soup and bread, he eats 1/4 of my ham sandwich and has a yoghurt, a pear and half a peach.

2:25 p.m. — He goes down for his nap rather easily. I suspect he will sleep long for his nap, and I take a break and go through my stored emails, my Feedly RSS reader and type out replies to email the next time there is wifi. My iPod Touch is worrying me, I think it might be on its last legs, I had better backup when I get home and buy a new one to replace it. This thing holds my life.

6:15 p.m. — I end up falling asleep and wake up at 6. My partner takes Baby Bun upstairs and showed him videos of himself as a baby.

6:37 p.m. — I do the laundry in the machine this time because the stream is driving me nuts. I do a huge load of it and Baby Bun helps me hang it.

6:47 p.m. — I try to entertain Baby Bun away from the house because my partner is trying to clean up and find all the spots where the ants are entering the home. He is going to fix up a little while he is here.

7:31 p.m. — My partner finishes late so we end up eating much later. He grills grouper fish with some fresh tomatoes and onions. Mamie makes a fish fritter cake with parsley from her garden. I think cilantro would be a good addition to the fish cakes but my partner hates the taste.

8:51 p.m. — An uncle calls to chat and it lasts long into the night past 11 p.m. Baby Bun is getting very cranky so I get him ready for bed.

??:?? p.m. — My partner goes out to drink at the bar without me knowing and it is only when I wake up feeling like something is wrong (he isn’t in the room sleeping) that I realize it.

??:?? p.m. — I’m furious and unable to sleep now. He never does this normally but it seems every time he comes home he reverts into some kind of teenager and feels the need to let go and be reckless. This would be fine if I didn’t have to also take care of a toddler and be awake for that. I’m now up, worrying about where he is.

??:?? p.m. — He comes in late at night and wakes us up with his mumbling to himself. Baby Bun howls and cries with frustration at being woken up by a person entering in the middle of the night. I spend the next hour trying to get Baby Bun back to sleep but my partner keeps talking to himself while drunk so I can’t sleep and nor can Baby Bun. I’m beyond pissed.

??:?? p.m. — I catch a few more bits of sleep but Baby Bun doesn’t sleep well. When he wakes up he is horrible from the lack of sleep.

Saved: $0

Spent: $9.28 (5.80)


8:28 a.m. — I sleepily feed him a banana and yoghurt.

9:29 a.m. — I spend the morning half dozing, half dealing with a very cranky toddler. My partner wakes up once to go to the bathroom and scolds him on the way. I snap back: “THIS IS WHAT YOU DESERVE. You did this. Now you deal with it.” I’m in a truly foul mood from sleep deprivation.

10:48 a.m. — I feed Baby Bun his cold vegetable soup with pieces of bread and he eats 3/4 of a ham sandwich. Afterwards he seems fine and in a better mood, full of energy.

11:18 a.m. — He plays around me as I sew up his shirt, underwear and my top.

11:22 a.m. — He now hassles me for yoghurt. He is annoying me and is due for a nap. My partner is already up but I am in a foul mood.

11:48 a.m. — I send him upstairs and tell my partner: “You created this, you deal with it.

12:03 p.m. — Not even half an hour later Baby Bun comes back down after having had freshly squeezed orange juice and a yoghurt with a promise of going out after he naps.

12:28 p.m. — My partner starts his Coq au Vin (Rooster in wine), while Baby Bun (tries) to goes down for a nap, a dish I don’t like because of the red wine so he makes some pork filets instead for me.

1:30 p.m. — It always another 15 minutes of threatening and a bottle of water before he finally sleeps. I check the time, it is around 1:30 p.m.

1:32 p.m. — I go on my iPod touch and make notes, writing short blog posts so I’m not took far behind when I get back.

2:04 p.m. — I end up falling asleep a half hour later as well.

3:48 p.m. — We both wake up 2 hours later. I decided at 2.5 hours to wake Baby Bun so he would be tired for tonight. He didn’t sleep well the night before. I feel much more refreshed and not at all tired. Maybe I’ve finally paid off my sleep debt. At the very least I am in a better mood.

3:52 p.m. — We get ready to go out. I discover a pair of old silver ballet flats from Joe Fresh I bought years ago for $7. They are still some of the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn. I wish I had known that then and stocked up. Now they’re really on their last legs, the soles have separated, and the faux leather is cracking.

