Saturday, July 14, 2012

the exchange

Back in June some friends of our posted on their facebook page about seeking homes for French exchange students.  A few years ago I thought this would be a great experience but we didn't have the room.  So I talked Chris into it for this year.  And then talked myself out of it, just to have him talk me back into it.

So after much indecision and likely making us look like fools we decided to just do it.  We did luck out and were "given" a 19 year old au pair, versus a 14-16 year old.  I worked on getting the "man cave" turned into a "bedroom".  Fairly easy task.  The only purchase I had to make was a mattress for the extra bed frame that stores under Jake's bed.  Even that was easy thanks to my local Walmart carrying a mattress in a box.

I will say that it made some pretty cool noises as I slit the plastic and the entire thing started to expand.  Sadly I was all alone so I had no one but myself to chuckle with.  And when I tried to explain the reaction later I got blank looks.

All was progressing nicely until the girls made the announcement of "mom, mom, mom, there are fleas all over me".  Nothing like an infestation of bugs that are hard to kill right before a houseguest arrives.  So I bombed, sprayed, bathed, vacuumed, sprayed some more, not to mention shaking flea powder into my vacuum cleaner.

Finally the day arrived that M was due to arrive!  Her flight was going to be a late one 7pm.  Our plans were to hang out at the Holiday Inn in Bath, enjoy dinner and some shopping in Portland, get M and head back home.  That was till she got delayed in Paris and therefore delayed in New York and instead arrived around 12am.  Chris and Alexa were the lucky 2 to get to go get her while the twins and I slept.

She got to spend her first day in Maine hanging out at the pool of a hotel while we all tried to understand each other.  We headed home that afternoon.  And of course because I am paranoid the first thing I did when getting in the door was to RUN upstairs to start vacuuming like crazy in case more fleas had hatched.  Try explaining that one to some who has been in America for less than 24 hours!

The kids fell in love with M right away and wanted to just stay home with her when I put in my 8 hours at work.  She's been a great help - she's done more chores since she's got here than Chris has done in our entire marriage :).  It was particularly awesome to be able to go out to breakfast one morning with Chris and just leave the house, no kids in tow, no sitter to call.

Now we are heading into our final week.  And I must say I'm not really sure I'd do this again.  It's HARD to have a houseguest for this many days, no matter how helpful and nice they are.  There are some days when I'd like to just let the kids run wild and bury my nose in a book.  But I feel wrong doing that with someone watching over me.

As for the kids...well their infatuation is wearing off.  Alexa has been nasty since the twins birthday, after being told by M that she couldn't watch tv all morning.  Which is what I would have said as well.  At swimming lessons they've gone from clinging to her to clinging back on me and saying "no" whenever she tries to play with them.  It's hard to explain to someone whose understanding of the English language that you really don't have any explanation for your kids behavior other than the fact they are being little shits.

A few things left to do with her this week - a trip to the ocean, eating some lobster, some shopping in Portland before she goes home next Saturday.  Yesterday we went to a minor league baseball game which M really seemed to enjoy.

And will I do this again next year?  Not likely unless my kids get personality transplants.  But I would definitely recommend to anyone who has the opportunity to try it out.  I'm hoping that despite the kids' behavior this last week that M's experience has been an enjoyable one.  When she goes home she plans to study hotel management, and will be able to share about her visits to 2 very different hotels in Maine after tagging along with Chris.

Did I learn any French while she was here?  No...but I did learn that my attempt to pronounce anything likely butchered the language.  The kids did pick up some, Alexa more due to learning it in school.

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Jacob's milestones

  • weight/length @ 7: 55.6lbs, 48.75"
  • weight/length @ 5: 42lbs, 43.5"
  • weight/length @ 4: 36 lbs, 39+"
  • weight/length@ 3: 32lbs, 36.5 inches
  • weight/length @ 2 years: 26lbs, 33.5 inches
  • weight/length @ 1 year: 18lbs, 29 inches
  • walking: 11/17/08
  • standing: 3/31/08
  • crawling: army, 2/5/08
  • first time rolling: 9/30/07, belly to back
  • first smile: 9/7/07
  • birth date/time: 7/8/07, 12:49am
  • birth length: 19.5 inches
  • birth weight: 6lbs, 1oz

Elizabeth's milestones

  • weight/length @7: 53lbs, 47.75"
  • weight/length @ 5: 40 lbs, 42.25"
  • weight/length @ 4: 34lbs, 38"
  • weight/length 3 years: 28lbs, 35.5 inches
  • weight/length 2 years: 24lbs, 6oz 33 inches
  • weight/length 1 year: 18lbs, 1oz 27.5 inches
  • walking: 9/1/08
  • standing: 4/4/08
  • crawling: army 3/16/08
  • sitting alone: 2/29/08
  • first time rolling: 11/23/07, back to belly
  • first smile: 9/7/07
  • birth date/time: 7/8/07, 12:50am
  • birth length: 18.75 inches
  • birth weight: 5lbs, 8oz

Alexa's milestones

  • weight/height @ 10 (really 10.8): 186, 5'3"
  • weight/height @ 8.4 years: 113 lbs, 55.5 inches
  • weight/height @ 5 years: 61lbs, 4oz 45.25 inches
  • weight/length @ 4 years: 49lbs, 42 inches
  • weight/length @ 3 years: 38lbs, 38 inches
  • weight/length @ 2 years: 32lbs, 8oz 35.75 inches
  • weight/length @ 1 year: 22lbs, 3 oz 29.5 inches
  • 1st day of preschool: 9/3/08
  • solo somersault: 3/4/08
  • whistling: 3/2/08
  • potty training: 10/7/05
  • walking: 12/21/04
  • standing: 8/23/04
  • crawling: 8/21/04, only a week, then became a butt scoot
  • first wave: 7/27/04
  • rolling: 5/2/04, belly to back
  • sleeping thru the night: 3/1/04
  • first smile: 1/20/04
  • birth date/time: 12/4/03, 10:41pm
  • birth length: 20 inches
  • birth weight: 7lbs