I want to quickly jot down some of the events of the day---because it was a lovely day and I don't want to forget it.
Maria has been particularly lovable lately, and this morning she was particularly good. We got to Mass a little late, but we were able to stand at the back of the chapel (not in the vestibule or lobby), so hearing Mass wasn't a problem. Since I didn't have Donnie with me, I opted not to take the kind offers of seats. Maria is such an avid climber now, that sitting in the pews takes as much energy as standing--she climbs all over the chair and kneeler, and inevitably wanders out into the aisle. (Not that I think any of that is "bad" behavior. I think it best to allow young children plenty of latitude at church, provided it stays fairly safe, quiet, and happy. It's just a little taxing for a single caretaker to be juggling a little climber during Mass).
Maria was very good and amused herself by playing with her shoe (and my shoes) and snack cup, arranging them on the kneeler then returning them to the diaper bag, then putting them back on the kneeler (like a little housewife trying to figure out the proper arrangments of knickknacks on a shelf). She also sang heartily with the hymns and chants. She's been very enthusiastic about saying "hello" and "bye bye" lately, so some of the singing was just "hello, hello, hello"--somehow appropriate on Pentecost. When the organ came in with the exit hymn, Maria knew what was going on, and said "all done." She remained in remarkably good humor during Donuts.
In the afternoon, we video chatted with Donnie. Here's the momentous news (my child being good really isn't momentous news, though it is a great joy). He went to look at apartments, and decided the cheaper one is definitely the better fit. Apparently the pictures the landlady sent don't do it justice--it feels bigger than it looked in the pictures. The apartment was being painted and refurbished when his visited, so the shabby wallpaper will not be there when we arrive. It also turns out that the apartment has a full bathroom and a half-bath--unexpected and certainly nice for having guests. Also, the shared laundry isn't coin or card operated, and it's so close that he says it feels like another part of the apartment. Also, the Orsay apartment in within walking distance of a train station and grocery store. It's also within walking distance of his work!
Best of all, the place is rolling with kids---Donnie's words were "piles of kids." And the backyard is an actual park complete with swing set, sand box, and fruit trees.
Donnie's only major reservation was that the kitchen is very small and doesn't have a real oven (it has a toaster oven) or dishwasher. I'm confident we can manage though--we'll have to adjust the way we eat and use dishes, but that will probably be a good experience for us.
I'm so relieved to know where we're going to live and feel especially blessed at how reasonably priced and kid-friendly it is! I've been worried about money in France, with the higher cost of living, etc, but now it feels much more like things will work out and that we'll be comfortable. In fact, I'm certain Maria will feel it's a big step up being in the same building with so many little people.
After that conversation, we had dinner. Maria ate chicken and ice chips (she pinched her finger during the gchat, so I gave her some ice chips to play with--it's the new cure-all), and related to me the story of her hurt finger and how she now had an "iiiiiiiice bol." She's been practicing talking so much. Much of it is unintelligible, but sometimes I can figure it out, and it's wonderful.
After dinner, my mother-in-law called and we had a great conversation.
Then Maria and I went out. It was a fine evening--very cool with a good wind. The trees and plants are so lush right now, and there are so many beautiful flowers. There must be many talented gardeners in our area. On evenings like this one, I feel like there's no place more beautiful than Squirrel Hill. We went to the Bartlett playground. Sure enough, there were other kids out for pre-bedtime play.
Maria showed off some new skills at the playground. For one, she climbed up the slide. I had to help her a bit, but for the most part, she got up it on her own strength. She also showed me that she could climb some of the ladders. As I said, she's be climbing more, but I hadn't realized just how much stronger and more confident she's become over the last week.
When it was time to go, Maria put up very little fuss and waved "bye bye" to the playground as we strolled away.
Anyway, I've gone on longer than I wanted. Just wanted to say that I've felt incredibly blessed today. My anxiety about the move is turning into excitement, and Maria is at such an eventful age--life is so very sweet!