Christmas 2018 has come and gone, and lots of good memories with it. The kids have had their first hit of something addictive — a tablet of their own. We had a fantastic Christmas dinner, although Papa went a little overboard with 3 geese for 4 adults. One year, he’ll learn.
The years are beginning to pass more quickly than Papa would prefer. It seems like we were just celebrating Juliette’s fifth birthday, and like that, it’s time to celebrate her sixth. She has grown up so much in the last year it’s hard to believe it’s the same little girl. She’s reading and writing, becoming more independent with a mind of her own.
She’s a little jealous that she hasn’t started losing her teeth yet (although it makes for nicer photos, Papa must admit), but I guarantee that by the time her seventh birthday rolls around she’ll be missing a few teeth and eating a lot of soup.
Against their better judgement, Maman and Papa went along with Juliette’s idea to invite over a dozen of her friends to celebrate her sixth birthday. Papa had been lulled into a false sense of security with the relatively well-behaved group of kids that came for Alexandre’s birthday a few months earlier, and naively forgot to consider that Juliette’s birthday is in December, so we are stuck inside the house. He also failed to appreciate just quite how loud a dozen 6-year old girls can be. There’s no other noise quite like the screams of young girls full of excitement and high on sugar.
After a treasure hunt, pinata and plenty of cake, Papa decided to resort to the only trick he knew to get the girls calmed down — a Disney film in the cinema downstairs. It worked like magic.
The feast of Saint Nicolas is pretty important here in France, and marks the main kick-off for the Christmas season. Each year, our village hosts activities for the children, including a coloring competition, a play, dancing, crepes and hot chocolate — capped off by the lighting of lanterns and the arrival of Saint Nicolas. The entire entourage of childrn and parents follow Saint Nicolas (and his donkey and Père Fouettard, on the lookout for any misbehaved children) from the top of the village to the town square at the bottom, where he hands out candy to all of the children.
We participate every year. This year had some of the best turnout in ages.
Another day, another birthday party. Same princess dress.
Time for Alexandre to graduate to a big-boy bed, quite an impressive one with a play area beneath (also good for sleep-overs) and jungle animal sheets. Not bad for a four-year old.
After five days, it was time for our visit to come to an end. Papa finally relented and we settled on a French bistro for lunch before our afternoon train back to Basel. It was a great visit, and by the end of their stay, the kids had really started to get used to the rhythm of the city: the Metro and busses, navigating the crowds, and taking in everything there was to see.
Still, it was good to be home.