We are in our last few weeks in France. Overall, we are very happy with this country and our place in Nice. It’s well into October but the sun is shining bright, the birds are singing in the orange tree outside, and the air is of the same clarity that inspired many artists.
We finally settled into our routine. Every morning we fetch a fresh, warm baguette from the nearby bakery. We eat it for breakfast, along with fresh farm eggs and local fruits. After the breakfast, we do a quick clean up of the house: life is so much better when the floors are crumb-free. As a side note, Jett loves cleaning. He runs around the house with a broom, toy vacuum, or a rug.
Once the house is clean and shiny, James, Jett, and I walk to the nearby park. The big J is then exercising: running up and down the stairs, doing push-ups, etc. While the little J is harassing the French pigeons or climbing the playground equipment. Afterwards, we walk to the market and shop for the ingredients for the menu we pre-planned for the day. It’s a lot of fun since the produce is fresh and gorgeous, we get to practice our poor French, and vendors are friendly and generous with their samples. On the way back home, little J usually falls asleep.
While we are away, our older son is studying based on the lesson plan I prepare the night before. For example, he will watch the Khan Academy math videos and do exercises, learn about ancient China from the historical documentaries on YouTube, learn about continents or cell structure from BrainPop, and reads stories by classical authors. We also include some financial lessons, such as compound interest or mortgage. Finally, he watches TED videos and does computer programming on Scratch – MIT program for kids. Meanwhile, grandparents are watching terrible Russian videos and reading terrible Russian books on their iPads.
At home, I cook lunch. This involves washing tomatoes, arugula, and yellow bell peppers, cutting, and arranging them on salad plates. At first, grandparents complained a lot about eating like rabbits. But after losing some pounds and escaping some long-standing stomach issues, they no longer look sad at lunch time. Big J is happy as a clam eating so healthfully, of course.
After lunch, we take a collective nap. Sleeping in the middle of the day with your baby draped over you is the ultimate luxury… Big J wakes himself up with some espresso from a fancy Nespresso machine. He then works: answering e-mails and phone calls. I try to keep little J from destroying the house.
Around 4 or 5 I start cooking dinner. Something healthy, like roasted veggies, African rice soup, or fresh pasta. We have a big family dinner on our terrace. Then grandma and our older son clean up the kitchen. James and I wash our little monster and try to calm him down in preparation for sleep. I also try to do some planning for the next day: both the menu and the lessons. And catch up on reading and social media. Rinse and repeat the next day.