47/52

 
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lifestyle blog_travel blog_project 52_week 47_hugo
lifestyle blog_travel blog_project 52_week 47_lyra

"a portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2016."

Okay, so, apparently taking photographs of thrrrreeeeeee whole people once a week is a bridge a little too far? Hence iPhone mastersnaps? Sigh. 

Stella: You've told me that Lyra thinks you're the mummy. 

Hugo: I know this change is hard for you, sweet Bear. I'm trying to keep as much of our normal routine as possible, and so everyday at midday, I'm lying down with you, reading stories, and snuggling up while you fall asleep.

Lyra: Have we hit the newborn jackpot? You sleep so well, giving us a few stretches of five hours! And with all the chaos of the last few weeks, you've totally taken it in stride, sleeping when we need you to so that we can get the moving and packing done. 

46/52

 
lifestyle blog_travel blog_project 52_week 46_hugo
lifestyle blog_travel blog_project 52_week 46_lyra

"a portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2016"

I'm finally catching up on this project! I'll tell you, pregnancy knocks the stuffing out of my. And newbornhood, well, you know. Although, strangely I do find it marginally easier to have an outside baby than an inside one. I might be tired but at least I can walk places, bend at the waist and, you know, not feel sore after five seconds of sitting down.

Stella: You've taken to your new role as big sister to two. It's no surprise really, considering how much you love babies. You are absolutely captivated by your sister, and want to hold her all the time. Now you're stated life plan is to be a Nanny (also a singer, and a front desk attendant in a hotel.)

Hugo: It's been muuuuuuuch less easy for your to go from being the baby of the family to being the middle. Which is also not surprising. You and I were a unit, and now, that time together has been disrupted by a tiny human. Anyway, you're grasping for control in any way you can find it, and that's manifested in the refusal to wear shoes, opting instead for cow slippers, everywhere.

Lyra: Oh sweet girl, welcome. We're so glad you're here. You're pefect. 

44/52

 

" a portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2016."

Stella:  You really showed your appreciation for art, admiring the sculptures. Especially the ones you could climb on.

Hugo: You were 100 percent taken with this art instilation, and showed everyone who would watch your "bum bum dance." 

We took a break from unbelievable stress and hung out with some friends at the Shanghai Sculpture Park. I recommend! It was a lovely way to pass a few hours on a gorgeous autumn day. 

43/52

 

"a portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2016."

Stella: Due to super high levels of parental stress, you've been given free reign of your drug of choice. All screens all the time.

Hugo: You too. Pasci pasci pasci.

We moved into a temporary apartment because of an emergency housing situation that rendered our apartment unliveable. Let me tell you, amongst the list of things you don't want to do when you're like 36 weeks pregnant, this rates in the top ten, I'd say. We had about 24 hours to get sorted and move. And we don't know when our original apartment will be declared habitable again. Hopefully before our temporary housing becomes unavailable, a whole two days after my due date. :/ Sometimes expat life is just really not a bouquet of gin and tonics. 

42/52

 

"a portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2016"

Stella: There's a lot of big feelings going on around here: a new baby on the way, chaos at our apartment, parents stressed to the max. This is your way of dealing with them.

Hugo: You're also feeling these big feelings. But thankfully, you mostly are agreeable with your sister's way of processing them. 

41/52

 

"a portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2016."

Stella: You're really into making wishes these days. A friend of yours told you that wishes must be kept secret. So now, you're convinced that if you speak your wish out loud, it won't come true. This means that the expression, "I wish...." has been banned from our family lexicon. I tell you what I wish though: perhaps you could listen as carefully to your parents as you do to the consul of your friends? Maybe? Yes? 

Hugo: You so want to do whatever Stella does, even if it does kiiiiiiiiiiiiinda scare the pants off of you.

40/52

 

"a portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2016."

Stella: It's been  a rough couple of weeks. But I can't really say enough about how flexible you've been, how, after all the changes of this past year, you're just handling things.