4:08 p.m. — We wait for the bus. The people remember his cousin who visits far more often and they think Baby Bun is the same child until we correct them. The bus arrives. €2.90

4:45 p.m. — On the bus we make it to the shopping center to stock up on yoghurt because Baby Bun is tearing through these tubs like it is candy. I check my emails while my partner checks his. Then I hit a few shops to find some interesting clothes for my mother. I’m always on the lookout for her style — loose, blousy, very colourful or embroidered white blouses.

4:55 p.m. — I find a few possible tops and email them to my mom to ask if she wants them.

5:25 p.m. — Baby Bun is being a monster, trying to touch everything and being a jumpy monster until we go to the bathroom.

5:35 p.m. — We head back to the store after the bathroom break and I check the prices — about €22.95 each top.

5:49 p.m. — We leave and it isn’t until we are at the bus stop 15 minutes away that my partner realized we may have just missed it and we wait another 45 minutes.

6:07 p.m. — My partner talks about the budget for this trip and is baffled at how little we are spending. About €200 this time and we are almost done the trip. It was more than €1000 the last time!! I remind him that he bought a bread machine and we also took his mother on a trip 4 years ago.

6:27 p.m. — On the bus, Baby Bun tries to read every sign but I get motion sickness, so I can’t. €2.90

6:37 p.m. — Walking home, I pick up the laundry off the line and we go upstairs. I go to drink my chocolate milk I have been saving and it has gone bad. Damn it. Down the drain it goes.

6:45 p.m. — I remind myself to eat my mango tonight, I’ve been craving one ever since I have been here.

7:15 p.m. — Before going and dining al fresco with everyone, I very liberally spray on mosquito spray with 20% Picaridin which is derived from a plant apparently and very effective. It isn’t quite as poisonous as DEET which makes me nervous because Baby Bun is always touching me and I don’t want him to get it on his hands and then eat it by touching food with his hands. I’m not sure HOW much safer Picaridin is but we shall see.

7:25 p.m. — My partner brings down bread, the rooster in wine and my pork filets, and Mamie sets the table.

7:55 p.m. — Baby Bun munches on bread, not all that hungry from the massive meal he had for lunch, but he eats a few bites of the rooster, refuses my pork and goes hard on the fried potatoes. I have yet to find a child who doesn’t love fried potatoes in all of its forms.

8:32 p.m. — I take all the dishes up, wash them, do the pots except the one with all of the oil as I know Mamie has a process to get rid of the oil safely, and dry all of them.

8:41 p.m. — I hear Baby Bun downstairs asking to go upstairs to be with me but his father keeps him away with some custard.

8:55 p.m. — I come downstairs and eat some custard too. Baby Bun doesn’t finish his, so I eat it. Strange. He doesn’t seem to like custards much, but loves actual cakes.

9:11 p.m. — I go with Baby Bun to hang out in the bedroom and he peels all of his star stickers off his map to place in his sticker book. It is rather adorable how concentrated he is on his task. I need to buy more stickers, if it will keep him THIS quiet in desperate times of need.

9:31 p.m. — I consider taking a shower to scrub off this bug spray but decide to wait for another half an hour. It is so cool outside that there aren’t that many bugs but you never know. They always beeline for my blood which makes me a very effective human mosquito repellent for others.

9:47 p.m. —I type more emails to reply to my mother so I don’t waste time doing it when I do get internet connections (an hour or less).

10:17 p.m. — Mamie is not feeling well, so she turns in “early”. My partner and I take Baby Bun out to the music festival happening very late at night.

10:37 p.m. — The festival is winding down but there is food to eat and drinks for free.

11:20 p.m. — Baby Bun starts to get tired so we head back, walking through quiet streets.

12:05 a.m. — We get home and Baby Bun loved our promenade through the streets so much that he refuses to sleep. He also refuses to put on his night underwear which causes us consternation. He ends up sleeping in his own underwear after I rock him a little in my arms. We collapse exhausted.

Saved: $0

Spent: $9.28 (€5.80)


8:01 a.m. — Baby Bun wakes up “late” at 8 seeing as he slept well past midnight. He is a MONSTER TODAY.

7:08 a.m. — I spend the next hour trying to cater to a grumpy toddler. Yoghurt is all he wants and then waffles back and forth for half an hour about a banana. I want to just lie down and sleep.

8:19 a.m. — I finally force him down for a 5 minute quiet time on my lap lying down as I stroke his head and he calms down.

8:29 a.m. —He eats a banana and then seems better. I’m truly, well and exhausted. He was whiny, screaming, crying, pulling me in one direction then the next, up the stairs, down the stairs, on the bed, off the bed, basically totally contrary to ANYTHING I suggested or he wanted and then changed his mind 2 seconds later.

