J-F is away for a few days for work. That leaves me and Helena with intense quality time together, not the least being the metro ride for drop-off and pick-up at daycare.
Leave house this morning at 8.25. Arrive at daycare shortly thereafter as building is being evacuated — fire drill? bomb threat? Regardless, once I'm in the daycare courtyard with Helena, I'm not allowed to leave, as the only legitimate way of doing so is through the building, which we're not allowed to re-enter (apparently hopping the fence sets a bad example for the children). So I stick around with half a dozen other parents, their own children clinging to them. I help out with impromptu snacks (someone did sneak back inside for cheerios and juice [why doesn't Helena eat cheerios at home?]), wiping up other people's children. I watch grown men, suited up and tied, sing about the wheels of the bus.
Helena's group is going for a walk; the key for the gate in the fence makes a rare appearance. Neither their day nor mine is going according to plan, but they seem grateful for my help. I bring up the rear of the rope, corraling the herd, while one of the educatrices communicates with the other groups for updates. They will serve an early lunch, outdoors, and phone parents to pick up their children by 1:00.
Helena and I leave the pack at about 11:00; we have to go the long way 'round to get to the metro. She falls asleep on my lap before our stop.
It seems I won't be getting any work done today (you know, work, the kind they pay me for).
We finally made it to the new neighbourhood park, featuring a half-million dollar playground, a sign proudly proclaims.
While the old neighbourhood park was across the street, its vastness ensured a healthy trek before reaching the playground. Though the new park is down the street, it's about the same distance to what matters — the slide.
In fact, the new park is superior on this count: 2 pieces of equipment that feature 5 slides in total.
Helena likes swings too. At her size, the baby swings are a bit awkward, and I feel some trepidation about regular swings. But Helena insists. She holds on tight. I sit on the swing next to her and demonstrate how to pump one's legs to make the swing move. Helena is thrilled. She slips off her swing because she wants to help push me.
Other cool stuff about the kid:
An obsession with microbes — as in wash your hands, wipe the table, and don't eat that, parce qu'il y a des microbes.
Helena has entered the pourquoi, ad infinitum, phase. It seems "il y a des microbes" is the only answer able to cut the chain.
I hold the door open for Helena to pass through. She sings out, "Merci Madame Mama."
The big bed. She fell out once, her second night. She has not exploited the freedom the bed allows. I'd left to retrieve something or other and returned to find her scurrying back into bed — she knows she's not to leave its confines. She doesn't get of bed herself in the morning, but rather waits for someone to come get her.
Bedtime is tedious. Everything about it drags on forever. (I have yet to see an episode of Doctor Who in its entirety.) I'm hoping the ritual will normalize over the next couple weeks as we impose more order on our space and our time.
When she tells me about her day, I understand her. For example, she told me that she and J-F the other day had stopped for coffee on the way to daycare, Papa had coffee but she didn't have any coffee, she ate a blueberry muffin, and J-F rested her backpack and her hat on the chair beside her. And it was all intelligible and true.
She can count to 11 in both official languages.
Is that enough?