Hugo: We've been taking lots of naps together. It's probably one of my favourite parts of the day. It's such an indulgence for me, lying down in the middle of the day, made justifiable by the fact that I'm eight months pregnant. And it's also such a sweet time for us together. I did this with your sister when I  was pregnant with you, and now, I'm so glad to be able to share this time alone with you, just the two of us. 

 

39/52

 
project 52_that wild road_china blog
that wild road_project 52_china blog_week 39

"a portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2016."

You know when all of life's minor and largely insignificant problems conspire to drop in your lap all at once and knock you flat on your face for a few weeks? Yeah. That. Suffice to say, it's been a hell of a few weeks round here with super fun exotic Asia problems like BUGS and also a side helping of pregnancy worry and various other issues that have kept me from being a regular person on the internet. And likely, these issues won't be resolved for another while yet, but we're just trying to carry on regardless. So, in the meanwhile, here's a project 52 update.

Stella: You've made a couple of really good friends these past few weeks. You've got your school bud who rides the bus with you and plays cat and spies together with you. And, now you're forging a friendship with a group of german kids, a couple of whom speak good English. After a lonely summer it's amazing to see how you're able to make friends across cultural and linguistic boundaries, how brave you are socially, and how much happier you are with a couple of proper friends to call your own.

Hugo: This bike, man. You're all about it. It's the first thing you ask to do in the morning, and you're basically on that bike until evening. Any time we leave the apartment you plead to bring your bike along. Now with the days being a bit cooler and the weather so fair, you're outside almost the entire day making circles around the playgrounds on your bike, faster than I thought was possible for a little guy like you to travel. 

 

38/52

 
that wild road_china travel blog_project 52_38.52.16
that wild road_project 52_china travel blog_38.52.16

“a portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2016.”

 

Stella: You’ve been so helpful this week. Since I’ve been on “bed rest” (which I’m defining pretty loosely by the way), you’ve been reminding me to sit down, rest, and not to carry heavy things. Instead, you’ve taken it upon yourself to transport your brother here and there, particularly across the sandy playground because woe is everything if Hugo’s feet touch sand.

 

Hugo: This week, I could not get you inside. You’re out on your bike each morning at seven to drop Stella at the bus. You do a few tours of the complex with Papi and then it’s back in for a short post-breakfast snack. By 8:30 you’re ready to go out again with Ayi  and I don’t see you again until lunchtime. As soon as Stella comes home from school we’re riding bikes, playing on the swings, and running around the playgrounds together. 

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"a portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2016."

Stella: In the last several weeks, you've really grown, not in hight, I mean, but in mind. You now have the concentration to sit with me and play a board game. You can reason and plan without reacting immediately. And on this particular morning, you read me four sentences (in French!!!!) Six and a half is a nice spot to be.

Hugo: You're taking over as the resident trouble maker. You're charming as all get out, but boy, your passions can be ignited when you're unhappy. You scream and shout and cry, often declaring GULAH! providence of that particular phrase remains unknown. A friend remarked to me, "He's just the right level of naughty," charming but cheeky. Mostly I agree, except perhaps when you are shouting a few choice gros mots over and over and over from atop the climbing frame in the crowded playground when I tell you that it's time to go home. 

36/52

 

"a portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2016."

Stella: I'm coming to see how important it is for you to fit in. You are watchful, always aware of what the people around you are up to, and how you might follow along. You watch as tourists sit on these steps in the centre of the city city, and so you too, love to sit here and watch the great towering buildings above us. The thing is, though, with your red hair and pink face, you do make quite the tourist attraction yourself.

Hugo: You've been taking these unreasonably long naps during the day, so when bedtime rolls around, you have no interest in sleeping. I've been keeping you up after Stella goes to bed. You sit in the living room and play cars for a time while I rest on the couch. Then, you come and lie down beside me, telling me all manor of stories and singing me your silly made-up songs. Your one from this week: "Banana, banana, we are each other!" You are a joy and a charmer, my boy.