8:38 a.m. — I recall my dream about eating my young (I saw a disturbing animal nature documentary) and find it appropriately on the nose for today. Maybe I’m psychic and I foresaw this morning happening.

9:18 a.m. — His father wakes up and says: “but what does he want?!?” Million dollar question, if I knew what toddlers wanted and how to give it to them within reason, I would be RICH, bitch!!

9:22 a.m. — Mamie wakes up and says she doesn’t feel well. I’m immediately concerned.

9:24 a.m. — My partner decides to take her to the hospital. We get ready and we go to check the schedule for the bus. On the way there, we will drop her off there and then go to the hardware store to buy putty or filler to block the ants from coming into the house in droves. Baby Bun has been seeing the ants inside and singing: The Ants go Marching… Not a good sign. The bus is in 49 minutes so we relax a bit. Baby Bun finds a soccer ball and I teach him how to catch.

10:15 a.m. — We get ready and go to the bus. Mamie is on the way to the hospital and we will go to the market instead. We will meet back at the house. €2.90

10:45 a.m. — We get to the market and walk around. Baby Bun is being a pain as usual, probably excited about being out. Everyone finds him adorable and allows him to pinch cherries and eat from them for free. Baby Bun gleefully goes back for more and more, little glutton.

11:18 p.m. — My partner picks up a huge bag of cherries, leeks, figs, heirloom tomatoes, fresh onions (not the dried kind you see in stores) and pays half the price at the local farmers market than at the supermarket for the lot. €6

11:26 p.m. — On the way back to the bus stop I spy some 100% cotton sleeping shirts for my mom. I pick up 3 in the largest size they have. €15

12:32 p.m. — We make it home after taking the bus. €2.90

12:37 p.m. — I’m helping Baby Bun climb down the stairs and I hear my partner curse. The door is locked but his key won’t work because there is ANOTHER key in the lock. We need to go to the hospital and find his mother to get the other key for another entrance. #%*&#(*%#&%.

12:44 p.m. — Back up the stairs and on the bus. C’est la vie. €2.90

1:18 p.m. — Baby Bun conks out on my chest on the way to the hospital. We get off the bus and just as we go to cross the road we see his mother with a prescription. What luck!

1:22 p.m. — We head for the mall and Baby Bun continues to sleep on my chest. I’m lugging a very heavy load (33 pounds!!!) with two arms and can barely walk. We get to a bench and I collapse with him on my chest still snoring away.

1:30 p.m. — We get a round of cold drinks while he naps. €3.96

1:45 p.m. — While we are here my partner decides to go get some food and snacks. Mamie goes for her cream and pills for her neck, and I manage to get the cafe wifi code. Score! Time to surf while he naps.

1:59 p.m. — Just as I am checking a few things, Baby Bun snorts awake and wants the iPad mini. Of course he is awake now. Great. I check all my emails, update my RSS feed and ogle the metallic copper Arizona Birkenstocks again.

2:09 p.m. — As I scroll through my feed I realize there is a lot of Kardashian / Jenner talk. These people are everywhere!!! I seem to hear of NO ONE ELSE. It is getting kind of annoying. I need to find different fashion/style sites when I get back

2:45 p.m. — My partner comes back with a flan to eat for each of us and as we snack on it, Mamie picks up her prescription. We head to the bus and Baby Bun loses it because I put away the iPad as he was using Zen Brush to colour. He also desperately wants to talk to my mother on Skype for some reason as well.

2:55 p.m. — The bus comes 10 minutes later while I’m scolding and trying to not lose it with a tiny pint-sized monster at the bus stop in front of 4 grandmothers. One grandmother asks his age and nods sympathetically that I’m dealing with a monstrous 3-year old. They do get better, she says. €2.90

3:15 p.m. — On the way home Baby Bun demands all the road signs be read out to him and explained. OMG.

3:45 p.m. — Finally at home and in the house I stuff his face with a vegan soup and some bread. He only eats half. I’ll take it, seeing as he was already full from the cherries, bread and flan he just ate. He still (always) has room for dessert though and gobbles down the yoghurt I give him.

4:05 p.m. — Mamie and my partner go down for a long nap. I guess they both need it but WHAT ABOUT ME!!?!? Sigh. I had to lug this toddler and deal with him all day, ALONE in the morning until now. I’m rather annoyed.

4:27 p.m. — I put away the dried dishes and try to clean the kitchen a little. Mamie is going to need some more help today.

4:49 p.m. —I give Baby Bun an emergency pack of stickers to paste everywhere and try to nap beside him.

5:15 p.m. — I can’t. I just can’t right now/ He won’t shut up and a toy car is on my face. I go through my Feedly instead.

5:21 p.m. — He asks for my mother on Skype again.

5:33 p.m. — I find a scale and weigh myself. 55kg or 121lbs. I hold Baby Bun and we are almost 70kg together which means he is 15kg or 33lbs.

5:53 p.m. — We play with puzzles and do laundry in the machine this time because Mamie said Baby Bun should never go near the stream again because children have died, slipping into it, and she doesn’t want that to happen.

6:33 p.m. — My partner brings down a huge plate of pasta with leftover ham, sliced cherry tomatoes and basil from the garden. She had basil?!?!? I attack that plant with fervour, and eat it like a goat.

6:37 p.m. — Baby Bun’s eyes light up (he LOVES pasta) and he knocks over people barreling his way towards me squealing: Pasta??!! MOMMYYYYYY!! WANT Pass-tahhhh?!?!?!!!!!!

6:57 p.m. — He eats a pretty good share of the plate and we finish the leftovers together, basically a huge box of fusilli pasta, a pint of cherry tomatoes and a full basil plant with 3 slices of French ham sprinkled on top with a heavy dose of olive oil. Everyone else has spaghetti with the leftovers of the Coq au Vin, which I don’t like (the red wine is too strong for me).

7:17 p.m. — Baby Bun is still hungry at the end so he eats another plateful of Coq au Vin spaghetti from my partner.

7:20 p.m. — We hide the rest of that spaghetti so that Baby Bun won’t hassle him and gorge himself. Baby Bun is finally full but manages to get in 3 more bites of cake and another tub of yoghurt (there is always spare room for yoghurt with this child).

7:30 p.m. — We sit around talking and my partner gives Baby Bun an old plastic piano toy which I know immediately is a bad idea but let him do it. Baby Bun goes to town on it and my partner eventually gets annoyed and scolds him.

7:32 p.m. — This is where I let my partner have it. 20 minutes of saying that Baby Bun is only 3, he is like every other child and he is interested in new things; this is how children learn and play. My partner arrogantly claims he was NEVER like that as a child and I refute it completely. He didn’t have such toys as a kid (he grew up with nothing), and if he DID he would have DONE THE SAME AT 3. Guaranteed!! I KNOW it to be true, there is no way he was different unless he was mentally different (which he is not).

7:57 p.m. — I take a breath and take Baby Bun inside for a breather. It was all in English so I hear my partner translating as I come back, and adding his own comments. I let him have it again and cite his behaviour of drinking and being unable to stop when he goes too far to be the same as a 3-year old who gets excited over a new toy. Baby Bun has an immature, baby brain and he is only 3 versus someone who is an adult, so we can’t expect him to be rational nor perfect. HE IS A CHILD.

8:01 p.m. — We both take a breath, he prudently shuts up and Mamie politely changes the subject to the sound of an airplane in the sky. Everyone eagerly embraces this airplane as a new change of events and extols over the virtues of flight.

8:05 p.m. —I go inside with Baby Bun to play and discover a cache of new ants coming in. I inform my partner and he eagerly goes to fix the problems. For now, it is tape over the holes of their entrances and exits until we can buy filler.

8:17 p.m. — I notice a huge piece of eczema hardening and developing on my toddler’s thigh and I make the choice to have him go underwear free (I suspect it is chafing his skin), and have him just wear pants with a heavy dose of cream layered on top. We play and do puzzles the rest of the night.

9:55 p.m. — I change Baby Bun for bed and we go upstairs to watch the football matches (soccer) for the Cup that is in between the World Cup. Confederation Cup or whatever it is called.

10:27 p.m. — Baby Bun manages to wrangle another yoghurt out of his father (guilt yoghurt, I suspect) and is happily hand-fed. After half an hour Baby Bun asks to sleep. We all go down.

11:07 p.m. — Baby Bun goes to lie down and for the second night in the row, he screams at it being so dark. He isn’t used to not having some ambient city light and here, it is very VERY dark at night with bright stars. My partner turns on a light, Baby Bun sleeps and then we turn off the light when he is sleeping soundly.

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Spent: $48.90 (€30.56)


Children are tough. They’re tougher also when you get Mommy Shamed by your own partner and you end up being the default parent because your child wants you (and only you) and no one else wants to step up to try and be the one to take over for you to give you a break (unless they’re a mother themselves like the Tantes).

I’ve started asserting myself more to my partner and it seems to have helped.


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