35/52

 
china travel blog_that wild road_project 52_week 35
china travel blog_that wild road_project 52_week 35_hugo

"a portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2016."

Stella: You started back to school this week. And it's been totally fine. Which, admittidly sounds like damning with faint praise, but considering all the upheaval you've been through in the last year, it's pretty remarkable how unremarkable this rentrée has been. You're in CP this year, officially a big kid. You walk up to your classroom all on your own; find your own way to the bus; and, (and this is major) you get to eat in the cafeteria, where apparently they serve duck? To school kids? At lunch? I dunno. Très Francais.

Hugo: With your sister at school, it's back to days of you and me. Though you spend most mornings with Ayi while I work, and then we hang out in the afternoons waiting for your devoted playmate to come home from school. I must say, though, days are a lot quieter with no one to destroy your train tracks or endless lines of traffic. Still, I do try to get you out for at leats one adventure per week with you. And let's be real, what I classify as an adventure is riding the subway to our favourite bread place, and then walking to get groceries. Although, there is usually an ice cream in there, too. So,

34/52

 

"a portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2016."

Stella: It's your last week of summer holiday before school starts. I wish I could say that I've packed it full of adventure and exploration, but sadly, we've been hanging out at home a lot. I've started back to work and that's kept us homebound. But you've been hanging out with a friend from school. We did do an ice cream and burger date. You've been spending lazy mornings with your comic books. And you've been logging the hours in the playground. So, your last week of freedom has had a few perks.

Hugo: Your imagination is starting to expand. This concentration you've had since you've been small is deepening and you are quietly content, sitting on the floor, driving around your cars. You're telling little stories, sending your cars through the car wash, taking them to the garage, and fighting fires. Which, always cracks me up, because according to your understanding a fire fighter is someone who fights people using fire. 

33/52

 
shanghai blogger_china travel blog_project 52_week 33
china mom blog_project 52_week 33

"a portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2016."

Stella: After almost two years hiatus from the television (with exceptions for sickness and long plane journeys), we've just started letting you watch TV on a Sunday. We're fairly excited because we can snatch an hour or two of quiet time on the weekend. You think you've won the lottery. But it kiiiiinda is all you want to talk about now, TVTVTVTVTV, and that does drive me a little bit bananas. 

Hugo: With all this newfound media exposure, you're super into princesses right now. You get a little bit of TV too, when you wake up from your Sunday nap. Inevitably it's Sofia the First. And so, outside the strictures of North American culture, and in the absence of other media exposure telling you otherwise you think that it's totally reasonable for a car-loving little boy to aspire to be a princess when he grows up. And I'm not one to tel you otherwise, because I kinda love it when you ask me to put on your princess crown.     

32/52

 
project 52_that wild road_shanghai blogger
project 52_week 32_that wild road_shanghai blogger

"a portrait of my children, once a week, every week. in 2016."

Stella: You're starting to make some regular friends in Shanghai, and boy has that ever been a sea change for you. It must be difficult, going to a school in a new language, adding that weight to the already ponderous task of navigating a new social environment in a new school. You're so invested in your friendships that this period without playmates has put you off your equilibrium. So, you can imagine how glad I've been to see you playing with friends in the playground, even if I'm a little less glad to field 10 000 questions per day re. if it is indeed yet 4:30 PM.

Hugo: You tricked me into thinking that you'd learn to use the toilet this week. YOu were actualy in jocks early this year, until I had to go away for a week, and left you in the care of your beloved grandmother who decided that her toilet training days were behind her. (Fair enough.) So. Anyway, you spent all of Monday evening running back and forth between "the little green toilet" and the big toilet, producing a few drops, and then proudly emptying them into the loo, explaining each time AND PUT IT IN THE TOILET. Sadly for me, interest in the potty has since waned. Except for when you and your sister figured out how to make potty hats. But we can't show those pictures here. Too bad.